Go Ask Daddy About Addressing Educators, Petroleum Markets and a the Distraction of Church Threads

photo credit: This isn't the droid you're looking for via photopin (license)
photo credit: This isn’t the droid you’re looking for via photopin (license)

I could have been a teacher.

GAD GRAPHICI wanted to be one. I coached middle school girls’ soccer for three seasons, and high school girls’ soccer for one. This happened after my journalism career came to an unceremonious end and I muddled around in jobs in call centers and hotels.

The plan: Get my teaching certificate, teach English, and become faculty and coach. Summers off, days spent teaching writing. I could think of worse ways to go. Before any of that could get off the ground, I got the call from Muzak, to write on-hold messages for businesses.

Yes, on-hold messages. But it was writing. And I wanted to write.

I still teach. My kids, sometimes. Myself, often. And a kid recently referred to me as his soccer teacher. Nothing wrong with that. Even after 12 years on a sideline, there’s much to teach, you know.

And there’s a ton to learn.

1. Why do you always call my teachers by their first names?

photo credit: Cool Bus via photopin (license)
photo credit: Cool Bus via photopin (license)

Fundamentally, I can’t do certain things, such as:

  • Order the little cheeseburger at Five Guys restaurants.
  • Eat a salad and call it a meal.
  • Call another grown-ass person Mr. or Mrs.

I’m also not down with attaching a prefix to a kids’ name. Mr. Samuel. What the hell? Sounds like a character in a kids’ book. No the good kind, either. Sammy gets into mischief. Mr. Samuel alphabetizes his mother’s spice rack on Sunday afternoons. Every Sunday afternoon.

I digress.

I call your teachers by their first name because it humanizes them. Heather and Errin, Phillip and Nellie. You might not think of a teacher as human. But they are.

When you see your home room teacher in the 7 Eleven buying beef jerky, you tend to want to call her Shannon and not Ms. Shellenbrogter.*

Plus, there’s mischief involved. We’d call our teachers by their first names all the time when I was a kid. Never within earshot. Larry, Dave, Karen. Except for Ms. Champagne.

She was the middle school science teacher who wore shawls and dangly earrings and brightly colored capris. I don’t remember her first name. But I remember the capris. Again, I digress.

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

2. How much is the land and sea sandwich at McDonald’s?

Just the land. And more land.
Just the land. And more land.

You forgot the air part, kids.

The gluttonous pile of fast food, The Land, Sea, Air Burger, comes straight off the McDonald’s Secret Menu. (James Bond ain’t got nothing on the red-headed clown, y’all.)

It contains patties repping land (beef), air (chicken, although how much air time does one get on average?) and sea (the filet-o-fish.)

Why read about this behemoth when I could experience it?

I set off for McDonald’s and requested the Land, Sea and Air Burger.


“Um, what?”

“It’s a McDouble with a chicken patty and a filet-o-fish stuck in it. You know,” I said, leaning in. “From the secret menu.”

“I’ll get a manager.”

I decided right then to give it 2 minutes. If no manager emerged by then, I’d hightail it before the law got here. Lucky for my sterling police record, Mr. Manager (doh!) showed up with a mop.

“We don’t do that,” he said, with a degree of consternation. You’d have thought I’d ordered a Whopper.

HackTheMenu.com lists a symphony of secret menu items, yours if you’re privy. Also for the clandestine taking: Neapolitan shake, McCrepe, and the Chicken McGriddle.

It’s tough to nail anyone down on this secret menu. Some sites tell you to make your own secret menu item, such as the Mc10:35. (At the end of breakfast and beginning of lunch, order an Egg McMuffin and McDouble.

(Then put it together yourself!)

No thanks. Put together my own secret menu item? That’s about as dumb as a self-check register.

Or a salad for dinner.

3. Why are gas prices so low?

photo credit: Low Cheap Gas Price Citgo Station, $1.99 1/2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube #Gas #Prices via photopin (license)
photo credit: Low Cheap Gas Price Citgo Station, $1.99 1/2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube #Gas #Prices via photopin (license)

There are several reasons I can get gas as cheap as $1.86 in South Carolina.

(Fill up a mile north in North Carolina, and it could cost a whopping $2.25!) One reason: More crude oil comes from Merica. As domestic crude production increases, we don’t buy as much of the expensive foreign stuff.

The Gulf of Mexico, where much domestic drilling takes place, has steered clear of disaster, natural and otherwise, lately. Yet, one study estimates that dropping gas prices leads to more highway deaths.

[Downside to cheap gas, from NPR]

4. Who was the oldest president?

photo credit: Hero via photopin (license)
photo credit: Hero via photopin (license)

We’ve had some old dudes as commander in chief, haven’t we?

