Drive-thru Wonders

Perhaps it all started in the 70s when the English Leather Company created soap on a rope. It was founded on the belief that soap, left to its own devices in a dish, would become a slimy soup of sludge. They weren’t wrong. For a time, the ability to hang soap on a rope in your shower became quite popular. While, to begin with, it was brown, oval, and aimed primarily at men who enjoyed its pleasing “masculine fragrance,” it soon took on other forms.

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There were fruit shapes, cartoon characters, barnyard animals, and even one created in the likeness of the Pope. Get it? Pope soap on a rope. (That version wasn’t too popular.) Anyway, I’ve often thought of this soap over the last two years when other, similar combinations were created thanks to the invention of pick-up windows.

Enter, debit-on-a-stick, and drive-though vaccinations. Closely followed by bird-on-a-bale, spider-on-a-string, and cat-on-a-cabin. (Actually, these last three were born of my own observations and didn’t hit mainstream media.)

I recall the first time I pulled up to a drive-through window to pay for my food during the height of the pandemic. A young attendant lurked in a shadowy area near the drink machine, wearing an obligatory mask and mumbling something incoherent about cash. I waved my debit card in the air. Without changing expression, or affording me any sort of warning, he promptly thrust a hockey stick through my open window, an ATM machine strapped to one end with duct tape. It almost took my eye out!

This same procedure has been repeated at various businesses and soon became a commonplace manoeuvre, although the stick portion of the apparatus has taken on many forms. I’ve had people ram a tennis racket, broom handle, and the spindle off an old chair into my car, all to collect payment. The methods might be a little outlandish, but I guess you can’t argue with success.

I don’t have much to say about drive-through vaccines. I suppose it’s no different than all the other times we pull up to a window to receive some service or other. However, it’s quite rare in Europe. In fact, I was once in France when a new Burger King was opened. People lined up for blocks to try out this unusual form of receiving food: the drive-through window—cool man.

Are you aware of all the amenities available to us from the comfort of our car? I haven’t used a pharmacy drive-through but it seems like a great idea, especially for people that have mobility issues. However, what about a drive-through liquor mart? The merit of this one seems a bit harder to detect. Forking two cases of beer and a bottle of vodka into someone’s car as they idle down a darkened lane beside the store seems a bit—controversial.

I’ve heard of drive-thru wedding chapels such as the famous “Tunnel of Love” in Vegas. I suppose if the mood hits you and you’re short on cash it’s an option, but I can’t help hearing my dear mother-in-law Lois say, with a sorrowful shake of her head, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.” Sage advice.

No matter how you look at it, catchphrases and the ubiquitous drive-through window are here to stay, but please, the hockey stick has got to go.

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