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Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in Tall Tales With Jack

I don’t know about the “Big-Guy,” he can’t win for loosing, and he’s a treat to watch. We were meandering back to our winter home in Michigan in early March after spending a month in the Florida panhandle creating images and minding our own business when I decided I needed a pit stop and a bite.

The bite has a double meaning, sometimes it’s one of those awful Purina dog treats, a plain donut hole (sugar is fattening,) or a shared Big Mac with the “Big-Guy.” Then again if a clerk at the drive through window puts a hand through the window to pat me on the head while uttering those most insulting words, “Isn’t that little fellow cute! What kind of dog is he, eh?” I have a tendency to respond by nipping a finger or two before the “Big-Guy” can respond. It’s fun to watch their reaction as apologizes fly. Usually things go flying and the culprit gets the message, I’m not cute, moron, I’m a Rottweiler with an attitude, got into some bad dog chow a while back and lost a lot of weight.

When will people learn not to invader a dog’s space? Anyway, back to the story. We stopped at a McDonald’s in Evergreen, Alabama, pulled up to the order window and waited, waited and waited. By the time we finally got service the leaves had begun to turn color. Not because fall had arrived but from the color of the prevailing attitude in the vehicle. All we wanted was a simple cup of coffee, a single plain English muffin, a double order of scrambled eggs, nothing on them, three squirts of cream and Splenda added to the large cup (he even said please) and a stir stick. But then he made a fatal mistake, he asked for hot sauce…I hate it when he adds hot sauce. My ancestors may have enjoyed the stuff but it gives me gas and he doesn’t like me passing gas when he’s driving. He should have known we had a problem; it took three tries to get the phantom at the other end of the voice box to repeat the order coherently.

I understood the comeback but he uttered something under his breath like, “what country is this anyway? Jack, did I miss a border crossing somewhere along the way?” He wasn’t happy. He did have a point, after all if I can learn the language why can’t Americans? It was a strange use of the English, eh, American English language. I’ve traveled with the “Big-Guy” enough to know when his blood pressure is rising, and it’s not a pretty picture. He reminds me of the awful thermometer they use when I have my annual physical, (wish they had a head strip). He gets red as a tomato, his white hair and beard become crimson and his eyes bulge, a lot like mine, and he utters a soliloquy of incoherent adjectives, or is it adverbs….no, in his case I think they are verbs; he’s so animated. By the time we reached the drive through window after paying three bucks, the town of Evergreen was turning blue.

Then it happened. The order came five minutes later as we waited outside the pick-up window. I tightened my seat belt (I always use a seat belt) in anticipation of our Cape Kennedy take-off, standard for him when he’s irritated, but no, not this time. The man of many talents and redundancies opened the bag. Why did the idiot break with tradition? I ducked into the back seat after scurrying to get the belt opened, and hid under my bed. He was biting his lower lip, difficult for him, he doesn’t wear his top partial plate when we travel; for that matter he doesn’t wear his bottom partial plate either. Thank God, he’d have bitten through his lip if he hadn’t lost so many teeth playing hockey. To his credit he controlled himself, took a deep breath, looked at the unknowing employee standing in the window and said, “This is not my order!”

Oops, the poor thing made a mistake. “Yes it is!” she replied with authority. No, girl, you don’t say no to the “Big-Guy.” You use tact, smile, use some well developed customer service techniques and say, “I’m so sorry sir, what did you ordered?” He handed her the bag and explained his order again. Oops, obviously she wasn’t getting it; another mistake. She thrust the bag back at him and said, “This is your order, exactly what you ordered!” For a moment I held my breath, put my paws over my eyes and wrapped my tail around my ears. I prayed; “Oh God, please forgive me for all my sins and please keep him out of the clink and me out of the pound (I hate the pound, lousy food), and I promise I’ll never bite another window violator again.” Amazing what you do when a crisis is pending. The “Big-Guy” opened the bag buried hid head into the top and gracefully extracted it, smiled sarcastically and reached through the window and said, “This is not my order!”

I don’t know if the communication between the two was a case of missed communications or the difference between some educated in a private non-governmental school or a person educated in the failing public school system (government and unionized), but even I could understand the disconnect; and I don’t even speak either language. The exchange continued; the indignant young girl pushed her hand, bag in hand back out the window and snapped, “Sir, this is your order and it’s time for me to serve the next customer!” I guess she was saying stuff it and tough. Oops, was this the catalyst for an explosion? I prayed. To my bewilderment and undying faith that there is a God, the “Big-Guy,” simply placed the bag on the sill of the window and smiled. Then, as the supervisor approached the window he said, “I am sorry for the mix-up, Mam, but this is not my order and then explained for the third time exactly what he had ordered--a simple English muffin, dry, no butter, a double order of scrambled eggs and a large coffee with three cream, three Splenda and a stir stick.

The supervisor and employee put their heads together and conferred. Then without comment the bag was thrust back through the window with an accompanying glare from both. Before I could re-attach my seat belt we were in a launch mode and off we went. No fork, no spoon, no stir stick. You should have seen the “Big-Guy” try and drink his coffee with no Splenda or cream and eat the scrambled eggs while driving (without his beloved hot sauce). He offered me a bite and I couldn’t bring myself to eating the plain, tasteless powered eggs. I’d have rather eaten chalk and so would he. He’s still mumbling about Evergreen, Alabama, and we’ve been back over a month now. I hope he’ll recover some day, but I’m betting McDonald’s won’t be at the top of his fast food list…at least in Alabama.

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
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