Gerald Ford lived the longest: 93 (and 165 days). Ronald Reagan was a month and a half younger. If George H.W. Bush I makes it to Nov. 24, 2017, he’ll tie Ford.

If you’re talking age on the day of inauguration, Reagan is your man. Bernie Sanders, at age 75.2, would pass Reagan on the geezer chart if he becomes president.

Heck, Hillary Clinton would be the third oldest president on inauguration day, just ahead of William Harrison and Harry Truman.

5. Why do we have to dress up for church?

photo credit: Put on your Sunday best via photopin (license)
photo credit: Put on your Sunday best via photopin (license)

Sometimes, the kids on my soccer teams fight over who will take a goal kick or make a throw-in.

The eager kids play so much more into the trivial, flying out of bounds faster than they moved on the field. There’s some bickering, some whining and a whole lot of nonsense.

Church can be like this, too.

Rather than key on the message, we fixate on the messenger.

Instead of appreciating one’s attendance, we criticize clothing.

At a time we’re challenged to practice humility, we’re quick to keep score.

We have to dress up for church only because of the expectation we’ve established for ourselves. It’s easy and even a bit admirable to concentrate on wanting our best foot forward toward God.

My suspicion is God cares much more where that foot is and who it’s attached to, than how fancy the shoe is.

Just ask a teacher.

church quote


  1. 1jaded1 says:

    I used to love handing out candy at my mom’s when she was a.school employee.

    1. 1jaded1 says:

      People wear anything to church now…not swimwear…but close. Would Jesus care? Not the one to.answer that. Thank you.for the questions…and answers…and love the quote.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’ll want to look like you cared about it, you know? Like, dress like you’re going to Target and not Wal-mart, at least. (I realize this lets yoga pants into 74% of the conversation.)

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Wow, I wish my school had done that!

  2. ksbeth says:

    thank you for number one.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thank you for making no. 1 necessary.

  3. You weren’t alone in wanting to become a teacher as I have been there and done that, but still after seeing behind the curtain so to speak I had my fill. Just glad I am able to write, design and be home for my girls now. Happy Friday!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There were days as lunch dad that I couldn’t believe anyone could hold the position and not have the fast track to sainthood. I’m happy to teach on the soccer field still.

      Happy Friday to you too!

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    In retrospect Mate I don’t think I’d liked to have been a teacher. As a small boy I think all of mine had fought in WW 2 and were a little bit jumpy. They never saw the fun of a spitball hitting them in the back of their head. Or having groups of smelly boys straight out of Lord of the Flies, or similar running riot around the school yard. I know they liked using the cane though. Nope, I wanted to be a lion tamer, then a fireman and then when I was 10 a gynecologist. Don’t know where that job idea came from at all. I can only imagine that more highway deaths from low fuel prices is due to people racing around looking for cheaper fuel. As for McDonald’s, I just wish that I could get a burger that resembles the one on the advertising hoarding.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We drove one teacher in high school to the brink. It was horrible, looking back. why did we act that way?

      The best part of teaching kids is the thirst for knowledge, followed closely by rambunctiousness. They remind us what we once were.

      I think your dream job progression really ought to be a post, mate.

      You go in to buy a Big Mac on the order of Ryan Gosling and you open the wrapper to find Coach Daddy. That’s what that whole burger advert scam is like, amigo.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        I guess it was one way of getting back at our parents through a substitute, ie a teacher. Yes, their little minds are like big sponges waiting to be filled with knowledge, or how to make better spitballs. I’d probably hover around the last job and try not to post pictures. Naw Mate, the Coach Daddy would be the best burger.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It wouldn’t be short on bacon or cheese, that’s for sure. And it wouldn’t have much else to muddle it.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        You wouldn’t want to overload the CD burger with anything else Mate.

  5. claywatkins says:

    Like the part about the teacher – my kids were discussing my first name in class the other day (quietly) and one boldly asked if my name was Claytkn or Clay. I smiled and replied somewhat comically, ‘it’s Mister to you!’ Then I laughed and said my wife calls me Clay and mom called me Clayton when she was mad and they laughed and we got off subject for a little bit talking about what their parents call them when they stray off the path! Lately it seems being in church makes me feel like I am dressed up – even though I am hardly dressed up at all. Thanks for the reminders and you would’ve made a great English teacher. I’m sure of it. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s cool, Clay. I think when a kid knows the teacher’s first name, and hears about when they were a kid, it makes them that much easier to relate to, don’t you think?

      Thanks for the kind words, Clay. I need to email you about blogging stuff.

  6. kismaslife says:

    Happy Friday! So I must confess as a previous day care owner, I allowed the kids to call me Miss. Tiffany vs Mrs. Maytum because it made me feel so old! The parents called me Tiffany.
    To this day the babies I cared for army babies anymore but still refer to me as Miss Tiffany. Warms my heart!

