I Left This Happy Meal Out for Years—It Was Perfectly Preserved and F**king Delicious


If you have kids, the backseat of your car probably looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland for anthropomorphic snack creatures and abandoned single socks. Yesterday, I had the chance to clean my Honda for the first time since 2011, and I came across the familiar shape of an origami house with Golden Arch handles—A Happy Meal.

Everybody’s favorite obese, purple triangle, Grimace, graced the side of the box and invited me to peek inside. What I discovered was astounding: a perfectly preserved cheeseburger, fries, and drink.

I ran my fingers over the bottom of the bun and located the proverbial white air bubble found on every McDonald’s burger I’ve ever consumed (I believe it is a magical valve through which Ronald McDonald pumps MSG and opiates into his cuisine). The air bubble was a nostalgic part of my childhood—like He-Man or the non-sexy version of My Little Pony. Its never-changing shape was as impeccably formed as He-Man’s pageboy haircut. Sinking my teeth past the sesame seeds awarded me the same warm fuzzy feeling that The Masters of The Universe lead must get from his furry boots and loincloth.

The cheese maintained its completely natural neon-yellow color while the meat was chewy in texture and salted like jerky from the Oregon Trail. Atop the beef perched the requisite two pickle slices, fifteen translucent onion cubes, and stingy dollop of ketchup.

Nowadays Happy Meals come with perpetually young apple slices that do not oxidize when exposed to the atmosphere because they’ve been soaked in a packet of Rodan & Fields face cream. However, in 2011, the side dish was always French fries—and boy was I grateful for that! As I gobbled up the deep-fried potato strings, it occurred to me that the most French thing about them was that they had gone on strike from their work at decomposing.

“Je t’aime, mes pommes frites!” I declared, after which they belittled my attempt to speak their language and responded to me in churlish English. It felt like I was in Paris!

Though the small soda was no longer fizzy, it remained as refreshing as ever. As an added bonus, the urine it produced chiseled away the stubborn hard water stains from my toilet bowl.

Happy Meal toys are known to be suitable for children as young as those who assemble them in the McSweatshop. The trinket in my meal was a plush animal from Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. As luck would have it, Ice Age 37: Why Aren’t We Extinct Yet? came out in January, and the characters remain relevant to my children in 2016. Ray Romano knows that the Ice Age franchise is a moneymaker, so he keeps his woolly mammoths preserved by feeding them McDonald’s Happy Meals.

The next time I tidy my vehicle, I hope I find a McRib. After all, it is a limited-edition sandwich that only appears on the McDonald’s menu about ten times as frequently as I clean my car.


About the Author

Crystal Lowery is an American mom working in England. By day, she does medical research, by night she wrangles two toddlers, a boy and a girl. She has made millions laugh on The Huffington Post, Scarymommy, For Every Mom, In the Powder Room, Mumsnet and others. You can find her blogging at Creepy Ginger Kid and she’d love for you to follow her on Facebook.