We were at the Wendy’s drive thru one night last week, and I had an excruciating decision to make: How many Frosties should I buy?
There were six McMillans in the minivan: my wife and I, and four of our children. Six small chocolate Frosties was the natural choice. But the universe had different plans.
A beam of moonlight, lately of the sun, ricocheted off a small piece of plastic in the compartment next to the cupholder, drawing my eye to a white piece of plastic shaped in the shape of a Frosty, entitling its bearer to one free Jr. Frosty — about half the size of a small Frosty — with any purchase. It was a coupon good for a whole year’s worth of free Jr. Frosties, in fact, and I don’t believe it had been used even once.
Is this a sign that I should get not only six small Frosties but also a free Jr. Frosty, even though the universe had provided no obvious candidate to consume it?
Then, like a monolith appearing on the moon, it occurred to me that I could give the Jr. Frosty to my 5-year-old son, Luke, and I could casually eat two small Frosties myself without anyone noticing. Luke typically didn’t finish his Frosties anyway.
A few minutes later, my plan was working beautifully. I was halfway through my first Frosty and eyeing my second, thanks to my giant-sized spoonfuls, while everyone else was savoring theirs via normal-sized spoonfuls. And then, the law of entropy transformed from a theory into a melted, goopy reality.
“Oh no,” my 19-year-old son, Jackson said from the middle bucket seat.
My wife, Hailey, turned around.
I couldn’t bear to look. I could see it well enough in my mind’s eye.
“It’s face down,” Jackson reported.
“How bad is it?” Hailey asked.
“About two-thirds is gone,” Jackson said.
About this time, I finished my first Frosty. My energy level was spiking due to the sugar, but my heart was sinking due to the carnage.
“We’re going to need the Bissell for this,” Jackson said.
“Just do your best,” Hailey said, handing him the napkins we had just received from our purchase, as well as the glove compartment stash of napkins from purchases past.
Helpfully, from the back seat, 8-year-old Kennedy said: “Bounty Paper towels pickup two-thirds more than competitors.”
Jackson, his patience fraying, his hands sticky, asked, “Where did you learn that, a commercial?”
“Science experiment,” Kennedy said, confidently.
All the while, Luke was silently, slowly eating his final third.
In hindsight, perhaps the universe did not plan on Luke getting that Jr. Frosty.
Or, perhaps, it was the universe’s gift to us all: It could have been worse — he could have spilled my second small Frosty instead.
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