It has become a weekly ritual for me to take Zachary to “Chick-a-play,” which is what he has called the play area in Chick-Fil-A pretty much since he learned to speak. There are two locations approximately equidistant to our house – “White Car Chick-a-play,” located in the Hamilton Marketplace, so named because of the white car in the play area, and the Howell Free Standing Unit that Zachary calls “Trees chick-a-play” because of its play area’s forest motif. On this particular evening (November 16) he had chosen to visit the latter, which is more convenient to his preschool in Freehold (less driving for me!) As I placed our order something caught my eye. I had seen the sign for “hand spun milkshakes” many times before (this particular sign advertised their seasonal peppermint chocolate chip milkshake.) I thanked Alyssa (I am 60% sure that this is her actual name,) received the usual “my pleasure” in response, and sat down to await the delivery of our food. As we ate, and as Zachary had fun in “Chick-a-play,” I ruminated over the sign I had seen. Hand-spun. What makes a “hand-spun milkshake” hand spun? In order to make a true “hand spun milkshake” I envision one of two things happening; The first is where you put all the ingredients into the container, put your hand into the container and twist,turn, and vibrate your hand as fast as possible. The other is where you put the ingredients into the cup and using a utensil of some kind, mix it really fast until it’s a milkshake. I knew that neither of those things happen as I have seen and heard the milkshake making machine whirring away to create those sinfully delicious gastronomic miracles for customer after customer. So how does Chick-fil-A have the balls to call these hand-spun milkshakes? I was unable to resist – I had to go and ask the “team members” if they had any insight as to how these milkshakes earned their appellation. After discussing with Gabriela (I am 75% sure that this is her actual name) my artistic vision for a true hand-spun milkshake (the first, not the second) and earning a well-deserved chuckle at my comedic ingenuity, while Alyssa and Audriena (80% sure) listened in, she explained that she didn’t really know why they were so named, except for the fact that you have to press a button with your hand in order to get the machine started.
“Why, you could name these milkshakes based on any appendage that you could possibly use to get the machine started!” I replied. I know what you’re thinking, too. “Nuh-uh, he did NOT go there!”
Yes he did. He went there.
Of course, I couldn’t go right there. I had to buffer it with a more benign “so if I press it with my nose, would it be a nose-spun milkshake?” Then I said it. I did check to ensure that there were no customers nearby, but that didn’t take away from the fact that I was talking about pressing the shake-making button with my manhood. When I actually said it, I was standing in the exact same pose as Neal Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson when he and his friends were discussing the “My Penis Grants Wishes” entry in “The Playbook.” And since there are so many euphemisms for that particular body part, I had to rifle quickly through the seemingly endless list of penile nicknames to determine which one the shake’s name would bear. I didn’t think all that long, but I did want to choose one of its less offensive, sillier monikers. So when I ordered my “wanger-spun milkshake” I didn’t right away notice that my audience didn’t seem to find it anywhere near as funny as I did. So I followed that statement up by asking for no whipped cream, because, in a wanger-spun milkshake, I “couldn’t really trust that it was actual whipped cream.” And THEN I noticed. Alyssa and Garbiela were looking at me like I was a lecherous old man who would actually go pressing buttons with his ding-dong (alright, you got me, but only if I owned the machine and nobody else would use it!) I couldn’t tell if Audriena had the same reaction, because she was busy making my jugspun milkshake – I mean – nevermind. You see, one of my problems is, and has always been, that in my head, I find things hysterical – BUT – unfortunately for me, the other members of my audience do not live in my head. So I often just say what’s on my mind before I really stop to consider if others would actually find these things funny. There are two strategies that I use to de-emphasize the type of social gaffe that I had just committed – the first is called the subject change, and the second is the fast exit – the latter one being the one I used in this instance. I went back to my seat like a flash with my spun milkshake, then hung out with Zachary in chick-a-play, and then we got the hell out of there without interacting with anyone else.
In the past, when I would commit a faux-pas such as this, after it was all over I would say to myself, “one day I’ll learn – I’ll wise up and these things won’t happen anymore.” And now I am 37 years old with a child of my own. Clearly, I’m never going to learn.