Thursday, November 5, 2009
Addiction: A Prisoner in a Golden Fortress
I have an addiction. No, it's not drugs or porn or cutting or smoking. It's combo meals. It's hot, salty french fries. It's the fizziest Diet Coke imaginable. It's McDonad's. I am powerless against its Golden charms. Resist I may, but I'm lovin' it. Every time I walk by one of those red and yellow burger palaces, I am drawn in, be it grey rainy day or late night munchies. My locations of choice tend to be the Times Square/49th St location right near the subway (I'm defenseless!) and the 31st location right by the Broadway stop here in Astoria. I feel like Rapunzel in her tower, trapped in an impenetrable tower, though hers was the case of dark leafy greens, nature's bounty, and I am addicted to grilled and fried products meant to make you "happy." While my usual defenses can last a few days; walking different routes, cursing its corporate wickedness, going to the gym, trail mix on the run, and cooking at home; I am ultimately drawn back to the Golden Arches like a moth to the flame. Circle and dodge as I may, even I cannot resist its magnetic pull and soon enough, I am alone and defenseless at its grips. I rarely indulge in McDonald's (it sickens me to the say the name) in the company of others. Perhaps I am ashamed. Perhaps it fills the void left by my lack of friends (must these paper napkins dry my tears?). What is it about these golden french fries and marginally flavorful beef and chicken products, which put me into an immediate comatose upon ingesting?Since childhood, McDonald's has been viewed as a treat. Now that I am an adult and have a sizeable income in comparison to my younger years, I can "treat" myself whenever I like. What's the treat in overpriced (thank you New York) over processed nutrient lacking food ranging from blondest brown to the most amber yellow? I don't even get a toy when; I abandoned the Happy Meal years ago in my lust for more food. Amazingly, I am always sad when I have finished, like my friend has gone home. At times, I am tempted to get seconds! Maybe I really did need that Filet of Fish as well . . . No! Perhaps as an American this chemical addiction is implanted in my brain from birth, as if there were trace elements of the Declaration hidden in amongst the calories and saturated fat. When we were kids, we would trick (yes, deceive!) my sister by telling her everything we ate was McDonald's. Meatloaf? Fried chicken? Hamburgers from a myriad of restaurants were all "McDonald's." It even became code for a general lie. "Jessica, the dentist is fun!" my mother and aunt would say. Brow furrowed, they would yell "McDonald's!" to me, as not to ruin their game. Oh the deception! While they may parade that disturbing clown Ronald as their mascot, I believe the Hamburgler would make a more fitting spokesman, for all McDonald's does is commit crimes! In the case of my family, it even encourages them! With over 99 billion served, we wonder how the world got itself into such a state! This madness must stop! Given years of consumption, my ongoing McDonald's addiction will leave me looking a lot more like Ursual than Prince Eric. Now that I am in New York, my guilty pleasure is far more complex and troubling than ever before. For some reason, knowing you are ingesting 1000 calories (half the daily recommended amount?) takes the fun out of that white paper bag filled with goodies. Depressed, alone and unloved, I flock to McDonald's for comfort, only to be reminded by the best itself that I will never be pretty enough to live in Chelsea unless I rebuke the Devil and run now! As if a mere mortal like me could that. What kind of mental manipulation must I endure in order to reset this innate hard wiring, to convince myself that indeed spinach and yogurt and green tea and daily hourslong trips to the gym are really what I'm craving. "Kale, I'm lovin't it." The phrase just doesn't have the same ring. Of course, I could always switch to one of the 'lite' options, try a salad or apple dippers . . . as if that's why I came to the golden enclave. How shall I escape this predicament? this addiction? this sin? Like Paul, will this addiction forever by my thorn in the side? Alas, we must endure, we must resist, we must move on. We must get more chicken nuggets. Oh no. This is not going well. I'm famished.