Fast Food Fatassery and the Joys of Pull Tab
Outside of the juicy carnal nirvana that is In-n-Out burger, and the occasional Five Guys slobber chomp, I have one rule in my 30s. Never eat fast food.
Fast food is sexual sublimation by way of ketchup and mayonnaise shart. The perfect gristle chew substitution when America isn’t killing enough foreigners to satisfy the primal psycho-sexual eroticized blood lust that courses through the primitive tribal brain of hunter/gatherer yore.
Fast food is merely a Marxian tool. False consciousness by way of dancing childhood imprint.
Kings. Clowns. Dogs. Toys.
Do not ask for whom the Taco Bell barks. It barks for cheeseburger.
Our collective golden arches smearing the wonder buns of sweet promise and orgiastic chew. These plastic temples are our Bread and Circuses of the 21st Century. Religion by way of sesame seed. Combinations and value meals meant to keep the proles obsequious, satiated, and artificially overstimulated.
The third act reveal, of course, still awaits.
But I make one exception.
When pull tab game pieces are involved, then I am in.
When I can pull a tab and find out if I won a small fries, or a coke, then purchase I must. Not a lot. But at least a few completely unnecessary meals. That I will only partially consume before throwing the rest away in disgust, will be purchased.
This ritual began as a primal imprint during my childhood years.
1984. The Terminator. Madonna. Duran Duran.
McDonalds offered Olympic Game Cards that looked like so:
Although this image is the 1988 version of the game, the same principle applied back in ’84. If the USA won Gold, a free Big Mac. Silver, free fries. A Bronze, a free coke.
I was ten years old.
The game was already some liberating concoction of gambling impulse under the guise of patriotism. But then all rules and regulations were suddenly null and void like cold, pasty french fry. Unhinged by the wake of cold war politics, divine intervention opened a portal into the land of unlimited Big Mac-ery and Friesation. For 1984 was the year the Soviet Union announced they were boycotting the Olympics. And the U.S. of glorious A subsequently won an ass ton of medals. Across the board. In every imaginable category.
I had already been hoarding cards for weeks.
Suddenly I had struck proverbial post-USSR gold.
Quickly, another crack in the procedural opened up. I discovered that when I went to cash in my winning food tickets, I could manage to procure a new scratch card from the proverbial disinterested and barely competent teenage employee.
Life was golden. Arches were revelatory.
I ate for free. Not just once. The entire summer. I mixed and matched cards. I tracked the Olympics for the first time in my young life with insane passion and obsessive statistical study.
Gold medal in the 100 meters? Big Mac!
Gold medal in the uneven bars? Big Mac!
Only a silver in fencing? Fries, bitches! Fries.
More pure than Oprah’s free car. More soothing than a back rub from a Thai ladyboy. It was the summer of fast food freedom. The summer in which parental begging and cash-poor salivatorial thwarting no longer took place.
My ten-year-old scrawny ass had been unhinged into a glorious vat of salt, potatoes, meat byproduct, and carbonated syrup.
Oh joy of joys! What promise the future did portend!
Childhood no longer held interest. Toys and cartoons faded into the past. The adult world had a system. A system that could be worked. A system that could be exploited. One only had to learn to play the game.
McDonalds had unwittingly indoctrinated me. The hegemony of first world fast-food chain-link conceptual hand-off had taught me to draw a conceptual bind between nation and consumption.
With every burger I ingested, America won. I had fulfilled the greatest fantasies of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman in their glorious visions of free market choice and voluntary conscription in service of a larger identity beyond flag and beyond nation.
I had pledged to the flag of Arches. Arteries in service of a tribal affiliation. An American patriotism in which physical supremacy meant free burgers and fries.
So what if the promotion almost bankrupted McDonalds. I was hooked.
Now, lo these many years later, and nothing has changed. When the McDonalds Monopoly game arrives, I must partake and imbibe.
Of course I throw away most of the shriveled cow anus and salt licks they call “food” at these abhorrent places. And I rarely, if ever, actually cash in the tabs when I win. Why would I? McDonalds food is vile putrid rat spittle served in a dirty ashtray. But I must pull tabs. I must go back to that time of future-promise and systemic manipulation by a kid who just wanted free hamburgers.
So I sat.
In a McDonalds in Woodland Hills.
I ordered a chicken sandwich. To cut calories, only a medium fries. For my soda, diet lemonade. Even with these choices, this tiny, crappy, feeble excuse for a meal probably included close to 800 calories.
When it arrived, I realized I had botched the entire concept behind the meal.
The chicken sandwiches don’t come with Monopoly tabs. Only the anus meat. The medium fries also had no tabs. Only large fries.
I had only two tabs. On my soda.
So I pulled the tabs on my soda.
I didn’t win.
I ate a few fries and took a few bites of the inedible slap of crunchy breaded chihuahua shite that McDonalds calls chicken.
I washed it down with chemical lemonade.
I had come a long way, baby.