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Why did Elvis and McDonalds try to kill me?

December 6, 2011

At the beginning of our family life Kenan and I discussed how food would fit in our lives. We decided that the whole family would eat supper together every night, sitting down, preferably at home and we would avoid feeding our children food from chain restaurants, especially fast food chains.  This was a difficult task because I was in theatre and the hours were onerous, but we worked through most of the problems, including two kids in high school, sporting events, art openings and theatre productions with few exceptions to our principles. Often Kenan would make sandwiches and bring the kids to my work so we could eat as a family on a piece of plywood supported by two sawhorses before I pulled an all-nighter painting on the set for Traviata or Nutcracker.

Occasionally we would be at a swim meet or a soccer game where the coach would announce that the team would meet at Fuddruckers or Burger King after the meet and we would succumb and feed the kids, but those were rare exceptions because our kids were not very athletic and the art and kung fu groups met at wierder and more acceptable locations.
But–and there is always a but–in the late 80s we were traveling through Tupelo Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis with a 10 year old and a 5 year old.  We arrived at 2:00 am and spent the night in a less than desirable motel due to multiple conventions in this small city. The next morning we faced a long drive home to Houston and long lines at all the diners.  We just needed something to eat before we hit the road and we looked at each other and decided to do make an exception to our values and eat breakfast at the Mcdonalds across the street.  Entering into the ordering area we laughed at the large glass panels with heads of Elvis etched on them separating that area from the eating area (I refuse to call it dining).  On cue the two people in front of us were discussing their belief that Elvis was still alive and hiding in some romantic location.  We were mocking them and making fun of the “food” we were about to eat when suddenly, without anyone touching it, one of the panels–and these were 8 foot by 5 foot panels of 3/8 inch glass–fell from its hanging wire and landed right by my feet crashing all over my shoes.
I knew that it was a sacrilege to enter a McDonalds, but I wasn’t aware that Elvis was so in control until that moment. My fear of fast food has only grown these past 25 years and I will avoid mocking Elvis yet he might not miss the next time.

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