Chickfila sauce is nectar of the gods. In case you didn’t already know that, like you’re new to this country or a recovering vegan or something. Manchild knows this, in fact all of the Schenanigans family is well aware of this coveted gold currency, and can never get enough of it.
Manchild has gone so far as to charmingly befriend one of the sweet grandma employees at our local Chickfila, and she has caught on to his vice. Now when Manchild and I go out for our monthly Wednesday date, Ms. Jean slips him a few extra packets of sauce to take home. She even gave me 4 to wrap up for him for Christmas last year, and put under the tree. He opened them joyfully Christmas morning. She has, in fact, become his dealer. Addiction knows no bounds, and this boy knows what he likes, and who has the power to give it to him!
Now I don’t think Manchild befriended Ms. Jean with the intention of using her for her position of power. I know he genuinely enjoys her conversation and attention. Today he made a point of getting out of his seat to show her his cowboy boots, and tell her his age. He likes to wave to her as she goes by doing her job, and she waves back happily at her adoring friend. It’s a mutual admiration.
But it doesn’t hurt that he is super cute, and she can’t stop herself from slipping him a little extra product on the side. By the time we pranced out into the parking lot today, Manchild had an ice cream cone in one hand, and a fresh, clean paper sack with 8 packets of Chickfila sauce in the other. He world was spinning right on schedule!
Now to be clear, you can’t just walk up to the utensils and ketchup bar at your average Chickfila and help yourself to the Chickfila sauce. Nuh-uh. It must be specifically asked for by name. Or earned, as in Manchild’s case. They keep it behind the counter because they know it’s the good stuff, and it’s embarrassing to ask for high quantities of the stuff. We ask for 3 packets per person, just to be on the safe side, and no one ever uses ketchup anymore. Unheard of with this gang. I’ve even toyed with buying the plastic tub of Chickfila sauce that they sell for the catering trays.
But today Manchild only used 2 of his 3 meal time sauces (that included dipping his fruit in it) and squirreled the spare one away. Ms. Jean had heard that he’d run out of the packets from Christmas, and because some of them were used up by sharing with his sister, returned to our table with one packet “for each finger on your hand”. After a quick count of his digits, Manchild was beaming with glee at the concept of returning home with 5 delicious packets, plus the one he kept from his meal. That made 6. When Ms. Jean offered him a paper bag to carry them all home in (instead of the fry carton we were gonna classily upcycle as we left), she slipped another 2 packs in the bag, telling him he now had one pack for each day of the WEEK! She didn’t know about the one he was saving from this meal. This now brings us to 8.
Feeling proud at his stockpiling success, and fried food happy, Manchild paused more than once to chat with older women at their tables as we were leaving the restaurant. He told them his age (“four and a half and three quarters”), and they complimented him on his ice cream cone and how big he was (gonna be 5 in March). Everyone beaming as he charmed all the ladies in his path. This kid…
Once he got home, he methodically arranged his goodies in a row in the lowest part of the fridge. Come dinner time, his sister was throwing a fit that she missed out on Chickfila by being in school. Power wielding Manchild bought her silence by offering to give her a packet of Chickfila sauce to use on her hotdog tonight, as he was already opening one for himself. Well, that fixed her little red wagon, and she was whistling a different tune by the time dinner started. Clearly, he who holds the sauce, holds the power. Why didn’t I think of that?! He’s got a leverage over her now that he’s never had before.
I did have to think fast as Manchild selected his 4 o’clock snack, and decided a plain packet of Chickfila sauce would do nicely. Nothing like plain old sauce coated fingers to hit the spot, as you watch Rescue Bots and contemplate the plans of Optimus Prime. “No” I told him. I had no real reason why eating a packet of sauce was somehow not okay if there weren’t approved bites of food facilitating it’s consumption, but it just wasn’t. Thankfully, this was one of those rare parenting moments when no one calls your bluff. They assume there is justified, proveable, rock solid logic behind this sauce packet rule, and drop the topic like it’s your best stemware. Whew. I had no idea where this was going, should my decree have been challenged.
So, I figure with the help of a few ketchup based meals, and the trusty memory of a 4 and a half and three quarters year old boy, the remaining 6 packets will last Manchild until the next lunch date in February. But if I see Manchild start saving his allowance for a pager, and hanging his cowboy boots over power lines outside our house, I’ll know we’ve run dry and a meeting with his dealer is about to go down. Don’t forget the goods, Ms. Jean!
She’s friends with him now. Because everyone knows, you take care of the one who takes care of you!