Would You Like Fries With That?

“Would you like fries with that?”

This simple yet brilliant question helped McDonald’s make billions.

It eventually morphed into, “Would you like to super-size that?” which became a symbol of our culture’s nasty habit of overconsumption.

Indeed, we are conditioned to want more stuff. Bigger homes. Better appliances. Faster cars. Fancier vacations. I’m skeptical whether we are better off because of it.

But there’s one question we should ask ourselves more often. It has the benefit of not only leaving our waistlines intact and our homes less cluttered, but would decrease our overall stress levels as well:

“Would you like fun with that?”

I’ve never encountered a study alerting us to the negative effects of too much fun, and indeed, the world is aching for silliness. But Adultitis has us conditioned to believe that fun is merely a sliver of the overcrowded pie chart that is life balance. You work, you run errands, you do chores, you chauffeur your kids to soccer practice. If there’s enough time left at the end of the week, then maybe, just maybe, you are allowed to have a little bit of fun. And once in a while, the calendar gives you permission to do things like dress up in silly costumes or blow stuff up, but only if the date happens to be accompanied by fine print that says something like “Halloween” or “Independence Day.”

But wouldn’t work be better if it came with a side of fun? What about errands? Or chores? Or those everyday road trips with the family?

In case you’re scoring at home: yes, yes, yes, and um, yes.

What would your life look like if you always made it a habit to ask, “Would you like fun with that?”

It might inspire you to make some ugly cookies to share with your coworkers.

It might inspire you tell a funny joke to the checkout person at the grocery store.

It might inspire you to make crazy bets with your spouse to see who has to do laundry this week.

It might inspire you to instigate regular Chinese fire drills with your family.

When we take the time to ask this simple question, and when we take the little effort it requires to answer said question with a big, fat, unapologetic “Hells yeah!”, we end up creating what I like to call “scenes.” And even though we may spend most of our days fretting over serious things like the economy and health care and the war on terror, when you get to the end of your life, and have gathered your friends and family around your death bed to share your last days and moments, those big, serious things never seem to make the conversation. You know what does? The little things. The scenes we created with one another.

It’s the scenes that matter most in the end.

So do yourself a favor. Every time you’re faced with some seemingly mundane or otherwise unexciting use of your time, ask yourself this simple question:

“Would you like fun with that?”

And don’t forget to super-size it.

[ This post originally appeared over at the super awesome Jungle of Life. ]

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