Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"I Like The Toy."

I talked with my brother for just a few minutes today. He is a good kid, let me just say once again. (Forever a kid in my book, but forever a good one.)

My brother is famous in our family for his car chats. He calls any one of us while he is in the car. If it's a long ride, we settle in for a nice long chat while he drives from Jacksonville to Orlando. But he also calls when he is commuting to work, driving to a late night party, heading home from an early morning rehearsal, or in today's case, going through the drive-thru.

We talked about a few things on his mind, but mostly we talked about the things on mine. He encouraged me in my day with the boys, he encouraged me to get busy on a book proposal he believes in, he told me about the similarities he sees between himself and Tucker, and suddenly he said, "Hold on one second..."

In that slightly distant phone-away-from-the-mouth voice, I heard him say, "Hey, yeah, I'd like a Cheeseburger Happy Meal."

Did he just order a Happy Meal?

Ever looking out for my brother and also a good deal, I wanted to tell him about the slightly less expensive option: The All American Meal. All the same menu options, but a little less cash since there's no toy in the bag. I tried to get his attention before he finished ordering.

"Hey! Wait! Can I tell you something?"

He was still talking to the drive-thru attendant. "Girl or boy toy? I'd like the boy one."

Bummer. I didn't say it in time. He couldn't hear me.

"Hi. I'm back. I bet you wanted to tell me about the All American Meal."

Or maybe he did.

"Yeah. It's the same meal, without the toy."

"But I like the toy."

"You like the toy?"

"Yep. I do."

After two more interruptions as he paid for his Happy Meal and then received it, he told me why he likes it. Among other titles in theme park entertainment, he is a trainer in the entertainment division of Walt Disney World, and he specializes in training his fellow performers to sharpen and polish their skills on stage. One night, on a whim at the end of rehearsal, he said, "And tonight's MVP, the Most Valuable Performer, and the winner of a Happy Meal Toy is...."

And thus began a tradition. It turns out that the students who study underneath him are highly motivated... by Happy Meal Toys. They keep track of who has most, who has least, and how to earn more. And my brother keeps them hopping, urging them to 'collect them all.'

That's good leadership right there. Effeftive teaching, and brilliant leadership.

With a toy included.


Polly said...

I don't know whether to say "that's my boy," or "that's my girl."

So I'll just say this: I am head-over-heels crazy about both of you.

my3boys said...

Seriously, Tricia. You don't let your kids have the toy? I mean, yes, they are junk. I usually throw them away or put them in the Goodwill box. But I'm so appalled by the fact that I'm letting them eat this junk, that I feel like the cheesy toy is the Happy Meal's most redeeming quality!

p.s. Your family is so dang cute!

Kerri said...

Turning junk into treasure - at least in someone's mind - is great leadership, I admit. If only I'd known - I could have sent him enough free McTreasure to keep his team motivated for years.

I don't know if it's my own lack of stellar leadership skills or having to be the one tripping over the mounds of Happy Meal toys that lessens their value in my mind. Maybe some of both. Either way: Go Rob!

Tricia said...

Oh, I DO let my children have the toy. (It's usually the bribe to get them to leave the playground.)

(And I never intended to need to bribe them. But that's another topic.)

I was just a little surprised to hear my 28-year-old brother ask for one.

Polly said...

He is 27. (I beat you to it, Rob.)

Tricia said...

No, he's 28.

Because I'm going to be 30 in July, and we are nearing his birthday in May, when he inches dangerously close to being my same age, which is 29.

Wait. That means he's 27.

That's why you're the mom.