Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Wilt Chamberlain of Big Macs

According to the Fond du Lac Reporter — SwanShadow's preferred source for southeastern Wisconsin news — a local resident yesterday consumed his 20,000th Big Mac. He allegedly began dining on the popular McDonald's concoction on May 17, 1972.

My question about this dubious achievement does not relate to the sheer volume of "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun" this fellow has consumed, though he'll be able to donate his coronary arteries to the Smithsonian any day now. (Do the math — that's roughly 1.7 Big Macs a day for 32 years. Yikes.) I don't wonder why he is so obsessed with this particular item of fast food fare — which I've never found especially appealing, and I'll eat almost anything.

No, my question is more quantitative: how in the name of Mayor McCheese does he know how many Big Macs he's eaten? Did he start counting the very first time he ate one? (And if so, why? How'd he know he'd still be eating them three decades later, or that anyone would care?) Or is this a rough estimate? Has he stockpiled all the receipts for documentation?

My fondness for the Filet-O-Fish at Mickey D's is the stuff of legend. (I wept when, some years back, McDonald's temporarily replaced the FOF on its menu with a gussied-up fishburger that, while larger and more expensive, paled in comparison with the golden-brown fishy goodness of the original product. That abomination had lettuce on it, for crying out loud. Who in his right mind puts lettuce on a fish sandwich? Kelp, maybe... Fortunately, the impassioned outcry of an inflamed citizenry compelled Ronald and Co. to ditch that zero and bring back our hero.) I've been known to go on runs where I'll have a couple of FOFs for lunch every day for a week or so. But there's no possible way on earth that I could even begin to calculate how many of the little round tartar sauce-smothered morsels I've eaten in my lifetime.

So how do we know this guy's story is legit? (For the record, I didn't buy Wilt's 20,000 "record" either. Everyone takes a day off sometime.) We demand proof. In the immortal words of Presidential administrations past, "trust, but verify."

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