People who know me in real life know that I am not one for the fast food option. It's not a health thing, ala Supersize Me or anything like that; I just think almost all of it tastes like dog shit. If I were stranded on a desert island with nothing but one McDonald's and one Burger King from which to order, I would find a way to digest sand.
The only traditional fast food restaurant thing that I am ever inclined to eat is the sausage burrito on the McDonald's breakfast menu. For those not in the know, it's an assortment of imitation eggs, tiny little balls of sausage, micro bits of red and green pepper and some american cheese all rolled up in a (usually stale) tortilla wrap. It is bland and mostly tastes like ass with cheese on it, but in the interest of convenience I have trained myself to stomach it, and ever so occasionally, I wake up to find myself actually wanting one. Like, on purpose.
Well, until Saturday.
Saturday morning I awoke to the sound of Fish's alarm clock blaring at 7 a.m. You know in the movie Dumb and Dumber when they're driving around in the van and the one idiot says to the other, "You want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?" and then lets out a nasally screech that goes on for about 20 seconds? Yeah, well he was wrong, that is not the most annoying sound in the world - Fish's alarm clock is. That shit would kill someone with a heart condition flat out dead every morning. But anyway, we got up at 7 a.m. because I am out of crazy drugs and I had an early appointment to go find a new doctor here in my new city to give me some more crazy drugs before I drive everyone around me to be just as mad as I am.
So we get up and get ready to face the day and find that we are miraculously 15 minutes ahead of schedule. And finding that the only orange juice in the fridge has a sell by date from 7 weeks ago, I turned to Fish and said "We have time to go to McDonald's before you drop me off!" because suddenly in my head I am tasting a sausage burrito with all it's gooey cheese and imitation egg goodness swimming around in my mouth with tiny sausage balls and it would go perfect with the reconstituted but not expired orange juice they sell there. We decide in line that I will get the sausage burrito meal, because orange juice (or coffee, if you prefer) comes with it, and then I'd get not one but two burritos AND Fish gets a free hash brown out of the deal. As they handed us our bag of goodies, I may have actually bounced up and down in my seat and clapped.
I pulled burrito number one out of the bag and began to unwrap it, and it was then that I noticed something I had never seen before. The sausage burrito wrapping is usually held together by a little round sticker describing ways I could be Lovin' It, and that sticker was there, but there was also, right on top of it, another sticker. This sticker was square and read as follows "MUST USE BY 11:27 AM 10/8/05".
Ok, what just happened here? My burrito, my last, tenuous connection to the world of fast food dining, has an expiration sticker on it. And not just any expiration sticker. It reads "MUST USE BY". Not Please Sell By, or Best if Eaten Before. MUST USE BY. In big capital block letters.
Why? What's going to happen if I don't eat it by 11:27 a.m.? Will I be arrested by the burrito police? Does it disappear into the vast reaches of outer space? Does it self destruct by blowing up in my face all Chief Quimby/Inspector Gadget-like? Or, and at the time it seemed like the most likely scenario, does it kill me instantly on swallowing? I sat staring at the sticker, perplexed. "It seems to me," said Fish, when I pointed out the offending sticker (which by now I had determined had an identical twin stuck to my other burrito, but no other siblings attached to either Fish's hash brown or my orange juice) "that it seems like that stuff would have so many preservatives in it that it should never expire. It should have a shelf life indefinitely, like a twinkie or something."
"Apparently though, it does not," I replied. I was concerned. The more I thought about it, the more I managed to convince myself that some dumb asshole had let a perfectly good sausage burrito sit out on their kitchen counter for about 9 hours collecting germs, and then ate it, got some kind of Salmonella Surprise, and tried to sue McDonald's for almost killing them, and that somehow this event had slipped under the news media's radar so that I didn't hear about it, and now to avoid future law suits they were putting disclaimer stickers on there to disassociate themselves from any type of responsibility for e. coli that may or may not crawl onto your burrito with fake eggs after you've left it sitting out for three days and then eaten it and died.
Which isn't really McDonald's fault at all (and in fact, probably has nothing to do with the sticker), but still, after that I started to notice the increasing ass flavor of my burrito and the cheese wasn't so cheesy anymore and I ended up throwing half of it away, because, um, ew. As it's now been two full days and it's still grossing me out, I think that my last tie to the fast food nation may have been permanently severed.