Do not be fooled by my accolades! I wingwalked at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp, swam with sharks, AND managed to obtain paperwork declaring me legally sane - all while racking up national acclaim in publishing, editing, writing and photography.

So I’m flying solo for a couple weeks, while my lovely and gracious wife is visiting family. Put another way, I’m playing the part of Old Guy All Alone, which translates into lots of roadside stops for food because (it turns out) I am incapable of cooking my own meals.

Sadly, it isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Mickey D’s gets old after a while. So does White Castle. Chick-fil-A, never, but this particular tale occurred on a Sunday.

I’m cruising down I-70 looking for something fun to do on this particularly scorching Sunday, when my stomach reminded me that, as a legal adult with no spouse to say otherwise, lunch would be when and where I determined. The next exit offered few options: Burger King and McDonalds. Since I’d enjoyed Ronald’s sausage biscuit for breakfast, Burger King won the imaginary coin flip.

The place was packed, and even the double-laned drive thru was backed up. I didn’t mind, though. As a free-wheeling solo pilot, my time was my own.

When it was finally my turn at the speaker, I’d had plenty of time to consider my order. So it was with unwavering confidence that I asked them to prepare for me a double Whopper completely plain, except for ketchup and mayo. I then reiterated, “that’s no vegetables and for God’s sake no cheese.”

(You already know the next part.)

Another five minutes or so pass as the line inches along. I pay for my giant have-it-your-way burger and inch along, making sure my radio is cranked, but not so cranked as to bother anyone else in line.

Eventually, it’s my turn at the window. The nice young lady hands me my bag, and I pull forward.

On second thought, I reached into the bag and wrestled the monster sandwich from its wrapper. It was, in fact, my worst fear realized. More cheese than beef.

I rewrapped the burger and pulled around. The parking lot was at capacity, so I pulled back into the drive thru lane, and up to the window.

“Hi,” I said. “I just came through here, ordered a double Whopper with only ketchup and mayo. This one is slathered with cheese.”

The response surprised me. “You’re gonna have to come inside.”

My response surprised the voice the box. “No.”

(In all fairness to me, the two cars behind me and the giant curb to my right made getting out of line impossible at that juncture. I was going past the server window either way.)

Another five minutes or so pass as I inch forward one order at a time. I can’t be sure exactly how much time passed. I can only say that I managed to eat all of my fries while I waited. (Oh, wait, I wasn’t going to mention that I had fries. Here’s to hoping my wife doesn’t read this week’s paper!)

When I returned to the window and handed the nice young woman my incorrect order, she shot me a look, dropped the sandwich in the trash, and walked off. I assume she was telling someone in the back that some jerk was blocking the drive-thru, but when I looked in the rear-view mirror, I didn’t see anyone who shouldn’t be there.

ANOTHER five minutes go by – and I start to wonder why. I mean, I told her at the speaker what was wrong. Surely they could’ve had my corrected order waiting, right?

When she finally reappeared, sandwich in hand, she gave it to me with a word of advice.

“Next time you have to have a remake, you have to bring it inside. You’re taking too long.”

I put the car in park and, while checking to ensure the sandwich was correct this time, I reassured her that there would not be a “next time.”

Anyone old enough to remember the movie “Lethal Weapon 2” knows exactly which Joe Pesci quote went through my mind as I pulled away, so there’s no reason for me to type it here. Instead, I’ll just state the obvious: “Have it your way” sure doesn’t mean what it used to.

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