Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about that new fast-food joint proposed for their humble hamlet.
MOM CULTURE: Pop, I think you need to go and apologize to Grace.
POP CULTURE: Grace who?
MOM: Our neighbor I always chat with at the school bus.
POP: I don’t even know her. Why am I apologizing?
MOM: You love eating Friday’s Fries.
POP: Yeah. And proud to be a card-carrying Frequent Fryer. So?
MOM: They’re talking about putting in a new Friday’s Fries across from the Tesla dealership.
POP: Cool. Closer to home. I’m first on line opening day to get my Frequent Fryer card punched.
MOM: Not so fast. My friend, Grace, is leading a neighborhood protest to prevent it from going there.
POP: Too down-market for the Tesla crowd?
POP: Well, that’s her right. This is America. Land of the free, home of the protest.
MOM: They’re saying Friday’s Fries is kind of a magnet for the sordid sort of snakes in the grass they don’t want slithering about our streets.
POP: It’s a magnet for me, too. What does that make me—Jake the Snake?
MOM: I guess, to them, you’re an undesirable, dear. My condolences. I’m sure you don’t mean anything by it. Sometimes these unfortunate circumstances happen when you least expect it. I told you not to overdo the Friday’s Fries. Now you’re paying the price.
POP: So, this Grace is calling me an undesirable? Wow. If word gets out, they could suspend my pension. We’ll be ruined!
MOM: They have teens in their crosshairs, too.
POP: Hey, I’m in good company then. Being demonized right along with the sturdy and studly young ‘uns. Suddenly I feel like a new man!
MOM: They don’t want teenagers hanging out there, either.
POP: Teens don’t need to eat?
MOM: It’s their driving habits they’re worried about.
POP: I get that, too. Because every adult on the road drives flawlessly.
MOM: This is not a joke. I understand their concern.
POP: About me? An unassuming, law-abiding retiree and Rotarian who happens to like French fries?
MOM: Well, you never know if one of those suspicious customers who infiltrate Friday’s Fries might be a bad hombre you accidentally squirt ketchup on at the condiments station. I’m afraid for your safety.
POP: Good point. I might leave home to get a bag of Friday’s Fries and—you never know—come back home as the newly tattooed made member of a gnarly street gang.
MOM: Now you’re getting it. Grace and her posse really are trying to help you keep on the straight and narrow by preventing Friday’s Fries from becoming a mecca for marauding menaces manufacturing mayhem.
POP: Aha! Now I capiche. I need to apologize to Grace to convince her I am not really a bad person. I just have a Friday’s Fries addiction and need to go cold turkey at Boston Market.
MOM: Yes! Why don’t you go over there right now, with a cup of mea culpa, ask for her forgiveness, and promise her you’ll give up Friday’s Fries for the good of our community and the civilized world.
POP: I’ll do it right now. Far be it from me to have Princess Grace mistake me as part of the notorious Friday’s Fries criminal element. What would my descendants think, reading that epitaph on my tombstone? It would disgrace our progeny for millennia to come!
MOM: Thank you, dear.
POP: Don’t thank me. Thank your bus stop buddy. After all, there but for the grace of Grace, go I.
Bruce Apar is a writer, actor, consultant, and community volunteer. He can be reached at email@example.com; 914-275-6887.