“Do You Want Fries with That?” by Christine Cacciatore

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid.” 

The illusion was shattered, if it ever even existed. The illusion that my children should have of me as the perfect mother was gone. During breakfast at a restaurant last December, my mother chose to share with my children one of the more embarrassing stories of my childhood—no, wait, the most embarrassing story—over our eggs, ham and pancakes.

This moment conveys one event in a long line of humiliating things that have happened to me. I was about 12. Some of you may remember that McDonald’s had come out with a contest to win a Big Mac T-shirt. To win the contest, you simply had to harness the courage to stride right up to the counter and sing the famous “Two All-Beef Patties” jingle under a certain time limit. That was it.

How simple! Even I could do that! I had practiced and practiced and had polished my Big Mac song to a competitive time. I was ready. That T-shirt was all but mine. I just knew in my heart that they surely had never heard anyone sing it faster. I would probably be asked to do a commercial. Everyone would know of my special talent.

Finally, my long-suffering mother took me to our local McDonald’s so I could attempt the feat. Entering the restaurant, I lost a little bit of my nerve, but my mother nudged me up to the counter and before I knew it, and more importantly before I lost my courage, I was at the counter loudly belting out my record-shattering speedy version of the Big Mac song to the gum-smacking, bored-looking cashier behind the counter. She stood there with her head cocked, letting me sing it out. When I was done, I looked at her, hoping that I sung it under the time limit.

“That contest ended a week ago,” she said—snarkily, I might add. “Can I take your order? Let me guess. You want a Big Mac?”

Time stood still.

There would be no T-shirt. No free Big Mac. No commercial. I had just sung a song in front of not only the entire amused McDonald’s crew, but also several hungry customers who were studiously avoiding any eye contact with me. And it seemed to me that the employees got a little more industrious with their napkin-filling and ice machine replenishment.

It was over. I had sung a song that would win me not a T-shirt, but years of humiliation with a large side order of embarrassment.

However, something good did come out of that debacle at wonderful Christmas—which happened to be my daughter’s 21st birthday—sitting in the restaurant as a family and laughing our fool heads off, all over my mother sharing my most stupid-kid stunt, ever. The moment was priceless.

I wish I could go back in time to that 12-year-old version of myself and let her know that the embarrassment would wear off, she’d get better T-shirts than the Big Mac T-shirt she tried so hard to win, her barely-breathing social life would recover from that catastrophe, and she’d eventually be able to go back into a McDonald’s without needing a Xanax.

I would also tell her to avoid ordering a certain fish sandwich at the Burger King on the other side of town, but we’ll save that story for another day.

Stupid Kids 250_rgbChristine Cacciatore is married to a wonderful man, has three great kids and one ridiculous dog. They reside in the Midwest where she blogs at The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley. Christine is also working on a collection of funny stories sure to embarrass her family and delight her fans.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Stupid Kid.” The book is filled with 59 silly and crazy stories by Baby Boomers who survived growing up. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1vpRWoW) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1FGUs1d).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.