    And that last quote is priceless! We stopped “dressing up” and go in jeans to mass. We just have a rule that you have to look like you put effort into attending and weren’t “forces”. Ha!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s funny – when we’re young, we want to be older. When we get old, we want our youth back!

      Miss Tiffany is something you’d be called here in the south. It’s not as bad a thing as I raved about.

      I think the Pontiff might have just said that on his trip here, if I’m not mistaken. Hot off the press!

  7. kismaslife says:

    Happy Friday! I was Miss Tiffany for ten years during my daycare days. The kids are all grown now but still call me that. Warms my heart!

    That last quote is priceless.

  8. Kathy G says:

    Yet another way we differ–I ONLY order the little burger at Five Guys. And the little fries.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We balance the universe, Kathy. Once, I even changed my order last-second because I just couldn’t get myself to tell the girl a grown-ass man wanted a little burger. Might as well make it a Happy Meal (with milk and an orange and a baby toy, not even Coke, cookies and a transformer.)

  9. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I never thought about the teacher’s names before; I guess I addressed them the way I wanted M to rather than have that turn into a “do as I say, not as I do” battle.

    I had Five Guys a few days ago…seems that I’m overdue for another visit.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We used to call the NBA refs by their first name too as kids, when we went to Nuggets games. Imagine if a ref could hear us from the nose bleeds, pleading “Give me a break, Hugh! He got all ball!”

      It’s been more than a year since I went to Five Guys. Marie’s allergic to peanuts, so Grace and I had dinner there the night we checked in for an out-of-town soccer tournament.

  10. vrein11 says:

    you made me smile again!! And I never get the small Fries anywhere!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s become an epidemic, Vicki! Small fries are for fascists.

      1. vrein11 says:


  11. stomperdad says:

    As a teacher, I refer to other teachers, even when talking to THAT teacher, as Mr. or Ms. lastnamehere. Sometimes, even outside of school. Gas prices are only low for you. Here in Canada, it’s $1.07/liter. Or 4.05/gallon. As for church, I always thought the dressing up part came from a hundred years ago when church was a social event as much as it was religious. Hence, for a social event one needs to dress to socialize – your Sunday best. Great questions! I’d love to try the Mc10:35. Can’t wait to ask for it!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yeah – I can see in your case it’s like a professional courtesy. Why is gas still expensive in Canada?

      We can blame the Victorians for making us dress up for church. I used to wear a coat and tie to church. Back in the day, they wore a coat and tie for everything, even baseball games.

      And remember Wally and the Beav? They wore a sports jacket and tie for birthday parties! How would that go over at Chuck E. Cheese?

      Let me know how it goes with the Mc10:35. Maybe a kinder, gentler McDonald’s exists in the land of pricey gas!

      1. stomperdad says:

        I wish I knew why gas was so expensive! There is plenty of oil being drilled here in Canada. I couldn’t imagine wearing a coat and tie absolutely everywhere. Good ol’ Wally and Beav. You would get some strange looks at Chuck E. Cheese! The trick to the Mc10:35 is getting to McDonald’s AT 10:35!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        … and finding one that doesn’t think you’re crazy for asking for it!

  12. Best sermon I ever heard: What do Worshippers Wear? And my band, Rescued Possessions, the underdogs in the popularity scale of our ageing population, led worship that morning. Man looks at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sermons are breeding ground for some stellar discussion. It just doesn’t always work out that way.

  13. pilch92 says:

    Nice post. I have never heard of making up your own menu item. I hate self checkouts too 🙂 I went to school to be a teacher too, but changed my mind. Our gas in western Massachusetts is still about $2.40/gallon.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Ellen. That’s why it’s a secret menu, I suppose. I would just like an employee discount for checking my own groceries, you know?

      Or at least a gas discount for you.

  14. tamaralikecamera says:

    Wow. I can totally order the little cheeseburger! That’s my jam! Otherwise I get too full. I can also eat a salad as lunch but only with eggs and bacon in there. And then I’m still hungry an hour later.

    I got gas for $1.87 in New Jersey. It was very surprising! Also, shame on McDonald’s! Starbucks totally makes secret menu items.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s a guy thing. Or maybe a me thing? Even if a little cheeseburger is enough, it’s emasculating to order it.

      Machisimo and such.

      I’m going to try and order the McKinley Mac. It’s a Big Mac with quarter pounder patties.

  15. Rorybore says:

    I love it when I walk into church and see our Pastor in jeans and a shirt. no tie. runners. I think it sends a great message. I like to dress up some Sundays… just because.. I like to dress up some Sundays. Or Tuesday. whatever. I definitely think God is more concerned with my PRESENCE, then how I am presented.
    Secret Menu eh? hhh….. does that mean I can get a moose meat burger here in Canada?

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.