Saturday, January 16, 2010

Arched Villains

The only thing better than one is two, right?

This holds true for friends, dollars, eyes and testicles, but not for Big Macs.

Four all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a couple of sesame seed buns.

That's what I was singing when I went into a McDonald's one day back in the mid nineteen seventies. I stepped up to the counter and proudly ordered two Big Macs, both for myself. I was a big boy, and I wanted to prove it by lining my stomach with a man meal. I paid for my burgers, wrapped my grubby paws around the blood red plastic tray, and found a table. I sat down, scanned the room for threats beyond my tray, Grimaced at the decor, then concentrated at the task at hand.

My first bite, as always, was the best. Each subsequent bite was less warmly greeted, but the final bite, of Big Mac number one, felt triumphant. One down, one to go. Big Mac number one was like hiking to Everest base camp. It was a bit of work, but absolutely doable. Big Mac number two was like climbing the summit.

Left foot. Chew down. Right foot. Chew up. Repeat.

The last few bites of Le Mac Grand Deuxième were like climbing over the Hillary Step and making that do or die dash to the peak. Statistically speaking, one in ten, who summit Everest, dies. I'm not sure about the death rate among teenagers who eat two Big Macs. I left the restaurant and promptly Ralph Malphed my lunch all over eastern Canada. My stomach had been hamburgled; its contents stolen away from me.

It took me about five years before I could eat a Big Mac again. In hindsight, those were the best five years of my life. I didn't boycott McDonald's at the time, because what happened was my fault, not theirs, but I am currently considering a fatwa against McDonald's for other reasons.

Before I go any further, I just want to clarify my association with McDonald's. Since becoming a part-time coffee drinker, about two years ago, I've been struggling to find a decent coffee. My fatwa against Tim and his low brow roll-up-the-rimmers has made it difficult to find coffee in Canada, so I turned to the golden arches. McDonald's coffee is acceptable (head hung in shame). McDonald's food is not. Under no circumstances will my tongue ever see a Big Mac dancing upon it...or anything else they serve at McDonald's. I'd rather lick road salt off a highway like a knee bent moose in the dark than choke down a sodden McBurger.

Yeesh. I feel like hurling just thinking about it.

So why the possibility of a fatwa against McDonald's, Ian?

It's to punish them for my last three visits, as follows:

1) My Christmastime visit: Wendy and I enjoyed a pleasant evening with a very sociable friend in late December. As we were leaving Fredericton, I had the novel idea to grab a coffee at Ronald's drive through.

Don't you mean 'drive-thru'?

U know what I meant. Anyway, I pulled up to the speaker and said "I'd like a large coffee, puleez." The (no doubt) pimple-faced voice told me that he couldn't sell me anything. Keep in mind that these words were spoken to me by a McDonald's employee at 9:50 p.m., on a Friday night. I continued the dialogue with the zit box, asking for some clarification. I was told that they were 'transferring over the system', whatever that meant, and they couldn't sell me anything at all for at least ten minutes. I offered to give him the exact change for a coffee which he could ring in later. Professor Whitehead said 'no can do'. He held all the cards, the little bastard. Instead of being high-fived for my ingenuity, coffee in hand, I was Oxy-fived and squeezed out of the drive through.

'Drive-thru', you dim wit. I tolda ya once...

I drove off in a huff, unable to beat the system, or outsmart a blemished boy.

2) This past Thursday night, after indoor wall climbing at Base Gagetown, I decided that a coffee was in order. I needed petrol for my car (I get gas from beans), and there just happened to be a Micky Dees attached to the petrol station. I stepped up to the counter and innocently ordered a large coffee.

Zoinks....the girl couldn't find any large coffee cups. She spoke to the manager who suggested looking 'out back'. Based on the time she took, 'out back' meant through (thru) the back door of the building, across the parking lot, across a football field, across another football field, then into the storage room. My heart rate climbed. Anxiety will do that to a leisurologist.

She finally returned with the crushing news that they were out of large cups. I thru (not bad!) myself upon the floor, writhing and moaning. She offered to put a large quantity of coffee into two small cups, but I've never been a two-fisted drinker.

Hopefully no one from your days at Agricultural College is reading your colourful recollection of your less than sober past.

