I insist

If you really want the best in life, you have to demand it. You have to insist. People always get timid and make these faces with worried expressions, and they start whining, saying stuff like, “Well … you see … it’s … it’s just that … it’s just that I don’t want to come across as pushy. I don’t want to impose.” And I’m glad that a lot of people are like this, because it leaves more room for people like me to make our demands even louder, to start insisting stronger than ever. And those other people’s worried expressions will crinkle up even more, because they really don’t like to impose, but they don’t like being imposed upon either, nobody does, but being too much of a wimp to do anything about it, they’ll cave just to get you off of their backs.

You’re not going to go anywhere in life without insisting. Whenever I go out to eat, I order my meal like a normal person. But when I see the waiter coming over with my meal, I automatically start shaking my head in disappointment, before I even get a chance to see the dish. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good dish. Everything can be better. Every chef could take just a little bit more time preparing every plate to a higher standard. And that’s what I want. I want the head chef to personally remake me my meal better than ever. Much better. And the chef’s not going to do that unless you reject the first attempt. Unless you mean business. Unless you insist.

I’m not even just talking about sit-down restaurants. I’m talking about any place you can get food. Fast food places. McDonald’s. I’ll order a Big Mac meal and when the cashier hands me the bag, I don’t step to the side, even if there’s a long line of people behind me. Even if the person who is in line behind me automatically starts ordering, assumes that I’m done, just because I have my food. I hold my hand up to that person without even acknowledging them. I tell them to wait a second. I insist.

And then in front of the cashier I start going through the bag of food. I take out the Big Mac, the fries, all of the napkins. Everything that’s inside the bag. And then I open up the Big Mac box. I take the top bun off. I start running my finger through the shredded lettuce, poking around at everything inside. Then I do the same thing with the middle bun. I turn the fry box upside town and start going through all of the fries. I even take the lid off of the Coke and spin my fingers around once or twice.

“Not so fast,” I tell the cashier. At this point, the people behind me switch to other lines, because they know I mean business. And I like it better this way. I hate feeling rushed. The cashier asks me what the problem is. In all honesty, there’s probably nothing wrong. But throughout my whole life, everybody’s always told me that there’s always room for improvement. And when I spend money somewhere, I like to think I’m getting the very best for my dollar. I like to imagine that I’m insisting on the best.

So I complain that the burger isn’t hot enough, that the lettuce isn’t crisp enough, that they sauce isn’t secret enough. I point at the fries. There are usually at least one or two burnt little pieces of potato in there somewhere. If there aren’t, I’ll complain that the fries look too greasy. Or there’s not enough salt. And this Coke, when was the last time the syrup’s been changed? Today? Really? Well did they clean out the syrup hose or did they just change the bag of syrup? What do you mean you don’t know?

And when they finally redo my meal, I insist that they put those “made fresh” stickers on all of my items, indicating to me, to the whole world, that I’m getting the very freshest, that I’ve demanded quality. If they don’t put that sticker on, I make them start all over again. Because, how do I know they didn’t just repackage the same sandwich? Of course they didn’t, my dissection was so thorough they wouldn’t have been able to. But that’s what I’ll say.

Car washes are the best. First of all, I refuse to get out of the car when it goes through the machine. I remember when I was a little kid, you always got to stay in the car. But lately I feel like they always make you get out. So I insist on staying in. Usually nobody’s up for an argument, so they just say whatever and let me go through. It’s so cool. The stuff sprays out onto the windows. And then the big strips of cleaning stuff start going up and down on the windshield. It’s exciting.

And then afterwards those guys at the end start polishing the whole thing down with towels. And then when they finish they stand around with their hands out for a tip. And that’s when I start insisting. I insist that the machine isn’t running properly, that my car usually comes out much cleaner. I start demanding to speak to the manager, to see the machine’s permits, asking when the last time this whole place has been serviced. I always get another run through. Every time. These guys don’t want you hanging around complaining all day, insisting. They’ve got a long line of cars waiting to go through. You just insist long enough and you get another ride. It’s great.

I like to go in the backseat this time and pretend like I’m prisoner on a pirate ship, and there’s a storm, but I have this plan to take control of the ship while the crew is busy battling the storm, and then right as the car emerges from the carwash, I like to fight my way to the driver’s seat and pretend like I steered the pirate ship straight out of the storm. And I get out of the car and I imagine that all of the people wiping down the car are the pirates, and that they’ve accepted me as their new captain, and I start insisting that they check for barnacles under the hood. And they look at me funny, because it’s really just an imaginary story, all in my head, but whatever, I don’t care if anybody’s looking at me funny, I’m having a great time, this pirate ship scenario is so much fun, and I’m serious here, pop open the hood and scrub. I’m serious here matey. I insist.

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