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A grump’s take on Happy Meals

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Sept. 4, 2007, thehive.modbee.com   

My credentials as a grump are impeccable. I graduated magna cum surly, celebrating with a fine dinner of crab and whine.

But I’m going to reach the peak of petulance with this statement: I hate Happy Meals.

Buying a Happy Meal is like shelling out $3 and change for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, stabled together in one cheery box. If you even get a box – half the McDonald’s we go to bag it these days.

There’s grease, a juice box way bigger than I would normally serve the guys, excessive calories and clutter-inducing crap. The first three don’t bother me much – the guys have Happy Meals maybe a couple times a month, three if life is really crazy. In between, I shove as much whole grain and fruits and vegetables down them as I can. Big Guy’s up to four green beans a meal now. YES! Major progress!

So I’ll take the nutritional hit. I’d probably even let them have McDonald’s a bit more often if the toys weren’t so dang annoying.

They’re largely useless hunks of junk that the guys don’t like or play with, but nonetheless clamor for. They wouldn’t throw one away if Ronald McDonald’s life depended on it. I don’t get it.

Maybe it’s just been a particularly boring batch of Happy Meal toys since Little Guy learned to chirp “Donal! Donal!” 

The “Ninjun Turtles” weren’t bad, and I’ve put them away for a time when the guys get interested. The “Shrek” line the guys still play with and, although I hate talking toys in general – let kids learn to make their own noises, a friend once told me – Big Guy has used these to stage his version of the movie.

The rest have ranged from awful to wretched.

Legions of Superheroes – quickly abandoned, landing on the carpet to later pierce my arch with their plastic superhero hands.

Nickelodeon’s Catscratch – so ugly I can’t believe it’s a children’s cartoon.

Cartoon Network’s Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – at least there was a pencil with it.

The absolute worst, though, were the Fly Wheels – not one, but three useless pieces of plastic. The idea was to balance a wheel on a handle – yeah, right – yank the rip cord and send the wheel soaring. The guys found them amusing only for as long as Dad was the launching pad. They tried to do it themselves and got frustrated. They wound up hating them, but would not part with them.

At least, not until I pulled one of my stealth raids the other night, dumping every one I could get my hands on into the diaper pail as my poor innocents slumbered.

My biggest fear is that I missed part of one that will claw its way to the top of the toy box in a few months. And when that happens, I’m going to be upfront about it and lie straight to their faces, just like I’ve been doing this week, when Big Guy has suddenly noticed that Ready Freddie’s no longer around.

“Babes, I have no  idea what happened to him.”

I see the Fly Wheels are now going for $5.99 each on eBay, though. Wonder if it’s too late to catch that garbage truck.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved. 

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