McDonald’s based its marketing campaign around a clown who looks more akin to kidnapping your children in a rusted, windowless van than someone looking to spread the joy of hamburgers across the globe. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn the rest of his supporting staff is as bizarre, mysterious and likely the bi-product of hallucinogenic drugs.
I’ve always been intrigued by McDonald’s set of characters – Grimace being the key player during my tenuous, often unforgiving hours of research.
Grimace is said to be “the embodiment of a milkshake,” which is strange – how many purple milkshakes do you see walking around town? Frankly, to imply Grimace is a milkshake is a crock of shit. He’s supposed to be a chicken nugget; it’s painfully obvious. So, why try and cover it up? Is it due to an error in communication, that resulted in some kind of anthropomorphic blob resembling nothing on the menu? Cause that’s what I’m starting to believe.
The other supporting characters are set in their ways – there’s no questioning what the Hamburglur is, or asking yourself “This Mayor McCheese guy, what’s his deal?” We know, almost instinctively, the Hamburglur is a kleptomaniac obsessed with McDonald’s delicious meat patties. It’s second nature for us to identify Mayor McCheese as a politically-savvy human being with an oversized cheeseburger for a head. The Trash Cans? Obviously a pair of talking trash cans sent to remind planet earth to put their garbage in waste bins designated by corporate.
Then there’s Grimace.
He’s the initial outlier – the first “huh?” to inhabit McDonaldland. His origins are vague; often more mystery than fact. We know this much, though: he has an uncle, Uncle O’Grimacey – a talking shamrock shake – unnamed parents, a grandmother named Winky, a great-grandmother named Jenny Grimace and a brother named King Gonga. First off, how the hell does “Jenny” slip in there? You expect me to believe in a family with Uncle O’Grimacey, Winky and King Gonga there’s a Jenny? I’m not buying it. Imagine if Harry Potter’s infamous defense of the dark arts professor was some guy named Steve. Not only would it be incredibly lame, but no one would believe it. Jenny doesn’t exist, and there’s some shady shit being covered up here.
Grimace was originally labeled as an evil monster with four arms. Now, he’s just a friendly, giant purple dumbass with a routine pair of a limbs. He was granted a friend in 1992. That friends name? Bernice. Her unique characteristic? Eating inedible objects, such as scripts. But what if they weren’t scripts, instead classified documents linking McDonald’s to a tragic radioactive disaster. How else would the hamburger patch – a group of young adult hamburgers with the ability to speak – be grown on farms across McDonaldland? How does a prominent politician suddenly have a cheeseburger for a head? Turning an evil chicken nugget with pairs of arms into a purple pod lacking intellect and owning just one pair of arms? Now that’s a classic, telltale sign of radioactivity gone awry.
When I approached my father to discuss this theory – that McDonald’s, one of American’s most beloved institutions, had been hiding a top-secret radioactive experiment gone wrong – he looked at me in silence for a few seconds, took a deep breath and told me he was on an important call. I slowly backed out his luxurious study, my mind racing. Who is he on the phone with? What does he know? I put waffles in the toaster, but did I ever turn it on?
I made my way downstairs, shuffling past a sleeping tiger. I noticed the stove was missing: now in its place a deep fryer. Manning the deep fryer was a McDonald’s employee. His name, Nate. His goal, to inform me of the teachings of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. I told him no thanks. He then explained to me that I needed to move fast or Vanessa would fire me. A blank pamphlet was then placed in my hand.
“Inside this,” Nate said, “you will find all the answers.”
I opened the empty pamphlet, soaked in the nothing and felt a sense of great relief. I knew what I had to do, at least I felt as though I did. I turned around to see my father, saddled and mounted atop Mordecai – the sleeping tiger – who had shrunken and become a run-of-the-mill house cat.
“What happened to Mordecai?” I asked.
“Nothing. This is what he does,” my father replied.
A loud blaring echoed through the kitchen. It was a familiar concoction of horns and percussion. My face felt wet, my right arm swung involuntarily, smacking some kind of mass near my face.
I awoke to find one of my cats, Maisy, purring and licking the top of my head. Next to her, sat my phone, and from it played my morning alarm tone El Mariachi Loco by Mariachi. It’s the kind of sound a bear couldn’t hibernate through, and has proven quite successful in getting me up on time in the morning.
It was 8:30 am on a Saturday. I was hungover, but more importantly I was concerned that my dream ended prematurely. Perhaps there was a nugget of information I had missed. So close to cracking the case, yet so far away. Damn this alarm.
It’s interesting where our minds wander. One minute I can be thinking about ordering a hamburger and the next I find I’ve convinced myself McDonald’s had a key role in the Chernobyl disaster.
Seriously, hear me out. All these talking anamorphic creatures aren’t normal – this we can all agree on, yeah? If I walked up to you and said “Hey, you wanna eat dinner with a clown and a giant purple blob?” you’d probably start to slowly back away, pull out your cell phone and dial 9-1-1.
Hell, you’re probably doing that right now, having read everything written above. “This guys a loon,” you’re undoubtedly thinking, completely unaware of the nuclear devastation committed by one of America’s most beloved corporations.
Just remember I told you so.