We’ve had some good times, you and I, back in the day, before I really understood how you were just taking advantage of me. In the long past, when I thought we meant something to each other, not that I was simply a means to an end, a tick on the bottom line.
But it’s over now. I’m done. We’re through.
I never thought we’d get to this point. When I was young, I basked in your Happy Meal goodness, reveling in cheap plastic Star Trek toys. I marveled at the McDLT, and it’s fancy ability to keep the hot side hot, the cool side cool, and wept when they took it from the menu. It was a gaping wound that would take years to heal.
As I came into adolescence, with the freedoms of my own car and a few of my own dollars, I believed you were there for me. You introduced conveniently discounted Value Meals, helping me keep more of those few dollars to myself for movies and bowling.
But really you just wanted to get me through the doors more often.
Still though, we had some wonderful times. Cheap ice cream cones, hot apple pies. A time when your fries were beyond compare. Your dollar menu, too, gave me easy access to a cheap bite between points A and B during the rush of my twenties
Time, though, strips the shine from everything. As I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to question our relationship. You became stingy with your Monopoly pieces. Your burgers seemed assembled by a blind crack-addled chimpanzee. And everything you offer now is saltier than a sailor in port;full of rum and light on pennies.
The Big and Tasty was neither big nor tasty.
My children now, themselves fond of Happy Meals and the trinkets within, are frequently led to disappointment when we find you don’t have enough of the specified toy. Not enough cheap Batmobiles or tiny bedazzled shoe things.
They’re just kids! Even if we can’t get along anymore, why must you be so cruel to them? Or are you just so focused on the earnings that you can’t ship a million extra crappy pieces of plastic.
No, I just don’t understand you anymore. And, honestly, I don’t see what so many others see in you, either. But, then, you have them all fooled with your faux coffee shop drinks and your “pork” sandwich, don’t you?
Finally fed up, I decided to see what you were really up to, so I did some research. Snooped around a little bit. Oh, and I found out. Tired of your chemicals and lies, I decided I’d had enough.
And so I call it quits. No more.
But I hoped it could be an amicable split. A little awkward, maybe, but I wasn’t going to be crazy. I wasn’t going to make my friends and family pick between us. I figured I could still come to see you once in a while with others, give you a reserved nod of the head, not be a jerk about it.
After all, your tea is still pretty good. Admittedly, my enjoyment of it is probably symptomatic of your straws, the perfect physical device for pumping fluids into someone’s gaping pie hole. And, it doesn’t hurt that I can get it for a dollar.
But, dammit, you can’t even get the damned tea right.
Unsweetened. Un-effing-sweetened! Again and again I say it, and again and again I take that first, anticipatory slurp, ready to sigh contentedly, only to be slapped in the face with cloying sweetness. Swallowing sugary syrupy swill sours my satisfaction.
So tell me, How. Hard. Is. It? I order the damned drink unsweetened. Every time I emphasize the “UN” like some freak at the drive-thru attempting to speak his order like a Shakespearean tragedy: “UNNNNN-sweet tea, from thee, forsooth! UNNN-sweet, I say! My chariot for an UNNNN-sweet drink!”
There on your monitor, I see my choice, “Unsweetened Tea, $1.00”
And still, time and again, when I pull up to the window, eyes shiny with hope, your minion inevitably passes my beverage to me filled with enough sugar to drop a diabetic mule. All hope deflates like a week-old child’s birthday balloon.
It’s like you don’t even care anymore; you’re not even trying. Or you’re slipping some kind of addictive mickey into the drink it the hope the sugar covers its odd taste with sweetness.
Whatever, I’ve given you chances. A lifetime of them. No more. I’m quit of you.
So keep your damned sugary tea and your fake food and your golden arches and lies.
Keep your Happy Meals and your Monopoly pieces.
No more, Ronald, no more.