McDonald’s is a Link to My Past

Perhaps I am the product, indeed. If so, quite the job well-done McDonald’s marketing team!

With all the gluten-free, vegan, anti-milk, and anti-fast food which pass around daily on the web, McDonald’s has certainly taken a hit, and I am certainly not one who will bemoan anyone else wanting to eat healthy by steering clear from modern fast food. Maybe you’ve even seen the post recently about a doctor who has been displaying a McDonald’s burger and fries at their practice for the last few years, seemingly making the point that whatever is put in their food makes it very well preserved and perhaps we shouldn’t put it in our bodies. (Although, my body might need a few preservatives, but that’s another point.)

So I thought, just to be contrary to the persnickety people out there, to write a post shining a positive light on McDonald’s. It’s good to be different, right? OK, here goes.

When I think of McDonald’s, the first memory that pops into my mind is high school youth group and hanging out with a bunch of different girls after some youth event. Yes, we always stopped at McDonald’s and do whatever teens do. Talk, flirt, steal french fries. I still remember what I used to order. How I ate all of this, I’ll never know:

  • 2 Big Macs
  • 1 Regular Hamburger
  • 1 Large Fries
  • 1 Large Coke
  • 1 Hot Fudge Sundae

Just to clarify, this would not have been my dinner. I would have eaten dinner at home around 5:30 or so. This would have been my 9 PM snack. I was so proud of how much I could eat back then.

From high school, move forward to college. This poor college student lived within walking distance of a McDonald’s and, luckily, it would have occasional specials of buy 1 get 1 free Big Mac. Wow! Those were the days. Daily runs down to the arch to fill up what the cafeteria couldn’t do. Or perhaps a late night jaunt with my girl for a quick snack.

Move forward to our first few years living in Vietnam. At that time, Vietnam didn’t even have Coke, let alone anything resembling American fast food. But during our winter break, we would go to Hong Kong. Our leaders always warned us not to over-eat on fast food upon arriving in Hong Kong because our diets in Vietnam were so incredibly different. Well, that was a warning I never heeded. After months of green vegetables, rice, soup, and grilled meats, I wanted a burger! So I would bee-line it to the first “M” I could find and indulge in all that horrible food. It was wonderful, and I never got sick from overindulging or shocking my system. No, indeed. It was like I had finally come home. My stomach felt 12,000 miles away in America. It was content.

So people can say what you will about McDonald’s, and probably most of it will be true. But this is also true – it plays a part – a pleasant part – in the memories and experiences that I have had during many different periods of my life. McDonald’s is like a guilty pleasure always nearby, reminding me of where I came from. The consistency, the taste, the smells, the familiarity, the colors, the brand, the clown, the commercials, the sayings, the conversations, the laughter, the memories. Good or bad, McDonald’s has always been there for me.

That’s all I want to say.

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