Some changes for the worst

Posted 5/26/21

We recently stopped in at a McDonald’s on our way home from a soccer game, and, as we are wont to do, all we ordered was dessert. My son, all of 14, and burning through about 7,000 calories a day …

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Some changes for the worst


We recently stopped in at a McDonald’s on our way home from a soccer game, and, as we are wont to do, all we ordered was dessert. My son, all of 14, and burning through about 7,000 calories a day just staying alive, ordered a shake, half chocolate, half vanilla, and some fries. He’s done this, mind you, about 70 times in his life with no problems — doesn’t seem that complicated. But, for some reason, McDonald’s has a new rule, and they do not allow half-and-half shakes anymore.

So, accordingly, we will not be stopping at McDonald’s for dessert anymore.

I honestly don’t know if McDonald’s is going to notice any drop in revenue because of this policy. And there may actually be a very logical reason for it. But all I know is that it’s a simple procedure that makes life better for a handful of customers which they are no longer going to perform.

Sometimes businesses and entities and people do things for very bad reasons, or for no reason at all, that ultimately don’t make any sense. They are self-inflicted wounds. This seems like one of them.

My favorite sport seems to be going through a season of that right now. The entirety of major league baseball is having a sudden inability to, you know, play baseball. While the game/industry of baseball is spending great energy trying to make the game more entertaining, the sport of baseball is spending all its energy making the game more tedious. Nearly 2 out of every 5 at bats now ends in either a strikeout, a walk, or a home run. That means that for nearly 40% of a baseball game, which already tends to be slow-paced and an “acquired taste,” nothing is happening. Even worse, strikeouts and walks require more pitches, which means a slower game. Why would baseball commit this self-inflicted wound to itself? Because a physicist, a statistics guy, and a computer programmer got together and calculated that by increasing the “launch angle” of a hit, a batter can dramatically increase his likelihood of hitting a home run. Sadly, that also requires an alteration of the swing path, which tends to leave more holes in a swing, which leads to more strikeouts. The analytics nerds spoke, and the jocks changed.

“And don’t get me started on the kerfuffle between altitude sports TV -the home of the Nuggets and avalanche – and Comcast cable television.”

And the audience — especially young people — tuned out.

We’ve been watching the same thing happen over the last six months with regard to the schools. The classroom teachers took on the role of hero, completely reinventing American education in 48 hours last Spring, and doing ridiculously difficult work this year (take a look in the faculty parking lot this Friday — see how many of the people leaving look gratifyingly tired compared to how many look utterly emotionally spent). In the meantime, the teachers’ *unions* around the country have been engaged in a tone-deaf battle of wills with communities who want to see their children back in school. It’s been particularly egregious in systems with very strong unions and a high percentages of people of color and poverty. Finally last week, the head of the AFT issued a statement that she thought kids should be back in school in the Fall: hard to know if she had a change of heart, or if it was merely coincidence that her statement came the day after it was revealed that San Francisco schools — a bastion of union control — would be having in-person school the rest of the year, but on an extremely limited basis and with no attempt at actual instruction.

Teachers deserve to be celebrated — my colleagues have been rock stars! But, you can understand how, in some circles, the actions of the unions invalidate much of the good that has been wrought. Fortunately, Jeffco Schools has had no such dichotomy; that, in itself, should be commended.

By the way, just to keep you updated, it has now been NINE months since Microsoft suspended my account. I still have no explanation as to why, or idea how to fix it. If there were any viable option other than Microsoft, they, too, would have lost a customer for life.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Michael Alcorn,


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