Tag Archives: McDonald’s


ImagePhoto Credit: Peter M., Flickr. http://goo.gl/ncro3h

Two weeks ago, McDonalds announced that Ronald is making a comeback for the digital age. Here’s how that went:

“Ronny, my man!” yelped the man on the phone.

Ron couldn’t place the voice. It sounded familiar, and caused a tiny balloon of sadness to float up from his gut.

“It’s Joe!” said Ron’s former agent, a man whose best character trait was teeth. “Know what I’m doing right now? I’ll tell you. I’m polishing a pair of size 30 red shoes. They’re beautiful. It’s time for Ronald McDonald two point oh.”

“Joe?” Ron muttered, his hangover in its angry phase. “Goodbye, Joe.”

He hung up and buried his oddly shaped face in the pillow. The sheets were 14,000 thread count, all of which were badly soiled. He’d long since fired the housemaids. He was upside down on his mortgage–but everyone was. And the short-sale market on mansions made from hard plastic trees wasn’t especially strong. He’d get through it.

The phone rang again.

Vaffanculo,” Ron growled.

“Twenty million,” said Joe. “Of course it’s a 360 deal. They get half of all merchandise, books, remaining healthy sperm. But that’s every deal these days. Twenty…… million, buddy.”

Ron sat up and looked at himself in the closet mirror. His midsection, once well-abbed, was now just a doughy shade tent for his penis. He had a poor relationship with his penis. No one likes to think about clowns having penises, and the “don’t ask, don’t touch” policy had lead to shame.

He couldn’t blame them for what he’d become. At the time, no one knew lead face paint was poisonous. Ron had never been a terribly bright person. After graduating, it wasn’t like “clown school or Yale?” Still, the trace metals made sentences hard.

The Red Dye No. 5 in his hair had raised some serious issues, too. Tumors rise, that’s what they do. His scalp was now like the inverted surface of a golf ball. Luckily, they’d been radiated into non-lethal, purely ornamental state. If McDonalds had assured one thing, it’s that their star–the global embodiment of their festive almost-food–would not become a public relations disaster like the Marlboro Man. When he lost the foot to gout, they got him a top of the line Oscar Pistorius.

The triangles below his eyes were permanent–tattooed on his lower orbital bone after killing a rival in clown school. Just one of those racist rodeo bozos, not a huge deal. Mickey D’s public relations department had managed to keep it buried–mostly because the internet didn’t exist during Ronald’s heyday, and TMZ’s legion of succubus Fabio interns weren’t yet roaming the streets with cameras, ripping celebrity souls out by their stems.

“This is a hashtag,” said the young, self-proclaimed social media guru on Ronald’s first day back at corporate. “It’s like an address for your electronic thoughts. Like this: #NotWearingPanties.”

Ron scratched his head. Why him, why now? They all talked about some grand makeover. But there hadn’t been any quantum leaps in clown technology. Plus the fat people advocates were ticked. They viewed Ronald as a baggy-pantsed Leni Riefenstahl–brainwashing kids into Mickey D’s highly saturated joy agenda.

What are chia seeds? he wondered.

But the biggest thing Ronald couldn’t get over is—clowns. If crying a deep, psychologically frail cry was what you wanted of children, clowns were very effective. Clowns’ approval rating hung somewhere between mimes and ethnic cleansing. Their trembling clown paranoia—which, quite frankly, Ron thought was a tad melodramatic—had lead to Ron’s first existential breakdown and retirement.

No matter, he sighed. Thinking of 20 million reasons and the time he and Hamburglar roofied an attractive franchisee’s orange drink, Ronald McDonald sucked in his gut and selfied.


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What Ronald McDonald Taught Me About Emotional Depth

It was 1979. I was six. Mom said we were going somewhere special.

I settled into the passenger seat and pulled out my portable video game. On the screen were a series of red lights that represented football players. There were no “men.” No graphics. Video games were different back then. We didn’t have a 3-D vigilante with a five o’clock shadow whose mission was to steal cars, squire prostitutes and systematically urinate on the Ten Commandments. Kids these days have it good.

Three minutes later, Mom pulled into a parking lot of McDonald’s. No different from any other day. We would enter the line of sedans. We would shout our order into the metal box, as if talking to an elderly person whose ears were merely ornamental at this point. We would leave adequately McMuffinned.

Only that day McDonald’s was chaos. A majority of the parking lot was cordoned off with flags and cones. A massive red stage was equipped with 10-foot golden arches. A horde of children ran around like crazy people who’d been denied meds.

Half-eaten burgers were scattered on the asphalt — yet this occasion was such a joyous riot that not one kid was crying over the loss. A boy had a pickle in his hair. Every child had an orange mustache, a sign that McDonalds’ legendary party drink — an aperitif made of sugar, water, sugar and orange stuff — was somewhere nearby. That “orange drink” was black market McDonald’s gold, only brought out at soccer league kickoffs and papal coronations.

Then I spotted him. You couldn’t miss the Sasquatch. Ronald McDonald was what happened when an NBA power forward made an honest woman out of a circus clown. His crimson hairpiece was both Black Panther and Jackie O, male and female. He was part African American, Northern European and whatever ethnicity red-haired people are.

His face was painted white, and below each eye was a triangular, black droplet (it means you killed someone in clown school). His eyebrows had migrated to the far northern climes of his forehead. As a result, he looked permanently, unequivocally amused.

After some hugs and hoots and hollers, I started enumerating Ronald’s many character strengths. I went on and on and mom just nodded and laughed.

Then, I said, “Plus… he’s ALWAYS happy! Can you imagine? How great would that be?”

“True,” she countered. “But we need to be sad sometimes.”

I looked at her stunned. What a downer. But, my god, I thought. The woman is right.

Let’s say Ronald’s buddy Grimace finally lost a limb to gout. He’s laid up in the hospital trying to come to terms with this new development in his life. On the one hand, he hadn’t seen his legs in years on account of being morbidly obese. On the other hand, it had to be a blow to his acting career. Sure, Jabba the Hutt was getting great work with this new Spielberg character. But Jabba had that supple Mediterranean skin tone.

“I’m purple, Ronnie!” Grimace would yell tenderly at his old friend in the hospital. “I’m purple and my main talent is eating burgers, man! A walking hematoma with one trick and… oh, criminy… now one leg to match.”

Ron would be dealing with his own demons, of course, since it was he who convinced Grimace to audition for the McDonald’s gig years ago.

“Look, I was born the shape of an inflamed nostril. I get it. I coped with that. When I grew into a six-foot nostril, I coped with that, too. But all of it together? It’s too much, man. Too much. If H.R. Pufnstuf was still around, maybe… maybe I’d have some options.

“What, exactly, does THIS say to the kids, RON?” he’d ask, pretending to knock on his phantom limb. “‘Hey, have a burger, little buddy! But don’t go ape shit like your Uncle Grimace and eat so many that you lose a leg! Ha ha ha ha ha HA!’

“Speaking of. Where’s Hamburglar? Don’t tell me… rehab again. And where is that nurse with my pain candy?! Am I a nobody already???!”

Grimace would then try to wipe the tears from his terrycloth eyes, but his comically short arms would not be able to reach that far. Ron would have no other option than to sit bedside, listen to his old pal, and look highly amused.

So, yes, mom. I guess eternal happiness is not as cool as it sounds.

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