Betty and I were eating at McDonald’s today. I had gotten some good news about a potential opportunity and we decided to celebrate by eating horrible horrible food that is bad for you and no one who loves their children should subject them to. We like eating it.
While we were eating, Betty saw a picture of Ronald McDonald on the wall.
“Why is there a picture of Ronald McDonald there?” she asked.
I looked. Apparently there’s going to be an in-store visit from Ronald on December 11th.
“Ronald’s going to be coming to McDonald’s,” I said.
Her eyes got big.
“Why?” she whispered.
“It’s an in-store promotion,” I explained. “Ronald shows up and-”
I saw that she was visibly frightened. She was shaking, and her face was getting splotchy.
“He’s…he’s just a costume, right?”
I realized that Ronald McDonald showing up was a BAD THING.
“Yes,” I said. “He’s not real. He’s just a guy in a costume, and he’s not coming today. He’s NOT coming today.”
She calmed down a little, but kept staring at the poster.
“I want to go to school now.”
“You need to finish your apples and milk and then we get your ice cream,” I said. “The main reason we came was because you wanted ice cream.”
“I don’t mind. I want to go to school.”
She started putting her stuff on the tray.
“Betty, I *promise* you that Ronald McDonald is not coming today.”
She looked at me skeptically.
“Are you SURE?”
She started chewing her apples slowly. Her eyes wandered over her meal.
“There he is,” she said dejectedly. “On my milk.”
“He’s making you scared AND sad?”
“I really don’t want him to come here.”
“Well, they told us exactly when he’s going to be here, so we can avoid him.”
“Is he going to stay forever?”
“No,” I assured her. “It’ll be for a little while on one day. And don’t worry! We come here less than once a month!”
“I just don’t like him,” she mumbled.
“Neither do I,” I said. “Not if he makes you scared and sad.”
“Thanks, Dad,” she said. “I guess I’ll eat my ice cream now.”
“You have to finish your apples.”
“I’m sorry about Ronald McDonald, Betty.”
“Oh, me too, Dad. It’s okay.”
She only stayed for half of her ice cream, and never took her eyes of the picture.