This is so many kinds of messed up, I’m not even sure where to begin.
Let’s start with Gene.
This is a big weekend for Gene. He turned three score a few days ago and on Sunday, he’s running the New York City Marathon. I called to wish him a Happy Birthday, but a phone call seemed too ordinary to celebrate such a momentous occasion.
“Tell me how I can immortalize this and celebrate this with you,” I said to Gene over the phone.
He hemmed. He hawed. Then finally:
“You could eat a McRib for me.”
Now, I have never had a McRib in my life. For the uninitiated, let me explain. The McRib is a boneless rib-shaped pork patty dipped in tangy barbecue sauce with fresh onions and pickles, all on a bun. It also apparently has 500 calories — almost as many as the KFC Double Down.
I remember the McRib being sold when I was younger. But I’d never eaten one. I was happy back then with Quarter Pounders and
Chicken Nuggets. As I got older, I stuck mainly to fries and crispy chicken sandwiches ($1 menu, holla). So the idea of eating pork — not even BEEF — from McDonald’s just didn’t seem appealing to me.
“Are you sure?” I asked Gene, who, ironically enough, is a vegetarian.
“Yes,” he said. “You look like the sort of [expletive] who eats McRib sandwiches.”
He wouldn’t elaborate, but I’m pretty sure I should have been offended. I mean, exactly
what kind of person eats McRib sandwiches? Oddly enough, in the days after I accepted the challenge, Twitter exploded with people extolling the virtues of the McRib. Personally, the response I got as I told more people about it was less enthusiastic:
Said Tasha: “You’re going to destroy this delicious delicatessen by placing your ‘Mc’ in front of it.That’s unacceptable.”
Said @BelmontMedina: that is true friendship of a kind i am not even willing to contemplate.
I put it off long enough. It was Saturday and in less than 24 hours, Gene would be running his marathon. I needed to consume a McRib. And I needed to do it now.
I pulled into the McDonald’s on New York Avenue and looked for something to twitpic. If I was going to subject my stomach to the McRib, the world was going to know it.
As I waited to order, this man came up to the driver’s side of my car and asking me to spare $3 so he could get some food. I placed my hand over the $5 bill sitting in my lap and told him I didn’t have any change. What about $2? $1? I shook my head and told him I was paying with a card. He walked away dejected.
I took it as a sign of bad things to come.
“Welcome to McDonald’s, how may I help you?”
“Can I have a McRib,” I said, laughing. I honestly could not believe that I was actually ordering this monstrosity.
A few minutes and $3.02 later, I had the bag in my hands and rushed home to eat it. I opened the bag and pulled out the box. The words “Tangy Temptation” seemed to mock me from the cover. I had a feeling this was going to be neither. Inside, the sandwich actually doesn’t look horrible. But as soon as I opened the box, I didn’t smell barbecue sauce, instead, I was overwhelmed with the smell of pickles. I like pickles. *pause* So I continued.
I tentatively took a bite. The sandwich is mostly bread and those pickles. As I chewed the meat, I tried to find the words to explain what I was eating. The meat literally tasted like nothing. There were no juices, no flavor, no nothing. It tasted like thick, wet cardboard. Or, to put it another way, it tasted like those rib sandwiches you had in school lunch that no one ever really ate.
I think I was most disappointed – well, most is a relative term – at the sauce. It’s billed as tangy barbecue. It tasted less like barbecue and more like weak ketchup.
I ate it begrudgingly. I stopped after a few bites to look at what I was eating.
That wasn’t a good idea.
I kept eating.
Halfway through, my stomach started to growl as if in protest.
I forced myself to eat 3/4ths of it. But as I got down to the bottom half, the meat slipped out of the bun.
I didn’t have the heart or the desire to place it back and continue eating.
So I closed the box and threw away what was left.
About an hour later, my intestine still feels as if it’s going to revolt against me for forcing my stomach to digest a McRib.
In case I don’t make it, now, dear Gene, I ask a favor of you:
1. Kill this marathon tomorrow,
2. Never ask another human to consume the McRib in your honor ever again.