I declined the two small cups, remembering that two isn't always better than one. I said I'll just have a medium coffee. She poured me a medium coffee, then offered me a refund, but she'd have to find the manager to process the refund first. I don't know where the manager was, and neither did she, apparently. I suspect that the manager was having a toke out behind a pallet full of large coffee cups.

I walked into McDonald's cleanshaven, and by now I looked like I was ready to join ZZ Top. All I wanted was a gee dee coffee, not to spend my middle years in a fast food/slow coffee joint. I finally gave up, even though the manager had been sourced, suggesting that my refund be given to a charity. It amounted to twenty cents plus applicable taxes...pretty generous for a half Scotsman. I left in a half huff.

3) Last night I was returning from an evening of snowboarding at Crabbe Mountain. A coffee seemed like a nice way to cap off the evening and keep me warm and awake for the drive home to the Narrows. I rolled into Freddy Beach at 10 p.m. and considered my options. I could go to Sweetwater's for a dance, a coffee and a brawl with horny army bucks, or I could go to McDonald's. I chose McDonald's.

I was with a friend at the time, so we decided to go into the restaurant (that's unusually generous, Ian, calling it a restaurant) and sit down with our coffee. We walked in and found the place to be quite busy, at least judging by the line-up leading to the one and only cashier, who looked to be too young to even consider sprouting pimples. I looked at the cattle lined up in front of me, then I looked at my watch. It was 10:00 p.m. precisely.

To my left was McDonald's feeble attempt to create some McCafe 'ambiance' (again, very generous use of the language). There was a gas fireplace, not ablaze, and four funky red chairs set into an intimate square. Between each pairing of chaise rouges, was a table. Both tables were piled high with McDonald's wrappers, packaging and gnarled fries.

It took a good ten minutes to finally make it to the front line, my progress impeded by customers clutching gift certificates and two-for-one coupons. The newbie at the cash needed to call in back-ups to process anything other than cash or debit. He seemed to have trouble finding the manager, who undoubtedly was toking behind the KFC next door.

I ordered a large coffee, and as luck would have it, they had plenty of large coffee cups. Unfortunately, they had no coffee. Till boy wasn't quite adequately trained to take money and make coffee, so another McChild arrived after a couple of minutes and started a fresh pot.

My friend ordered a McCafe mocha, which took as long to make as my coffee because they were out of milk. I dreamt up a fantasy scene where the stoned manager was 'out back' milking KFC chickens in a mad attempt to get Dave his mocha. People who were in the line behind me were carrying their trays full of grease and sugar past me as I waited for my coffee. It was maddening. I should have just ordered two Big macs, vomited, and left satisfied.

I decided not to 'enjoy' my coffee in the 'fast food' restaurant. From the time I entered the building to the time I left, twenty-two minutes of my life had expired. I could have used that time more productively, perhaps watching a TiVo tweaked commercial-less re-run of HeeHaw, or writing a novel, or licking salt off the highway.

As I exited McDonald's I glanced at the four red chairs and the tables between them. The wrappers and rubbish were still piled high, after twenty-two festering minutes.

McDonald's is dead.

I left in a Beaufort Scale 12 huff (Very widespread damage to vegetation. Some windows may break; mobile homes and poorly constructed sheds and barns are damaged. Debris may be hurled about.)

Sounds like a fatwa is in the offing, Ian?

No, I'm feeling atypically generous. I'm not quite ready to be through with them just yet.

You mean 'thru'?

U no it.


  1. Some people have sued Mac Machin Truc for less than that. You might have a case here ...

  2. Did you enjoy the skiing? I thought you were a Poley boy. Oh how easily they stray..

  3. I tangoed, salsaed and jitterbugged my way down the slopes at Crabbe but, in my heart, I'll always be a Poley dancer.

  4. This is an interesting and no doubt fully factual recount of your experiences, you POOR BASTARD ! I can't believe you would consider going back for a coffee . Perhaps you should even shre your experiences with Big McD , that would be McD-HQ , and they could use this informative rant to mend their ways .
    You still do ,though , have a number of options,ie, Dairy Queen, Wendys, I'm sure Wendy would support the latter . Not to forget the ever nearby KFC, they must have coffee , and surely they wouldn't run out of milk with all those chickens around. Dave#2 .