Column: Fruits, vegetables and hamburgers

Malik Harvey, Staff Writer

To help keep my head above the overflow of bills I have, I engage in a few money-making ventures: I resell shoes and clothes, write columns for your enjoyment and deliver food through Uber Eats. 

Delivering food is the job I enjoy the least, but as a wise man (or woman) once said, “You got to do what you got to do.”

Besides, delivering food has provided me with some entertaining stories along the way. 

Every delivery driver (and civilian) knows that McDonald’s drive-through lines are like waiting to get on a roller coaster at Cedar Point – your best option is to get your steps in for the day and go inside to pick up an order.

As I walked toward the door, I noticed an older gentleman approaching the door at about the same pace.

He was an inch or two taller than me (5’7″ or so), bald, with a peppered mustache and a slim physique; however old he was, it was clear he took pretty good care of himself.

His choice of clothing was casual (t-shirt, blue jeans and gym shoes), but the style and density of this gentleman’s sunglasses reminded me of those worn by “Men in Black” agents. With the addition of the futuristic-style headphones he wore, it led me to think this could be the FBI agent who keeps tabs on my cellular activity, approaching me about my Google search history.

I quickly dismissed this thought under the pretense that it’s improbable someone around my dad’s age could work a computer that well. I thought it would be kind to open the door for him, FBI agent or not.  

As he got near he said, “How’s it going, young man?”

“Not too bad, sir,” I replied. “How about you?”

“Everything is everything,” he responded.

This kind of response signaled he had to have spent his formative years during the era of Al Green, the “Good Times” and “Shaft.”  No way this is the guy keeping track of my data. 

“I’m trying to do my best to change this world we live in,” he said.

I gave him a fist bump and said, “Hey, I’m glad to hear I got a brotha’ in the struggle.”

Before the conversation could continue, I peeled off to head toward the bathroom. As I was walking into the bathroom I started thinking that instead of meeting my FBI agent, I may have just met Grand Rapids’ very own “Kick-Ass.”

When I found myself back at the front counter, the gentleman I just met was ordering his food (a hamburger with fries and a sprite) and once he was done he asked me, “Do you have Facebook?”

I wondered if this was a pickup line or if he took my, ‘brotha’ in the struggle’ line to heart and genuinely felt we could aid each other in some way.

“I do have Facebook, but I don’t have the app on my phone,” I told him. “You can add me and when I decide to put the app back on my phone I’ll make sure to add you. Do you go around giving speeches, of some sort?”

“No, I’m an agriculturalist and I’m in the midst of developing one of the biggest sites here in Grand Rapids,” he said. “I think there should be more of a focus on the internal, instead of the external. People should pay more attention to their health because if you can achieve the highest level of that then you give the universe no choice but to conform.”

“So you believe to achieve the highest version of our health revolves around our food intake?” I asked.

“Not just our food intake, though it’s a large chunk of it, our mental and emotional stability plays a huge part in shaping our behavior and perception toward the world,” he answered. 

Who knew you could find this level of depth in the lobby of a McDonald’s? So far, I was along for the ride.

“Especially for young people like yourself, it’s important what kind of information you digest,” he added. “Your age group has so many different things competing for your attention, telling you how to look, what to believe in, how to speak, who to be, and so on. Health is the most important thing we have in this fight against our outside circumstances, and if you’re not feeding your mind and body properly, then the fight will be over before it starts.”

“To some extent, it’s kind of like the long-distance runner who prepares for a marathon by listening to negative talk and eating Crumbl cookies, every day, huh?” I asked as I attempted to contextualize what he was saying. 

“Yes,” he responded. “Any long-distance runner is guaranteed to lose focus on their primary goal if they don’t take the necessary steps to prepare for the journey.”

“I have an Uber Eats, the last three numbers are 482,” a McDonald’s worker belted out.

I looked down at my phone and said, “Yeah, that’s for me.”

“Sir, with all due respect, if you believe in healthy eating, what are you doing in this place of all places to get food?” I hung onto the edge of my seat waiting for his response.

“A bison has to eat something other than grass sometimes, right?” he responded. 

‘Sure, but they wouldn’t stop eating grass to go eat a cow,’ I thought to myself. 

Outwardly, I shrugged my shoulders and told him, “I guess so.”

“By the way, I never got your name? My name is Malik.”

“My name is Tom, but I go by Bison1,” he said. 

I shook his hand and thought, ‘Wow, my FBI agent really is old enough to be my pops.’