All my Life Skills, I Learned at McDonalds

“Seriously?” I said, looking at the disheveled pickles and condiments sliding off the cold hamburger hiding beneath the smashed bun. I envisioned the creator looking out the drive-thru window under the golden arches, saying to herself, Oh, it’s her. I hate her. Wait ‘til she gets this! It wasn’t the first time I received a less-than-stellar product from a fast-food establishment, but it was the first time, this seemed… deliberate.

Like many teenagers from an era before dating apps and TikTok, my fist job was at the local McDonald’s—a job that thankfully got me through the teenage years and college. While my career took me down a path that drifted away from building Big Macs and deep-sea breaded fillets, if I lined up all the jobs I have held in life, the one that taught me all necessary life skills was…

McDonald’s.

Here are the top 5 life skills I learned, working at a fast-food restaurant…

5)           Respect your boss – Just as you’re taught to respect your elders, the same goes for the person who hired or manages you. Truth is, if you’re not clicking with your boss, it’s time to find a new job. And it’s OK to know when it’s not working. We spend too much time at our jobs to not like the people we work with.

4)           Don’t be an a**hole­­­­ – While this sounds simple, it’s probably the hardest rule to follow on a daily basis, and easy to forget when faced with someone who is testing our nerves. Take the highroad, even when that someone is being a jerk. We don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or what they’re dealing with in their own lives. Acting like an a**hole is the one thing we don’t need to pay forward. Just, don’t.

3)           Enjoy the Big Mac special sauce – Life is what we make it. While we have no control with what is thrown at us, we can control our reaction and attitude. Have you ever encountered that cashier who genuinely seems to love her job? Her job and boss may be spectacular, but it’s more likely that she simply approaches her job with a smile and a fresh attitude each day. There is good in every job, we just need to see it and embrace it.

2)           Show up. This should go without saying, but you’ll be ten miles ahead of the other guy if you just show up for everything in life­­—physically and mentally. That includes returning messages in a timely manner and staying off your damn phone when you should be working. Yeah, I said that.  

1)           Build better burgers – Take pride in whatever you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating, teaching, or providing a service. If you take pride in what you do in the workplace, it tends to carry over in everything else in life. And will benefit you in endless ways.

And to the person who served me that flat deranged hamburger, I can only say that I hope your day got better. I know mine did 🙂    

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

The Feminist Slant—What Conservatives do Right

In the avalanche of news stories coming at us ad nauseam, one article in particular stood out from the others. Not because it tackled a polarizing topic, but because it was…not the norm.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett struck a surprising blow against those seeking to defy COVID vaccine mandates on Thursday when she dismissed a challenge to a college’s mandate without comment.

Newsweek – 8/3/2021

This bit of news really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone keeping tabs on this traditional conservative appointed by former President Donald Trump to serve on the Supreme Court. And it wasn’t the first indication that she may not bend as far right as the Moral Majority would like from a lifelong conservative.  

Barrett is the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court and was caught in the whirlwind of controversy, panic, and outrage from many liberals when she was nominated to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a popular figurehead who embraced liberal politics and was respected by many on both sides of the political aisle. Put on the fast-track, Barrett passed the scrutiny of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and began her service on the Supreme Court in October 2020.  

While the Political Left bemoaned Barrett’s entry as the newest member of the Supreme Court, this feminist had a gut feeling that behind the curtain shielding this self-described conservative, hid a woman who wasn’t just another cookie-cutter traditionalist. Barrett is no slouch in the educational arena, where she was a Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, and the ability to balance work, education, and parenting, has given this woman the ability to truly see and understand the world beyond her front lawn—all while climbing the right side of the political ladder.

Giving credence to the ideology of a moderate conservative, just eight months into her job, Barrett sided with her liberal associates when it came time for the Supreme Court to vote on the upholding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While many conservatives were disappointed in her actions, it probably should not have come as a surprise. She is not the first Supreme Court Justice to relax her conservative views once comfortably seated in a political position that offers lifelong employment without the downside of having to appease voters. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, nominated by former President George Bush, has also voted on the side of liberal politics on several occasions, and, like Barrett, also voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

While Barrett may have a smidgeon of liberal leanings, it would be unrealistic to believe that she will suddenly step across the political line drawn with a permanent marker by far too many politicians to join her liberal constituents on most issues, but it is refreshing to know that she is not a rubber-stamping politician who cannot entertain free thought beyond the spectrum of her political base. The world of Law deserves a balance of beliefs and people who are not afraid to express free thought and the occasional belief that is unpopular.

