Month: March 2018

McBrawlnald’s

You know that expression “the streets is watching”? Where, if you’re out on the streets, getting into trouble, you gotta be mindful of the fact that someone might have eyes on you? Along these lines, as a parent, good or bad, you quickly learn that you have to be aware at all times. Little kids see and hear everything! It’s like the Sesame Streets is watching.

Now, truth be told, pre-kid Mike said and did some stuff back in the day which I’d be embarrassed to do today. At the time, Y.O.L.O.  Who cared what people thought of me? Nowadays, though, there are many ramifications for daddy actin’ the fool in public. The most severe one would be that B, J and little KJ could see that behaviour, and emulate it. Other kids might be encouraged to repeat it, as well; kids who, in the heat of the moment, I may not even know are there. This just isn’t cool.  Stupidity breeds stupidity, right?  As such, the more that we, as responsible adults, can stop being morons acting moronically, the better things will be for the next generation.

For example, take this incident, which happened recently to my wife, K, at a McDonald’s drive-thru. I need to show you this cartographer-quality map, so you can picture what I’m talking about:

Not an actual cartographer-quality map.

 

This particular drive-thru is awkwardly designed. If you enter from street 1, you have to do the full loop around the building when you order. If you enter from street 2, depending on the size of the line, you have to veer off to the side and find a place to wait, before you can get in the line.

K was driving home with the kids one evening, when she stopped at this McDonald’s drive-thru. While waiting in line, a dude (late 20ish in age) rolled up in a pickup truck, from street 2.  Instead of looping back and going behind K in line, he stopped just off of the entrance. His idea was that after she ordered, she would pull up to the window, and he would slide in line after. The problem with this, though, was that until he ordered, he was blocking the entrance/exit.

While K waited, another dude (late 30ish) in a car, with a female passenger, drove up from behind. He wanted to exit onto street 2, but couldn’t, because of the guy in the truck.  Instead of politely asking him to move, he proceeded to roll down his window, to hurl profanities. Truck guy wasn’t having any of that noise, so he rolled down his window, and started cussing back at car guy. K was basically trapped in the middle of this swearfest, as she was boxed in, so she locked the doors.

Truck guy then decided to take things up a notch. He got out, and uttered the three favorite words of every wannabe tough guy and goon:

“YOU WANNA GO?”

Car guy, despite his lady passenger trying to hold him back, did indeed want to go. He hopped out, approached truck guy, and before you could say “let’s get ready to rumble”, they were throwing fisticuffs at each other. K, who was nervous before about the situation, was now scared, so she did what any sensible person would do.

Pulled out her phone, shot a video, and sent it to Worldstar Hip Hop?

What? No.

Her and the kids’ safety was more important than going viral. We live in volatile times, to put it mildly. If these two geniuses are the types to start scrapping in a McDonald’s drive-thru over some bad parking, who’s to say that they aren’t the types who have weapons, or even guns, on them, and would start hurting innocent bystanders?

She called 911.

As she was talking to the 911 dispatcher,  a third dude, who was at the order window, got out of his car. The two brawling mouth-breathers were now rolling around like UFC fighters.  This other guy yelled at them to stop…..

Because there were kids watching!

The two dummies used their few remaining brain cells to come to their senses, and stopped fighting. They then returned to their vehicles. One guy drove off, but the other stayed, to place an order. Remember how,  in old cartoons, the characters would use beef bandages (giant slabs of meat) on their black eyes? That’s what I figure that guy ordered. “Uh, can I please get a quarter pounder? No cheese. No toppings. No bun, either. You don’t have to cook it, just give me the raw frozen patty. Thank you.” 

Now, from this incident, do I think my oldest children are going to start swearing and sucker-punching people in fast food restaurants? I mean, they’re pretty impressionable, but hopefully not. Regardless, it really was something that they didn’t have to experience. It’s just another uncomfortable conversation that we, as parents, have to have with them. If you’re like me, you probably have too many of these talks as is.

So that’s today’s takeaway, folks. The next time you’re road raging, looking to make a spectacle of yourself to prove a point, or want to get in a fist fight in a McDonald’s drive-thru, think about the kids.

The Sesame Streets is watching.

Olympic Nightmares And Velveteen Dreams – WWE NXT Live!

Disclaimer: The good folks at World Wrestling Entertainment graciously hooked me up with tickets to their WWE NXT Live show recently, in St. Catharines, Ontario. This is my review of the event!

