When we were in college, my friends, Theresa and Tom, and I would meet at Burger King on a fairly regular basis. And if by “fairly regular basis” you envision the phrase, “pretty much every weekday,” then you have the picture clearly imprinted.
And please don’t scream out, “Haven’t you seen the documentary ‘Super Size Me’? Don’t you know how horrible fast food is, when consumed daily?”
Yes. Yes, I know how horrible it is. But people, we were in college, and the diet of the American college student is not known for it’s high nutritional values — not today and not back then. (And if by “back then” you envision the phrase, “Wow! That was a LONG time ago,” then you have the picture clearly imprinted.) Because it was such a lengthy bit of time ago, value meals didn’t even exist, and we had to pool our change together in order to scrounge enough money to buy French fries. French fries, people, were pretty much what we ordered. We weren’t ordering the #5 Value Meal, with extra mayo, and make that Coke the size of a fifty-gallon drum. Truly, our acid-washed jeans have never looked better than they did then, even when we ate at Burger King on a fairly regular basis.
So yes, with our hair firmly shellacked in enough aerosol Aqua Net to launch the space shuttle, if a match happened to be anywhere nearby, we’d hop into Theresa’s Plymouth Horizon and scoot on over to Burger King every morning about 10:30. And that’s if we actually went to Biology I. If we decided to skip Biology I, why we could make it to Burger King in time for breakfast, but since French fries weren’t offered on the breakfast menu, we usually waited. (Which isn’t at all to say that we usually went to Biology I. In fact, I think we had the art of skipping that class down to a fine science, no pun intended.)
So yes, at Burger King the three of us would crowd ourselves into a booth, and Theresa and I would endure the daily jokes made by Tom on whether or not we had secured enough ketchup for ourselves, because listen! We had enormous puddles of the fancy condiment on our trays, and Tom was simply concerned that the free world would actually run out of ketchup, because Theresa and I had used it all at a Burger King.
And do you know what? Many of our college issues were solved in one of those booths at Burger King, because we talked. And we talked. And we talked some more. It was therapy, people, and Theresa and I continually plagued Tom with questions on why boys were always so obnoxious, and Tom gave us honest answers.
Boys can’t help themselves. They are genetically driven to be weird creatures, which we would have learned, had we made it to more Biology I classes. (I told you Tom gave us honest answers.)
But I digress.
Which seems to be a fairly typical thing, as I am always digressing.
My love affair with Burger King was pretty much established in college, and that was just a continuation of my high school years. Back then (Wow! That was a LONG time ago!), you could actually buy a hamburger for 39 cents. Thirty-nine pennies, people. If you wanted the slice of Kraft American cheese melted onto your burger, you had to give the fast food establishment an extra dime.
And speaking of the 39-cent hamburgers, I must tell you that one time, when I was a high school junior or so, I went with my dad, as he whipped the car through the Wendy’s drive-thru. He kept scanning the menu and shaking his head, and finally, when the voice came across the speaker, saying that he could just go ahead and order when he was ready, he shouted out, “Do you still have those 39-cent hamburgers?” My eyes popped wide open with shock, as I realized that we were not at Burger King, people, which was the home of the 39-cent hamburger, and low! What was my dad doing, asking a Wendy’s employee for one? The voice simply replied, “Sir, I believe it’s Burger King that has those hamburgers.” My dad thanked the voice for her time, and he pulled out of the drive-thru lane, and we hopped on over to Burger King, because 39-cents could buy you a whole lot of dinner there. It was one of the more embarrassing moments that I was involved in, and I distinctly remember telling my dad that, so he decided to make sure that his trip through the Wendy’s drive-thru wasn’t the worst episode of my life. He pulled into the Burger King drive-thru and immediately said, “I’d like one of your cheeseburgers, please, but don’t put any cheese on it.”
Hadn’t Tom assured us that guys simply could not help being weird?!
And I am digressing.
By the time the main boyfriend became Hubs, I had learned that he couldn’t stand Burger King. In fact, Hubs was a hater of all things BK, until the Rodeo Burger came out, and his friend, Shad, suggested, “Let’s keep track of Rodeo Burgers this month. See how many you can eat in one month, and I’ll do the same.” And since the Rodeo Burger was a whopping 99-cents (which sounds like highway robbery, when compared to the 39-cent hamburger of yesteryear), Hubs and Shad went to battle against one another.
I cannot even remember who won, but all I know is that Hubs was yanking the truck through the BK drive-thru on a fairly regular basis (pretty much every weekday) to secure himself one or three, and then he’d keep the receipts to prove to Shad how many he’d ordered.
So, other than the Rodeo Burger contest, Hubs has no tolerance for Burger King. We simply never went there, until…
…the boy came along. And the boy decided, at a rather young age, that he loved Burger King, and he would hop up and down with sheer excitement every time we drove by the familiar fast food restaurant and cry out, “I want to go there!” And, most of the time, his wishes were shot down by his daddy, because there would be no Whoppers for dinner.
And, ultimately, all of these back rabbit trails brings us to the main story, which is simply this. The boy was finally granted his heart’s desire when he announced that he wanted one of the little, cheap plastic toys that BK was tossing into their kids’ meals, and we went. The boy was told to cherish the moment, because Burger King’s variation on the grease had treated his daddy’s stomach badly too many times. The boy was delighted and ever-so-very-much thankful, and Hubs gave the little teenager behind the counter our plastic debit card. The bill was $17.93. Clearly, inflation has brought us a long, long ways away from the old 39-cent hamburger. (I know! I sound like old Me-Maw here, don’t I? Paw-Paw and I are always griping about inflation, and how you can’t buy a 39-cent hamburger these days.)
A month later, which would be…well…now, I balanced my checkbook, and saw that the bank, people, had taken out $71.93 for a trip to Burger King last month! You can imagine my shock and panic, and I immediately phoned Hubs to say, “Robbed! We’ve been robbed of $54, unless you treated the office to Whoppers and neglected to tell me!” Hubs, being the quiet and patient fellow that he is, immediately launched into a verbal tirade on how he has always hated Burger King, simply hated it, people, and this only reinforced his hate, and could I finally, FINALLY!, understand why he wanted to pretend BK didn’t even exist? Certainly, there was a bit of a black cloud above Hubs’ head, as he painted a nice verbal picture of Burger King for me.
The most amazing thing of this story, though, is that I STILL. HAD. THE. RECEIPT. Still. I know! I couldn’t believe it either, because I tend to throw everything away, and by everything, I mean receipts. But, because God was truly smiling on us that afternoon, I was able to dig up the real receipt, and Hubs waltzed into Burger King and said, “I think I’ll be taking my $54 back.” The on-duty manager was happy to accomodate Hubs, and even offered him coupons for free food for his next visit, but Hubs has simply declared that Burger King is now dead to him, and is, in fact, REALLY dead this time.
And so we have broken up with BK, people. Theresa and Tom and I once ate their French fries on almost a daily basis, and, honestly, Theresa and I probably ate more ketchup than we did fries, because every college student knows that ketchup is a VEGETABLE. And, growing up, my family relied on the 39-cent hamburgers to see us through the hard times. But low! Burger King, you’ve done somebody wrong, and even though the Holy Spirit has encouraged me to forgive you, Hubs is not inclined to do so. Hubs is using this incident to assure the boy and me that we’ll never be back.
Not even for the Rodeo Burger.
Not even if Shad throws down the glove and strikes up another contest.
These are sad times, people.