Ivan the Terrible

Went to McDonald’s for a late breakfast but decided to have a smoke
before entering. As I stood by the door a young Hispanic mother exited.
She was laden with her large carry-out order and also had a young boy
in tow. The kid, about two years old, was having a bit of a crisis. He
was crying and protesting and balking at leaving without a toy car he’d
expected to receive and, not only that, but someone had given him a
helium-filled baloon that became stuck in the doorway. The baloon was
still inside the store, the kid was in the foyer still holding the
ribbon that was now clenched in the door frame and the mother was
already outside. I tried to help by holding the outside door but the
mother said “No” and attempted to apply the old school (and what I
consider cruel) technique of feigning abandonment: “OK. I’m leaving
without you.” reverse-psychology that the kid wasn’t buying for an
instant. A black female McDonald’s employee noticed the balloon
situation and came out to help. She, in turn, held the outer door open
for the kid but still to no avail. The mother called him several times
by a name that I at first couldn’t quite make out and told him he had
enough (toy) cars at home, etc. She finally gripped him firmly by the
arm and dragged him out of the foyer. While she placed her carry-out
burden in her car she momentarily let go the boy who then dodged away
into the busy parking lot driveway. At that point he accidently let
loose of the ribbon attached to the balloon. The balloon raced away
between the cars queued in the drive-thru and rose swiftly heavenward.
The boy stood there in the traffic lane jumping up and down and
screaming bloody murder as he watched his new ballon slip away. His
mother called him repeatedly and I finally made out his name: “Ivan!”
she yelled, “Ivan!”

I chuckled at that, in my mind I’d instantly “connected the dots”
between “The Terrible Twos” and “Ivan the Terrible” and wondered if
that’s how the Russian Czar got his name.

Not only did he not get the toy car he so badly wanted but he lost his
balloon to boot. And how was your day?

About The Twentieth Man

Age 69
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