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American Coming of Age Funny

“We’re running out of time!” my dad yells.

“McDonald’s breakfast ends in 


 *looks at watch*


“Eight minutes!”


We are sitting at the light right before the McDonald’s. It’s a right turn and we are in the right lane. One elongated minute passes, and the light turns green. We turn into the parking lot, I see the big yellow arches, it was like in the movies. My dad sees how the drive-thru line was insanely long, so he says he’s gonna just park. My dad never had a problem parking far for ease, but in the interest of time, he pulled up right to the main entrance and parked. 

“Dad, I don’t think we can park here”

He says “we are just gonna order and go, plus they’re so busy they won’t have time to say anything.”


This is actually the first McDonald’s I have ever been to, we lived in Akiak, it’s a city in  Alaska. The population is I think something like 500 people, but that sounds like a lot to me. My dad lived in Las Vegas for most his life and he says that it’s a bagillion more people, and that he couldn’t explain it, cause I wouldn’t understand. So he always uses zombie movies to express the amount of people. He would say you know that part when the guy is on the roof talking to the other guy with signs in Dawn of the Dead  and the camera gets a clip of the street, that’s what’s it’s like.


So we get out of the car parked right dead center of the main entrance and walk in to the other customers distaste. I look immediately to the left. To me, it was magical, they had tube slides, ball pits, and arcade games. I can see Marvel vs Capcom 2 right there in the corner. Now what my dad saw, I’m not sure was the same, because I panned right, and it was a mess. Receipts, napkins, and little squirts of ketchup all over the floor.

The worst part was the line inside was insanely long. I look up at my dad expecting to see him being mad or upset, but I look up at him and he looks at me and he’s smiling. “This is gonna be great, I happen to know, per McDonald’s rules, they have to serve everyone that wants breakfast to customers who were in here before the ten-thirty cut off. And *looks at watch* we still got three minutes to spare.” Then I go “oh okay cool dad, would be cool if I went to those arcade machines” “pfft of course” he replies.


So I take off, as I approach it I see there are a few kids in there. Some in the ball pit or standing at the top of the slide, but I’m going straight for Marvel. I got a couple dollars on me, so I go the change machine, put in both dollars. I take the change and head for the game, I put my quarter in and hit player one. Im at the character select screen pondering, who do I normally pick I thought. I choose my boy Megaman for sure, Cable, and Sentinel. Just three mostly robots on a mission to save the world. So I’m running through the ladder, maybe three matches in killing the game. Some kid pulls up on the other side of the cabinet and puts a quarter in. Oh okay, I think to myself.

We don’t say a word to each other. It gets to the character select screen, I choose my team and he chooses Wolverine, Venom, and Spider-Man. Still haven’t said a word to each other. 


The battle begins, it’s pretty hard fought in the final round, we have one character left each. I fake pressing a button, he bites, and does his super, which is highly punishable. In the recovery frames I use my super and win. He shakes my hand and leaves, still no words. 


Then I hear my dad call me and there it is. He is holding a tray of some sandwiches wrapped in yellow paper, some hash browns, and orange juices in cups.

You know my dad always used to tell me about McDonald’s and how he and grandma used to race to get breakfast just before they closed. Which makes sense at why we left a quarter after ten.

They would eat together and most days that would be the only time they spend together all day. Guess he said grandma worked swing and came home late and he would already be asleep. So I guess my dad was trying to start some kind tradition with me since a McDonald’s got built. Me and my dad have a pretty good relationship. We really bond on basketball, and video games. I ask my dad what our basketball team is, and he always says “Legacy?, Lakers, but in our hearts Pelicans”  he never really tells me why, except that Kobe Bryant is his “dawg”.

He also has an 8 and a 24 tattooed on his inner forearm. 


So I’m ready to see what all the hooplah is about. We sit at a table. I unwrap my sandwich, look at my dad who is holding his unwrapped sandwich, we cheers the sandwiches then tap the wrapper (it’s something him and mom do all the time before they eat). We each take a bite, grab the hash brown, take a chunk out of that, and sip our orange juices through the straws. 

A few more cycles of the same motions. The breaking of the crispy hash brown, the saltiness of the ham on the sandwich, and then the sweet finish of the no pulp sugary orange juice. It was like it all was in slow motion. Glorious, gratifying, and memorable taste. I could already tell how people could be nostalgic on it. To be honest it wasn’t that any one thing tasted really great. It was the experience, that I think my dad was tryna show me. It was the excitement of kids when they walk in, it was the smell of coffee, the race, and the smiles on adults faces when they finally got their food.


“So what do you think?” He asks me


“I think I love McDonald’s


“Oh hey dad, what about the car?”











July 14, 2022 02:45

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9 comments

Jim Hirtle
00:29 Jul 21, 2022

This story made me think of the boy character as a father, years after the inaugural visit to the golden arches, recounting the story to his own son or daughter, recalling fond memories from his childhood. You descriptions are spot on because of the familiarity most readers possess, who hasn't stood in line waiting to claim the prize. Good job!

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Jeremy Renbarger
03:46 Jul 21, 2022

Wow you are spot on with the relationship, thank you so much for reading !

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Emma G.
01:34 Jul 20, 2022

I love that of all the places you could have had them go to, they are rushing to McDonalds. The simplicity of the story really added to the nostalgia factor and brought me back to when I used to go with my parents growing up (and thought it was the greatest thing). Fun read!

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Jeremy Renbarger
03:23 Jul 20, 2022

Aww man I’m just happy it’s being read. Thank you!

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Ba Eubank
00:15 Jul 19, 2022

I like how you used the prompt to the cutoff time for breakfast. I remember times racing to get there before they stopped serving it.

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Jeremy Renbarger
13:17 Jul 19, 2022

All the time! Thanks for the comment !

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Katy Borobia
16:54 Jul 18, 2022

This is such a fun, oddly moving story. The relationship between the father and son is great. I especially loved their characterizations. Describing Las Vegas as a scene from a zombie flick is so funny and so accurate! Thank you for sharing your great story.

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Jeremy Renbarger
21:30 Jul 18, 2022

Gosh, thank you so much for reading it. It means a lot!

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Katy Borobia
22:25 Jul 18, 2022

Absolutely, your story was a pleasure to read.

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