Kids today have it made. Some of you probably think I’m talking about how no kid is ever considered a loser anymore. Everyone gets a ribbon! You didn’t place at all in the science fair with your “Which candy causes ants to swarm the most?” That’s ok! You can tie your shoes! You’re in high school and you can’t spell the word “ridiculous”? (which you, still as a forty year old man spell “rediculous” And you have the nerve to call me stupid? Really?) That’s ok! You went number two all by yourself! (I cannot confirm nor deny whether or not the forty year old man accomplished this feat) Not once did you hit the ball off of the tee? That’s ok! There’s no “I” in team! (unless again, you’re that forty year old man that can’t spell then you may put an “I” in there: TeaIm?)
All of those things aside, I’m talking about the quality of today’s Happy Meal. Please note that I use the term “quality” very loosely, as I’m sure that if we actually did science experiments on the chemically produced foods that make up a Happy Meal, we would find that there’s no quality there at all. On the plus side, you would probably get a blue ribbon at the fair, or at least an “I can clog my arteries!” ribbon.
When I was but a young girl, you had two choices for a Happy Meal: hamburger or cheeseburger. It was only in my early teen years that the McNugget was introduced. I fell in love with the McNugget. If you have a McNugget addiction that you just can’t kick, read up on how and what they make the McNuggets out of and you may be able to quit cold turkey, which incidentally might be an ingredient in the CHICKEN McNuggets. Also, I am seeing how many times I can write the word McNugget in one paragraph. It’s one of those words that looks all weird if you look at it long enough.
Along with my cheeseburger or hamburger, I could get a small portion of fries and either a small soda or a small orange drink. Those were my options.
Seem like I’m forgetting the best part of the Happy Meal? Because I’m not. The real reason that kids always get Happy Meals is not for the food. It’s for the toy. When I was a kid, these are the toys I remember getting:
A yellow dinosaur eraser, a green dinosaur eraser, a blue rhinoceros eraser.
Do you see a pattern here? Apparently kids from my generation made a lot of mistakes…in pencil.
This brings me to today’s Happy Meal and the spoiled kids who get them, probably as a treat for, not winning their pee wee soccer game, but for not having their finger shoved up their nose when the soccer ball hit them square in the face while they were mining their nostrils. Today’s Happy Meals, first of all, are ginormous compared to what we got. Today’s kids are feasting on what, in the early 1980’s would be considered an adult value meal. And they have options! They can get a hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets.
“But Jenn,” you say, ready to prematurely correct me, “those are the same options YOU had!”
To which I would say to you, “Pipe down and let me finish! Who’s writing this blog? Me or you?” And then I would return to my story, much as I am about to do.
Today’s kids have the same options we have PLUS they now get their sandwich or nuggets, fries, a drink (which now also includes the choice of a shot of regular or chocolate milk) AND apples. Not apple dippers, mind you, which consisted of slices of apple and a container of dippable caramel but just apples. A lot of people don’t know this but if you ask, they will give you some caramel. This was the McDonald’s way of making their kids’ meals healthier. And to counteract the health initiative they now offer kids the choice to “upsize” their meals, calling them “Mighty Meals.” A good name for them, if by mighty you mean “The Obese Maker” meal….or the “Mighty good start on the path to Obesity” Meal.
And the toys they get now are no longer dinosaur erasers. No, that’s not entertaining enough for today’s kids. Today’s kids get toys that light up or make sounds or move or do their science projects for them so that they don’t end up getting the “I didn’t touch my junk in public” award.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about Happy Meals. I’m actually quite thrilled because I can get a full size meal for under four bucks plus a toy that I will be amused with for about ten seconds. So yes, I am in my mid-thirties and I get Happy Meals. Not for the toy but because it’s like Goldilock’s chair, it’s just the right size. I’m just saying that I don’t think today’s kids realize how good they have it. They get large portions of deep fried fat and sugar PLUS a pretty cool toy. No erasers to be found these days. The toys keep getting better and better.
And when McDonald’s teams up with Apple in some way and starts giving out McIPads, I will be the first in line.