Blame it On Ketchup
I once went to a McDonald’s and stopped everyone’s conversation when I asked for a ‘medium rare’ burger, with no ketchup. There was almost consternation in the silent crowd of late night bums and fix-income elders. The only one laughing was my 5-year old son.
It became a symbol of my inadequacy as an American dad, an outsider amid outsiders. Not so much as a rebel, who dares not to fit, and chooses to courageously break the rules, but as a prick, whose insufferable pretentiousness only got me singled out as a bore.
Off course, it was their loss, I reasoned with myself. They mistook my ignorance about the assumed routines and conventions of a highway rest stop for a stupid pose. As if I was in need of making a statement of my ‘difference’ to oblivious strangers. After that, I never stepped into a McDonald’s again.
Then again, they did catch a poseur in the act, I later admitted. At that time of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with plenty of road still to go, why on earth would a dad be so foolish to take his hungry son to a fast food joint and promptly upstage the kid’s hunger with a piece of vintage asshole-ism?
That he managed to halt for a sec all the talk about the day’s scores, or the latest police shooting of a black youth, without so much as getting punched in the noise, may have taken some skill to accomplish. But while the stares and downright disgust were acutely obvious, his misplaced self importance was not.
The great American failure of a dad finally got a hold of himself and tried to sneak a glimpse around, but didn’t go too far: the first eye contact with the crusty, battered man sitting next (more)
* Ketchup With That?
* Not Food
* I Was Loving In