I have nothing against McDonald’s, nor its Juggalo-with-ambition mascot. I am rather libertarian when it comes to food, and although I try to live by Michael Pollan’s commandment, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” I admit that I head down to the Golden Arches once in awhile to wallow in the french-fry scented sadness of grease-soaked dreams.
Sometimes, a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets with hot mustard hits the spot.
McDonald’s has a hard time being itself, though. When I was a kid, McDonald’s was the garish red-and-yellow treat that my grandparents would sometimes give us. We’d eat limp hamburgers, barely tasting them, and then go crawl around inside the the empty head of a cheeseburger cop. It was a simpler time.
These days, the company is working hard to reinvent itself, much like an aging movie star who thinks plastic surgery is the fountain of youth. Oh sure, there have been other identity crises over the years (seaweed-based McLean Deluxe, anyone?), but it’s gotten way out of hand lately. The last time I pulled into a Mickey D’s drive-thru, the signs were going on about something called “Chef Burgers” and talking about ground sirloin. It was a bit surreal. If I wanted pretentious fast food that pretends to be more than it is, I’d go across the parking lot to Chipotle to get a side of Jonathan Franzen with my gut busting slop. Just give me my quarter pounder and shut up.
And now that I’ve effectively buried my lede under a pile special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, allow me to pull back the sesame seed bun and get to the point. I got an email today from McDonald’s of Central Arkansas, a local franchisee that always stiffs me one package of mustard when I order my nuggies. Apparently, “local science teacher” John Cisna ate nothing but McDonald’s for six months, and OMG lost 60 pounds! No word in the email if it was because of vomiting and dysentery, but one wonders.
Look, people. Supersize Me came out in 2004. Are we still doing this? Did Subway Jared teach us nothing? The only thing this proves is that humans are very adaptable creatures–but since we have managed to survive in basically every environment this planet has to offer, we already knew that. I once spent a semester of college living on little more than coffee and goldfish crackers. I lost so much weight that my mother was worried I might have a terminal illness. If representatives from Pepperidge Farm and Folger’s would like to feature me in an ad campaign, my contact information is over on our “About” page.
I do have to admit that the “Before” and “After” shots of Cisna that McDonald’s sent with this email are quite compelling. You judge for yourself the effectiveness of six months of nothing but McDonald’s:
In any event, a reception and special dinner is being held to honor Cisna next Tuesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. But not at McDonald’s. Instead, the chefs at Forty Two, an actually good restaurant here in Little Rock, will be doing the cooking. No word yet if there will be groovy shakes or hot cakes on the menu, but a boy can dream.