“There’s an age limit on fun.”
Why I will not return to the McDonald’s PlayPlace.
“There’s an age limit on fun.”
This may not be what Lion, the assistant manager of the East Side McDonald’s, said to me, but this is what I heard Lion say.
To say that I was surprised by his mandate — that no children over the age of 12 are permitted to recreate within the tubing and pipeways of the McDonald’s PlayPlace megaplex — would not only be an understatement. It would be an insult to my character.
I consider myself an avid student of posted regulations, statutes, and ordinances. I hold hallow the etiquette of the land. I render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. If a restriction on age had, in fact, been enacted at the East Side McDonald’s PlayPlace, I would have been aware and I would have taken heed. Among the dissidents, I count myself not.
Perplexed, I clambered down from my palace of pleasure to parley with Lion, taking note of my condition as I descended. My shoes were off. My diaper was empty. I had not, to the extent of my understanding, been rough housing. Yes, I was flushed, sticky, and winded, but, in large part due to the delightful 10-piece nugget and orange drink with light ice I had late consumed, I was smiling and fully fueled for more play. Wherein lay my crime?
In the spirit of transparency and deepened contextuality, I will include the following physical data to prove that I am of appropriate size and density for the PlayPlace — a space which publicly advertises and enforces a weight policy for its clientele:
- 1.778 meters in height
- 72.5 kilograms in mass
- 38 heartbeats per minute, resting
- A recent development: as a result of my devotion to fitness, a ninth and tenth abdominal muscle have formed from the excess fibers of the original eight (the eight having maximized their strength and bulge capacities)
I am a man of adequate proportions, typical by many measures and remarkable by others. I am not, however, large. My size should not preclude me the right to rollick in this, the holy grail of gymnasiums, beside like-sized youths (and in many instances, beside youths of magnitude, a consequence of their patronage of the East Side McDonald’s between customary mealtimes).
What, then, is my offense? It is not my stature. It is not my attire. Nary a morsel of my meal accompanied me to the structure. The only aspect of my character that differentiates me from they is that I have passed 38 annae as of this past May the 6th, and I wear each year in my eyes.
Suddenly, I was the junior senator from Vermont — too old and eccentric to find acceptance in a world that worships youth and conformity. The revelation bedewed my 38-year-old eyes.
As I approached Lion, head bowed, as ready as I could be made to hear my crimes and be read my sentence, I reflected on this injustice. Age is but an integer. Its value measures neither the spirit of one’s soul nor their aptitude for ball pit hide-and-go-seek.
I decided in that moment that I would not be returning to the East Side McDonald’s PlayPlace to ever again endure the discrimination of a man named Lion. And, that very evening, I would be enjoying Helen Mirren’s spellbinding performance in The Queen (2006).