I typically steer clear of fast food restaurants, so when I find myself in line for a hamburger and fries, the last thing I want to look up and see is the atrocious calorie count staring me in the face. If I’ve made it into a McDonald’s or whatnot, there’s a good chance that it’s because I’m on a road trip, and one of the best parts of road tripping in my book is cruising through a fast food joint and ordering whatever I want. Calories shmalories, I tell myself — until I look up and see all those shmalories on the menu and reconsider whether I really will have fries with that shake. For me, in other words, menu labeling ruins my good time because I’m apparently its prime audience: a person who actively reconsiders an order upon seeing calorie counts.
Partly because of folks like me (women?), mandatory menu labeling is part of the Affordable Care Act that larger restaurant chains will have to implement in 2014. Starbucks is getting ahead of the game with its announcement that it will start offering calorie counts next to all of its beverages beginning Tuesday, and maybe I can now finally convince my boyfriend that his beloved white chocolate mocha is NOT a wise choice. But for the broader population, does menu labeling make a public health difference? If people are frequenting fast food/beverage spots to begin with, does offering them the nutritional info upfront persuade them to sub out a salad for those fries?
TIME magazine’s Alexandra Sifferlin reports that the research has been mixed: “Studies do show that people tend to underestimate the amount of calories they consume, especially while eating out. Last month, researchers reported in BMJ that diners who frequented fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts, thought they consumed far fewer calories than they actually did; adults and kids underestimated the caloric content of their meals by 175 calories, while adolescents were off by 259 calories.“
Before I begin, let me assure you no toddler was harmed in any way. This isn’t one of those kinds of story.
In the way-too-early morning (aka before noon) we packed up Lucas, our 3.5-year-old son, got me coffee and all headed off to a skateboarding park. It was rented out for us, all to our own. You may now be catching faint whiffs of an oncoming bad idea. Bingo.
Yes indeed, the first ramp I encountered had me on my boney, task-chair ass faster than a tap dancer on ice in an earthquake.
Then the whirring sound of an overturned board’s wheels spinning frantically at the air.
I was already laughing before my mind even began the search and rescue activities of hauling the pile of my body off the floor. I turned my hot-pink-helmeted head and saw my lad looking at me in worried wonder. It struck me, all six crumpled feet of me, as I looked up, how rare this vantage point had become these days: my standing son looking down on me; me looking up at him.
I turned up the volume on my laughter and smiled bigger as added reassurance that the sounds I was making weren’t reckless sobbing. “Daddy?” he began.
“Dat was a bad idea.”
My laughter instantly went from mildly aerobic to extremely acrobatic. His eyes widened with an “uh oh, he’s lost it” look and his lips were drawn back in a wary Ermagerd! grimace.
I reassembled myself into a standing position and tried to kick my board back upright but instead sent it skidding a few feet away in a clatter. What would become my signature move. Beginners luck doesn’t really apply much to being cool, it turns out.
Lucas was looking at me slightly sideways for a while after that. I kept half expecting him to tilt his head like a dog that has encountered something so dumb even it needs to attempt to shake some understanding from the vending machine of its brain.
We skated on together.
He became totally absorbed. Driven. I didn’t get a lot of pics of him with a thrilled and bubbling face, but his almost flinty eyes told the story of a deep intensity as he hunched his shoulders for better aerodynamics and flapped his skinny leg in determined, propelling kicks. Not just living in the moment, but wrestling it like a croc.
“Wet’s go!” he would order, his hell-bent motivation knocking the usual “Daddy” off the end.
And we skated on together.
So. I tried another ramp and, as sure as math, turned myself three-quarters between upside down and inside out.
Now, getting used to seeing his dad pinwheeling through the air, he looked at me with eyebrows raised by knowing amusement.
“Dat was a anudder
I agreed with him once my wind-knocked lungs could pull in air again and then deflate with more laughter. I think he may have snort-chuckled. But it may have just been my own gasping sounds mixed into moment. I got up and flexed all joints to make sure my body would still allow it.
And we skated on and on together. And I kept having bad ideas. And we kept laughing and skating on.
After we finally convinced the little perpetual skating machine that our time was up and that daddies don’t walk so well ever again after about eight or so really bad ideas, we piled in the car and headed home.
My son was quiet. Still. Already lost in the nostalgia of a memory we had just made. I watched him in the rearview mirror, still making my memory with him.
It was the best bad idea.
–Andy & Lucas
This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai, makers of rad cars and providers of epic memories.
Facebook can suck. Really. That’s a blunt statement, but regardless of the medium, it’s the content that makes up in publication. In Facebook’s case, it’s a great medium, but sometimes it has some horrible content. Only the users are to blame. Fortunately, I’m here to help you enhance your content output so you can develop some truly engaging status ideas to help you connect better with those on your social network.
If you check your email a lot on your iPhone like I do, you now have some awesome choices as to which iOS mail client you use. Quite frankly, Apple’s default iOS Mail client can’t compare to the recently released third-party mobile apps, including Mail Pilot, Mailbox, Cloze and my favorite, the one trick pony Triage. If you want to actually do something with your emails, and get the functionality of many desktop mail clients, then you might want to check out the recently released Dispatch mail app for the iPhone.
Read full post: Dispatch Is Your Action-Based Email Client for the iPhone
FaveBucket which allows you to not only collect and organize your links in one place, it also gives you options on how to share it with your friends online. FaveBucket has a somewhat Pinterest-inspired layout, with a grid of boxes featuring all of your latest links. It’s a slick and easy-to-use service that is just getting started.
Being at the right place at the right time is often squarely tied to luck. While it’s true that you can’t be everywhere, it is also true that nurturing your professional relationships could help you hear the knock when opportunity comes calling. The little things done right there can help to foster career growth. We tend to sometimes use social media too casually. Tuned just right, it is a minimal effort tool for managing our relationships en masse.