Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Golden Arches Of Yesteryear

It was one of those conversations-- The "ubelievable, are you out of your mind?" kind of talks-- with a young boy, who, at the time, was dressed as a Ninja, with only his eyes showing.  But oh the volumes those eyes spoke.

I am lucky to have a very cool kid in my life who also happens to be one of the few on the planet that actually needs to gain weight!  Unusual I know, but it sure makes for guilt-free trips to the fast food drive-thru for milkshakes and french fires.  Can anyone say McDonald's-- I'm lovin it!?!

Recently we waited our turn at "the box" with the anonymous person on the other end asking to take our order.  There's a tight squeeze and hairpin turn at our local Mickey Dee's because there apparently was not a drive through window when the (ahem) restaurant was originally built.  We wound our way in the line, paid our $5.18 for a ton of calories, and almost ripped my side-view mirror off in the process.  That's when the conversation began.

I told my little guy about the Golden Arches of yesteryear and how you actually had to park the car and go inside to order, then take the food home to eat because there was no inside seating.  I was purposefully vague about the details and could see my Ninja's eyebrows raised.  There was some deep thinking going on in the back seat.

The idea that drive thru windows weren't "always there" was, in his mind, right up there with black and white televisions, rotary phones, macaroni and cheese from scratch and walking to school in the snow.

His response was simple.  Why?  Followed by, "Weren't people smart in the olden days?"  

Ouch!

I explained the modern conveniences and new technologies of my generation so he'd know just how smart "we" were.  He brought up questions like when the invention of Star Wars-type special effects, 3-D IMAX and snow boarding in the winter Olympics took place.  And we talked about the latest advancements since "his" olden days, i.e., the iPhone and Facebook.

Driving home, Ninja boy's eyes continued to roll as he sipped the calorie-filled chocolate shake under his mask.  So much of this sounded ancient to him, so he started pointing things out on the street and asking if they were around when I was a kid.  

Fire stations, street lights and Chinese restaurants (of course!), doggie daycares, Kinkos and recycling bins (none of the above), Dominos Pizza and Costco (I wish), vacuum cleaners, Dairy Queen and Coca-Cola (yes!) and, as we passed another Big Mac stand...... Ronald McDonald?  That last one gave me pause-- and he noticed.

You see, I lived in a small town in Ohio-- a very small, rural town, in the middle of nowhere.  A McDonald's rolled into "the big city" about 30 miles away when I was in elementary school.  I think we drove out there maybe three times on special occasions, like when we got "good report cards", or the likes.  But we didn't actually get a McDonald's in my town until I was 18 years old, and it did not have a drive thru! Technically, this would qualify as a "yes" in my book.  But my Ninja wasn't buying it.

So you are actually older than Ronald McDonald?

Obviously I was not going to shatter any illusions here, I mean, he already knows there isn't really a Santa Clause, but did I need to completely blow the lid on the fact I'm older than Ronald McDonald?  And trust me, when I realized that tidbit of useless information, I hesitated to share it, even now.  (The first McDonald's opened in 1940 but the Happy-Hamburger Clown has only been around since 1963-- five full years after I was born.)

I gently explained, to his peering eyes through my rear view mirror, that in the "olden days", life before Happy Meals, was different.

Without a doubt, he is now convinced I am, absolutely, older then dirt.  He bought my "before computers" talk.  And he understands that I no longer actually "run" unless it's a life or death emergency.  But the idea that I could grow up without a McDonald's was beyond comprehension; that McDonald's in "my" day did not have drive thru windows was simply impossible; and that I was born before Ronald McDonald hit the scene was, well, shocking to him.  I knew at that moment, our "play dates" were numbered.

About the time we reached the driveway at home, I heard him slurping the bottom of the milkshake through the straw.  When I hit the automatic garage door opener, his "olden days" questioning started again.  I simply raised my hand in a "don't go there" gesture.  It was easy to see by his eyes that he was stifling a laugh under his Ninja mask.

How old are you?
Welcome to TheFiftyFactor  -  Joanna

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