 

“WE. ARE. NXT!” 

When Johnny Gargano yelled those words, to conclude a fun night of wrestling matches, the audience burst into cheers, including my kids B and J. What started out as curiosity ended with two converted fans!

For the uninitiated, NXT is basically like the WWE’s minor league wrestling system. It is a roster of talented performers who aren’t quite ready for the big stage. Some of the wrestlers are brand new, some are experienced but still perfecting the intricacies needed to be called up one day, while others are big name “independent” workers  with built in fan bases who are adjusting to the WWE style. Whereas WWE promotes itself as “sports entertainment”, NXT has a more pro wrestling vibe to it. Less talking, more in-ring action.  NXT has its own weekly TV show and regular pay-per-views, as well as their own merchandise. It’s really not a reach to say that some of the stars in NXT are just as popular as WWE ones.

In our house, I do find myself watching wrestling more lately. It’s one of the few shows that I can put on and follow while doing other dad duty stuff, without having to pay attention too closely. Yo, with three kids, to paraphrase Batista, it’s like distractions are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

B will watch with me sometimes, but he’s not that familiar with the NXT brand. J, conversely, only knows John Cena. However, both are pretty open-minded when it comes to outings, so I knew they’d be down for some live wrestling action. Plus, J had told me recently that she wanted to be a princess when she grew up. Now, I know some princesses are pretty empowering. However, I also know that some are just side pieces for their Prince Charmings. I figured it would be a good opportunity to expose J to some other strong female characters.

In terms of the show, the Meridian Centre was about two thirds full. From what I could tell, the crowd was mainly families (with more small girls there around J’s age than I expected), and 20ish/30ish year old looking “smart fans”; that is, the more hardcore wrestling fans who know the behind the scenes stuff. Trust me, this made a difference.

To work on their money skills, I had a little contest going, where before each match, B and J would make a prediction as to who they thought would win. If they were right, I would give them 25 cents. Since they are little kids, their automatic pick would be to pick the good guy or girl, so they could boo the baddies. I’ve been to WWE shows before, and since those crowds tend to have more casual fans in them, they will play along, and cheer/jeer appropriately. With the NXT crowd, though, the smart fans just cheered their own personal favorites! For example, one wrestler named Velveteen Dream is a heel (bad guy). However, he’s such a cool, great performer, that, as soon as his music hit, the place went nuts. B and J both asked me if he was good or bad. All I could say was that he was in the middle. They then both picked him to win. Unfortunately, he lost to another crowd favorite, Aleister Black, in an awesome match.

Velveteen Dream, soaking in the adulation.

The crowd also popped huge when Richochet’s name appeared on the jumbo screen, and he showed up. This was one of his first matches in NXT, as he hadn’t been on the TV shows yet. So to me, it was unexpected that he got such a big reaction.  However, he is a star outside of WWE. Dude’s an incredible athlete, and did some stuff that I had never seen before, in his match with Buddy Murphy.

Not every thing was bizarro world, though. By far, the wrestler who got the most heat was a Marcell Barthel, an arrogant German. Earlier that day, Germany had stunned Canada at the Olympics in hockey, crushing our gold medal dreams. Barthel made sure to mention this to us, which got him booed out of the building, unsurprisingly.

Also unsurprisingly was J’s favorite contest – the women’s three way match between Nikki Cross (dat gurl be cray cray), Aliyah (who bragged about reppin’ Toronto, and hated on St. Catharines, so she got booed hard) and the NXT Women’s Champion, Ember Moon. J really liked Moon. I tried to say she was a butt-kicking warrior princess, but J took that to mean she was the Queen. Eh, close enough.

All in all, it was a fun night out, with a lively crowd. If you had no idea who the performers were going in, they all did such a good job in getting their characters over, and the audience was so into them, that it was easy to be invested in the outcomes of the matches. B and J went in blind, and a week later, they still randomly talk about Johnny Wrestling (Johnny Gargano), Mrs. Wrestling (Candice LeRae, Gargano’s wife), the Queen, or Velveteen Dream. I’ll add that even though my tickets were free, NXT Live is reasonably priced, as well. For our event, cheap seats weren’t that much more than taking the family to a 3D movie, for example. I also appreciated that, at least from our vantage point, the audience respected the kids in attendance, so the chanting and yelling was not vulgar or profane.

Thanks again, WWE. If NXT Live comes to your town, as Billy Red Lyons use to say, don’t cha dare miss it!

 

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