July 2010 Archives

To Whom it May Concern,

I am corresponding today to voice my extreme displeasure with respect to a recent experience at one of your fine dining establishments.

Only a few short weeks ago my offices dispatched a missive to your company in which I praised the mediocre perfection that is the Egg McMuffin, despite my better sensibilities. Those better sensibilities have finally won out: I withdraw my praise entirely.

I've been to McDonald's many times. As a child, I looked forward to McNuggets, McRibs, the quarter-pounder with cheese; when I traveled, it was McPork, McBier, "Oriental" McNuggets, and so on. Above all, though, I always had strong feelings for the Egg McMuffin.

Growing up, I lost my taste for your over-engineered food products and grew both weary and wary of your company. At last, I reached a point where I didn't like your food, or your ideology... but, I still loved your Egg McMuffin. It was like a dim-witted date who's kind of lousy at everything: pedestrian to the point of boring, inept, unattractive, generally unlikable, but sometimes just what the doctor ordered anyway. I couldn't help myself.

The superficial goodness of the Egg McMuffin sandwich is the product of careful balance between several otherwise utterly unappetizing components. It's a dance of opposites, a poem of contradiction, a still life that doesn't make any sense but is pretty anyway. It has an unholy, yet still divine synergy.

Just in review, let's consider the essentials involved in a nearly-perfect Egg McMuffin:

        1) Mealy, yet slightly toasted and lightly steamed preservative-laden
        English muffin with butter flavoring (very preferably with a few charry bits);

        2) Sickly-sweet mostly-melted American cheese product;

        3) Thin rind-on piece of flavor-treated Canadian bacon that
        invites comparisons to shoe leather;

        4) Puck-like, overcooked factory-farmed chicken egg, slightly
        greasy, under-seasoned;

        5) Butterlicious "compound";

Change any of these elements, though, and instead of inexplicable yet sublime Americana perfection, one has a horror dreadful: a Thing indicative of corporate conditioning, low expectations, unimaginative blandness, and such spirit-crushing soullessness that its abyssal depths would be so shallowly plumbed in evoking a expletive miasm that I won't bother. In short, you get something so unspeakably terrible that surely its likes could only be described in that dread tome of Abdul Alhazred, the "Necronomicon"-- if even he could have done it justice.

I'm afraid that's exactly what happened to me on my last visit to your (for tact's sake rather than the lack of a better word) "outlet". Had I known how my life would change as a result of that experience, I'd have sequestered myself in a locked cellar, chewed multiple tablets of rat poison, and chased everything down with cheap peach schnapps for as long as it took; this would have been vastly preferable to what actually happened.

Oh, sure, it came in a wrapper clearly labeled "Egg McMuffin", yet what horror lurked inside! The same stale, soggy-yet-crunchy English muffin, the same glue-like cheese product,  the same unnaturally perfect disc of tough, chemical-ridden ham-- yet, the egg! Oh, dear god, the egg! It was hideous! Some sort of wet, flavorless, folded skin of what might have once-- in the Dark Ages-- have hoped to become a scrambled egg! And then, there was the smell.

Did my senses deceive me? No. They were working overtime to warn me away from danger. Fighting all my instincts, telling myself "it will be okay", I took a bite-- and fell from the guilty height of genuine anticipation into a chasm of near-suicidal depression in just one instant.

It was as if the absence of the egg puck had somehow damaged the Ether itself, and the Universe's equilibrium at the location of the McMuffin had created a ley-point of cosmic retribution for my culinary sin.

From that first unfortunate taste, my hopefulness turned into terror. The egg unfurled deeply and forcefully into my mouth, violating my guts like the tentacles of a slime-dwelling Deep One, as the McMuffin's uglier side come out: it turned mean and aggressive. Like Roberto Duran facing down a hapless chump, the sandwich was going to slam me to the canvas for sure-- but not before it had also mocked, molested, punished, and humiliated me so badly that I could never face it again.

Instead of playing its manufactured-yet-silky richness against the too-firm, yet also erotically hot, slick, slightly-yielding egg, and a drug-like hit of ham flavoring all texturally tempered with an absorbing, vaguely toothsome breadishness, that insipid cheese product worked itself into my mouth like stale hide glue. My tender palette was brutally scraped with harsh chunks of scratchy old muffin, the spaces between my teeth spewed with a gum-scalding, pasty mortar of factory-farmed pig parts and hot grease, leaving behind only the aftertaste of Capitalism gone wrong.

In place of what I'd expected-- firm, resilient chewing pleasure followed by the vigorous satisfaction of swallowing warm McMuffin perfection, the scalding, soppy, gummy mess I barely could force down left me feeling used and guilty for ever allowing myself to get hungry enough to let the Golden Arches dupe me again. It was wretched.

Nothing can ever erase that day, McDonald's, and nothing can convince me to take back the Egg McMuffin and forgive the sort of pain and especially betrayal this bilious experience has made me feel. I can't understand what I ever saw in that sorry excuse for an egg sandwich, or in the chillingly over-pleasant d├ęcor of your yellowed cafeterias to begin with.

This has made me reconsider a lot. I can't take things back, but I can move on. I am explaining why I'm never returning, in the hope that maybe there's someone at your company who might listen and understand what I've gone through. I'd grimace, but your marketing department's already thought of that.

If life's too damn short to deal with the King, it's too short to spend dining with a Clown.

Sincerely,

_Jesse Williamson ;-};

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