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McDonald’s needs to go big or go home

McDonald’s and I aren’t exactly homies.

When I was four, my father took me out for a Happy Meal. I dunked my Chicken McNuggets in a mystery sauce, savoring the flavor of poultry on more steroids than Barry Bonds.  But it wasn’t so savory when I woke up in the middle of the night in a pool of my own vomit.

Needless to say, I’ve mostly steered clear of the golden arches since then. Still, I’ve had a few midnight beer runs that evolved into dire cheeseburger cravings; as we all know, not everyone can say no to some good old McLovin’. But the some people seem to overdo the drive-thru. The nation’s fat, McDonald’s is to blame, yadda yadda. We’ve all watched Super Size Me and then gone out for a cheeseburger to stuff our fear of cankles.

So what does this emporium of crack-like calories do? McDonald’s started offering “healthier” options, such as nasty little bags of genetically modified apple slices instead of french fries in Happy Meals, which will be available in all restaurants as of Spring 2012. They handed out these same apple slices this past Halloween to trick-or-treaters, and they surely remained at the bottom of many unhappy kids’ pillowcase sacks.

I’d be pissed off enough if my parents took me as a youngster to McDonald’s to trick or treat. And if the underpaid adolescent cashier handed me apple slices? I’d throw them to the ground and storm out with my fairy princess tutu bouncing in rage.

Okay, it’s cool that McDonald’s is trying. But who goes to McDonald’s for a healthy snack?  McDonald’s has become that mouth-breathing kid who’s always trying to keep up with what’s hip to the jive. You know, the one wearing parachute pants without a hint of irony and purchasing Pogs when people are already reselling them on eBay — all while listening to Mariah Carey. Not cool.

McDonald’s either has to embrace who it is or shut down. Handing out shriveled up apple slices on Halloween or reducing the fry count in a Happy Meal isn’t going to cut it. People go to McDonald’s to get their Big Mac on, not to get pieces of suffocated fruit.

Eat your veggies, get some protein and indulge in that flax seed granola straight out of the local food co-op’s bulk bin. But once in a deep-fried moon, it’s okay to have a cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu. You may get some heartburn, but you’re not going to drop dead right then and there. Just don’t order any of Micky D’s fruit. That won’t make you healthier.