THE BENCH PRESS- A road trip is great for wandering minds

But there?s one place most of my road trips so far have had in common: McDonald?s.

As much as I like those commercials where Jared, the Subway guy, bickers with NASCAR drivers and professional wrestlers about the best part of a Subway sandwich, there?s something about fried food that leaves a hungry customer feeling satisfied.

Maybe that satisfaction has something to do with the way the flavor brings back fond memories of childhood.

Or maybe I?m confusing the heartfelt emotion of ?satisfaction? with the heartfelt physical pain of ?clogging.?

Either way, a recent McDonald?s experience has really taken some of the luster off of the gold-plated archetypal palaces of American cuisine.

Don?t get me wrong, though?I?m not about to launch into a rambling tirade about the unhealthiness of smashing a double quarter pounder combo in under 10 minutes and chasing it with a half-gallon of zero-percent fruit juice lemonade.

(Even if the surgeon general somehow forced Ronald to put ?Warning: May cause grotesque obesity? labels on those $1 chicken sandwiches, driving within a mile of the Golden Arches would still probably have a powerful effect on me.

I might not gain 10 pounds just from turning north on Interstate 135 at McPherson, but there?s a very strong chance I?d still salivate like Pavlov?s dog trapped in the bell-tower with Quasimodo at noon. Uh…moving on.)

Now that I?m done rambling about fast-food, I can get back to writing about sports. Or at least things that might be sports.

***

A lot of the guys I grew up playing with in the park were prejudiced against calling anything other than baseball, basketball, ice hockey or football a ?sport.?

Now that I?m older, I?m not proud of the way we called a lot of perfectly good sports by a lesser name: games.

So I?m doing my best to get over my old ways, broaden my horizons and be a better person.

But it?s a slow, slow process. Too many old habits die too hard, and too many old wounds open too easily.

And as hard as I try to see the other point of view, I just don?t think I?ll ever understand how competitions like dog shows ended up on TV. But maybe if horse-racing can be a sport, and ice-dancing can be a sport, dog-showing can be a sport, too.

***

Have you ever wondered if the McPherson McDonald?s has some kind of a sponsorship agreement with the city? Or if they?ve ever tried to sue each other? Or if the corporation has ever looked in to paying the city millions of dollars for the right to rename it?

Uh, me neither.

***

It might not be shocking at this point, but this last bit has nothing to do with sports?so it will probably fit in pretty well.

***

I heard someone say you may not be able to teach an old dog a new trick, but you can?t teach a cat anything at all.

By a strange coincidence, or maybe just dumb luck, my parents have a hole in their screen door and the only cat in the world smart enough to have learned to climb up to the hole and use the knocker when it wants to come inside.