America, we have issues

An American invention that represents the decline of America: the drive-in restaurant.

My office building backs up to one and I can’t seem to keep my chubby little hands from pushing that bright red button during “happy hour” each day. Drinks are half-price. I’m basically throwing away money if I don’t participate, right?

“Thank you for making my restaurant your restaurant,” the voice rasps through speakers that sound more like Edison’s gramophone than THX surround sound. “Can I interest you in a chili cheese coney dog deluxe this afternoon?”

It’s been nearly a hundred years since that visionary place of man-made miracles, Dallas, brought us the world’s first drive-in eatery. Kirby’s Pig Stand was famous for its pork loin sandwiches. At that time, drive-ins represented the endless innovation possibilities of an advancing industrial economy.

Now, as I await my afternoon tonic at a contemporary iteration, the concept represents the trends of a country on a downhill slide.

1. We’re old. I see as many gray hairs and bald heads driving in as teenagers and twenty-somethings. Their windows may be up and their music may be down, but they’re a force to be provided for in their ever-growing golden years. Send more wage earners.

2. We’re heavy. So heavy, in fact, that the carhops have trouble getting our burger sacks and Route 768s through our car windows. Oh, but it tastes so good, those sodium-enriched tater tots, those chocolate-drenched banana splits.

3. We’re ill. It’s a good thing the always open pharmacy is around the corner. We’re going to need that blood pressure medicine, those diabetes pills. We may be surviving, we may be medicated, but we are still ill. All while health care costs are anything but still.

4. We’re idling. The new economic normal is less than 2% annual GDP growth. Heavy government regulation and taxation discourage the risk-taking required for any greater growth. We’re not dead, but we’re not moving at the pace we once did, even years into a “recovery.”

5. We’re polluting. As we wait for our high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-sugar “sustenance,” our machine motors run, pumping exhaust into the air and dropping oil onto the ground. I’m no greeny, but I know dirty when I see it. Running engines encircling our effective dinner table is not progress.

6. We’re hurried. Too overwhelmed and distracted to prioritize a meal prepared at home, eaten slowly with the most important people in our lives. We’ve consumed our margins, and so our children are being served food by a man with a dragon tattooed on his arm.

7. We’re unpresentable. Tattoos, piercings, dental work courtesy of your friendly local meth lab. An air of desperation marks a generation of humans who can’t see past their next meal, smoke, rent payment or tank of gas. Who will hire them to do more than pass out tater tots?

8. And we’re coarse. From the crude song I hear blasting from the sixteen-year-old’s Jeep to the explicit conversation I overhear from the employees taking a smoke break by the dumpster. We’re a culture on a downward spiral.

All is not lost, of course. There is still a God in the heavens who has made Himself known on the earth. A return to His design is possible. May it start tonight with a laughter-filled, family-friendly, freshly-cooked dinner at home.


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas Hill Country. Follow him at

4 Responses to “America, we have issues”

  1. 1 Greg Jones August 25, 2013 at 00:40

    I read the first paragraph while in line at Whataburger. I kid you not.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. 2 jessestroup August 25, 2013 at 21:03

    Kevin,  Thank you.  We see eye to eye on so many things.  I appreciate your letting them be heard through your writings. Jesse

      Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 2777 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 1020 Dallas, TX 75207 214-678-0303


  3. 3 Susan Allen August 26, 2013 at 08:23


    Susan (Susie) Allen

    Texas Heritage Bank

    1208 S. Main

    Boerne, Texas 78006

    830-815-1043 (metro)


    830-249-3988 (fax)

    Offices in Cross Plains, Boerne and Leon Springs to serve you!!!

  4. 4 Grant Rampy August 26, 2013 at 16:01

    Never ceases to amaze me how many topics you post on with authority. Again, nicely done. (After seeing a clip of Miley Cyrus stripping on MTV last night, the topic of culture rot is very much on my mind. We’re in dire straights, pal.)


    Grant Rampy | Director of Public Relations* Abilene Christian University | University Marketing 218 Zellner Hall | ACU Box 29010 | Abilene, TX 79699 (ofc) 325.674.2692 | (cell) 325.660.8690

    *Read and watchmore about ACU *

    *Also, check out our Wildcat Video Minute * *for August*


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