This feminist applauds the actions of conservatives who aren’t afraid to occasionally lean a little left. Just as those who traditionally follow liberal thought shouldn’t automatically discount the other side. Listening to the other side is good for the soul and good for our country.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and author of Chasing North Star. Keep up with her at https://heidimccrary.net/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

What Makes a GOOD Movie BAD?

Movie Review – The Woman in the Window. Now on Netflix

The other day, a friend of mine asked me for my thoughts on “The Woman in the Window,” a Netflix-produced drama starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Julianne Moore. This mystery isn’t shy about copying the stylings of the late Alfred Hitchcock, and with its claustrophobic, one-room setting, viewers cannot help but draw comparisons to the 1954 “Rear Window.”  

Amy Adams portrays a woman struggling with agoraphobia, and while hiding away in her apartment, she is sure she has witnessed a murder across the street in a neighbor’s apartment. But did she?   

Adams reaches beyond the Romcom mechanics needed for many formula movies and instead, presents us with a woman that is interesting and flawed. The mystery intensifies as new characters are introduced, and we’re left wondering who is fooling us.

For the most part, “The Woman in the Window” is the type of movie that is an excellent Character Study, where nothing is black and white, and no one is simply good or bad. A great movie can introduce you to a character that seems one way, only to peel away at layers until we see the person in a new light. The best stories are grimy, bumpy, and messy­­–forcing us to question what is unfolding on the screen.

Where “The Woman in the Window” fails, is the end. All too often, strong storylines fizzle. Thoughtful dialogue is replaced with the standard fare of psycho attacks and eye-rolling actions that have you yelling, “Just go outside!” Which, of course, no one hears. The result is a good movie that ends on a sour note. And another good movie gone bad.             

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

CANCEL CULTURE…

Are we redefining history or erasing it?

“History is written by the victors.” Attributed often to Winston Churchill, this quote summarizes how history is often written, especially when it comes to politics and world affairs. One only has to look at the Tulsa Race Massacre­­—a horrifying piece of history that involved mobs of whites attacking the black residents of Tulsa Oklahoma in 1921, killing hundreds in the process and burning the business district to the ground. This attack is attributed to being the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. Yet, it wasn’t until only recently that we collectively were made aware of this ugly piece of history.

Locally, the announcement of the removal of the Fountain of the Pioneers from Bronson Park spurred anger and heated debates from both sides. Designed in 1937, the fountain featured an armed white man standing before a kneeling American Indian, and was hailed by many as a modern work of art, even gathering critical acclaim from Frank Lloyd Wright. But more recently, some saw the fountain as racist and memorializing genocide. In 2018, the City of Kalamazoo removed the fountain to the dismay and disappointment of many who viewed the decision as erasing history and catering to a select few.   

Where is the thin line between cultural evolution and erasing history, and is there a compromise? We need to acknowledge that those who have ancestors in America who have suffered at the hands of others, deserve to walk through a public park without having to explain to their children, the statues and monuments celebrating the demise of their ancestors and culture. How do we learn from history if we are only reading the whitewashed version. Can we still acknowledge these pieces of historical art without insulting differing cultures?

Of course, we can.

Moving questionable historical pieces out of public parks, and into museums and historical grounds, where the piece can be depicted along with proper data and intellectual content, is a good start.

The literary world is also dealing with Cancel Culture. One book under the spotlight is the epic novel, “Gone with the Wind,” with many calling for the book to be pulled from libraries, and the movie pulled from viewership. Actress Whoopie Goldberg argued that Americans should be careful about retracting part of our history and instead suggested that “Gone with the Wind” could feature a disclaimer at the beginning of the film. Goldberg is absolutely correct. Censorship is wrong on any level. Historical literature and films can and should remain with proper context. And rightly so, HBO Max has reportedly said that it will resume airing “Gone with the Wind” along with context surrounding its content.

In another positive move, the family of Dr. Suess stopped future publications of several Dr. Suess books deemed racist. It is important to note that these books are not banned. They are simply not printing future editions. It was the right decision.

Cancel Culture isn’t about erasing history, it’s about redefining how we view it. And it’s damn time children learned of the Tulsa Race Massacre from history books.  

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor