It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been to a McDonald’s. Yes, that exactly corresponds to the day after I saw “Supersize Me.” I don’t normaly allow myself to be swayed by propoganda documentaries (see Michael Moore) either from the right or the left. But after watching Morgan Spurlock turn his liver into pate and seeing the dvd extra of the french fries that didn’t change form at all even after being left in a jar for six weeks, I figured that there are plenty of other bad things I do to my body that I enjoy a lot more the Mickey D’s. So I cut out that particular vice to leave room for vices I hadn’t even discovered yet…like blogging.
But I do have a McDonald’s story or two and considering Aunt B is in charge of the Nashville blogosphere for the weekend, I figured I’d better contribute something. Besides, I’ve got nothing better to do on this beautiful spring afternoon up here at the Sewanee cabin with RUABelle than watch the Nashville Busch race on cable and smoke a rack of ribs low and slow, just the way I like `em. Life is good!
Flash back twenty-sumfin’ years to my college days. Going to school on the west coast at a university that was on the quarter system instead of semesters, I was always the last one of my friends to leave after the summer was over. After senior year of high school, there were 30+ tearful goodbyes and promises to keep in touch and be BFF no matter where our college careers took us. The goodbye parties got smaller and smaller as more state schools started up and sucked my friends into frat rush oblivion from whence they would never return the same. By the time I left for school, it was like “Make sure to turn the lights off when you leave.”
But that did afford me the opportunity to road trip around the country visiting some friends after they had already started their new academic years. So myself and a couple of other refugees from the all-boys academy that I had previously escaped from decided to road trip up to St. Louis to visit a friend of ours that was attending Washington University. It was also a chance to use up the last of the really unbelievable weed I had brought back from Humboldt County after freshman year. My friends weren’t gonna see anything like it again until I got back next year, and I would soon be where it literally grew on trees. (Once again, I’m not sure about the ole staute of limitations, but we’re talking about 20 years ago.)
Our friend knew approximately when we would be arriving, but not exactly. Like not exactly which day. So he was quite surprised and a trifle unnerved when three whacked-out guys blew through his front door floating several inches off the floor in a cloud of green smoke. Especially since he had his first Physics mid-term exam in two hours and was in serious cramming mode.
“No problemo, dooooood. We’ll just head on down to McDonald’s and snarf on some beef burgers while you do that school stuff. We’ll meet you for dinner after we eat.”
The four block walk took about an hour, as we found ourselves frequently distracted by such hilarious things as a bird sitting on a window sill and a hopscotch game chalked onto the sidewalk. When we finally got to the restaurant, it was the middle of the dinner rush and we were in no condition for public consumption.
As we stood in the back of the line swaying to our internal soundtrack of Bob Marley and the Allman Brothers trying to decide which of the appetizing selection of munchie-satisfiers we were going to order, I got a smart-ass dumb-ass idea.
“I know. I’m going to choose based on the nutritional content information brochure.”
These were a new addition to the fast food industry. I think they were a reaction to the Reagan administration assertion that ketchup counted as a vegetable in school lunch menus.
So I staggered to the front of the line and randomly grabbed a leaflet out of the stack on the edge of the counter. I returned to the back of the line and attempted to focues and read the small print. And then I started to giggle. And guffaw. And gasp. And eventually convulse on the floor. We were eventually swept out the door by some pimply-faced assistant manager wearing a particularly fetching striped uniform.
My friends were not amused. They were embarrased, disoriented and hungry.
“What the f*ck was that all about, asshole?!”
I unfolded the nutritional pamphlet and handed it to them. Whereupon they collapsed themselves, but onto the dirty sidewalk as opposed to the grease-covered McDonald’s floor as I had had the aplomb to do.
Apparently, in the the entire stack of brochures, I had chosen the only one that had been defaced by the St. Louis chapter of PETA. Scrawled all over the chart of fat and caloric content were crude drawings of beheaded cows and bloody piles of cheeseburgers.
Unfortunately, their message was lost on a giggling pile of post-adolescent potheads from Nashville. At the time, we were not what you would call “enlightened.” I don’t think our reaction was what the Earth Shoe-wearing, hemp-bedecked activist probably intended, but I still have that pamplet and treasure the memory.
Ironically, I don’t do stuff like that anymore, but now my memory has gone to hell. The things that were supposed to kill my memory are still vivid, while I’m not sure what I had for lunch yesterday.
But I’ll tell you what I didn’t have…McDonald’s.
Corporate deathburger, indeed.