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Fast Food Fights

by Stephen Lautens

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March 30, 2001

As if the roads weren't dangerous enough already, there's a whole new kind of road rage facing drivers.

It's been reported that more and more people are getting into verbal and physical disputes while waiting in line for their orders at drive-throughs. Someone was just arrested for uttering threats because he felt the woman ahead of him wasn't pulling up far enough so he could be three feet closer to his Egg McMuffin.

That's right. More and more people are in such a rush to get not only crummy food but usually someone else's order that actual fights are breaking out in fast food parking lots. I don't know what the hurry is. You can just as easily spill a cup of scalding coffee in your lap when you get to the office.

Maybe they need two windows - one to pick up your order and another one next to it for free anger management counseling. Or maybe your morning doughnut should come with a restraining order. Whatever it is, the last thing we should be giving these people is red meat and caffeine.

I guess wasn't raised in a eat-in-the-car culture. The most we ever did was go for a drive after dinner in the summer and pick up an ice cream cone. And woe to anyone who dripped on the seat. That included the dog who insisted on getting her own cone. We didn't spoil her though - we drew the line at sprinkles.

But otherwise, eating in the car was just not on. Dad ran a tight ship. Besides, there were a number of us kids who were prone to motion sickness.

You can always tell which of your friends eat in the car. The floor is covered in napkins, straws and the odd French fry. A thermos cup is glued to the dash and the ashtray is full of packs of sugar. If you accept a lift from the ones who have kids, be prepared to pick Cheerios out of your pants and fruit treats out of your hair for the next week.

Kids who eat in the car are the single best reason to get a dog, as long as it's not too picky.

Like parents and their half gallon mugs of coffee, kids today don't seem to be able to move more than three feet without a juice box within reach. I know it was the dark ages, but my mother's best advice when we announced we were thirsty? "Swallow your spit until we get home."

Not only was it cheap and effective, it was also environmentally friendly.

And the only road rage we saw was in the back seat when my brother, sister and I accused each other of breathing each other's air - which in those days constituted a capital offense, punished to the full extent the law (our mother) would allow before breaking it up.

Maybe the mini-van is to blame, with its fourteen cup holders, dinner trays and optional microwave (I kid you not). It truly has become meals on wheels for those in danger of malnutrition on the long trek between home and school.

In the meantime, if you feel you absolutely have to use a drive through, may I recommend the doughnut with the Prozac crème filling?

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© Stephen Lautens 2001

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