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Supersize Me.
March 5, 2004

by Bill Hogan



Now, more than ever, it is necessary for me to hit the display button on my remote control to verify which channel I am watching. The story lines on ESPN are far too similar to those on CNN.

Allegations of rape, allegations of murder, federal drug trafficking charges, illegal drug use, sexual abuse and drunk driving aren't just front page news items any more; I have to read about them between box scores. And now there's this whole McDonald's thing; too much bad news.


In the coming months, McDonald's will be phasing out the consumer option of "Supersizing." By year's end, the gigantor size French fries and 42-ounce beverages will no longer be available to the (over) eating public.

The nation's largest fast food chain is doing this in an effort to help all the gluttonous, overweight people in America become more health conscious. I guess it's their way of telling us "o.k. you've had enough fried fat for one day – or at least for one sitting."

I'm quite relieved really. I've always had a big problem distinguishing whether I've eaten just enough or I'm gorging myself in unhealthy proportion. Too bad the same people that made the decision to downsize the fries can't stand behind me at Thanksgiving dinner and let me know when it's time to push myself away from the table.

This announcement came after the production of a documentary by Morgan Spurlock titled "Super Size Me." The filmmaker spent a month eating nothing but Mickey D's; capturing his dining experiences and deteriorating health on camera.

I'm no health expert, but I don't think it takes a feature film to drive home the point that eating Quarter Pounders and Sausage McGriddles at every meal for 30 days will make you sick. But then, anyone who hasn't already figured out that McDonald's is not a health food restaurant probably should have their eating habits – along with every other aspect of their daily lives – strictly supervised.

Only halfway through this column and I'm starting to feel the onset of a Big Mac Attack. It won't be long before I hit the drive-thru for a Number One Extra Value Meal – Supersized, while I still can.

One of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time was a McDonald's spot in 1993 that featured basketball super stars Michael Jordan and Larry Bird titled "Nothing but Net." The two players went head to head in a heated game of H-O-R-S-E.

With a Big Mac on the line for the winner the shots became more and more incredible. Remember? "Off the wall, over the rafters, off the backboard, nothing but net." MJ sealed the victory – and the two all-beef patties, etc. – when he drained one from across town.

A little far fetched, but very entertaining. Do you think that Jordan, at 6 feet 6 inches and Bird three inches taller, gave a second, health conscious, thought to having their post-game Extra Value Meals Supersized?

The "official drive-thru of NASCAR" has been a ubiquitous presence at sporting events for a long time. Long before the sign under the golden arches read "Over 1 Billion Sold." And they're not trying to lure football and basketball fans up to the window with the Grilled Chicken Ranch Salad or the Fruit Yogurt Parfait.

It's beef, cheese, fries and Cokes – and plenty of them – that gave rise to over 13,000 McDonald's franchises nation wide. And I've never seen an ad that boasted about the nutritional value of a Happy Meal.

I don't need some skinny health advocate telling me that too many French fries and too much soda is unhealthy. The way I don't need Anheuser-Busch producing 8-ounce cans of Budweiser to promote the concept of alcohol in moderation.

Is anyone addicted to nicotine going to smoke less if Phillip Morris starts distributing cigarettes in packages of 10? And how long do you think it will be before some group – looking out for our best interest – forces Outback Steakhouse to remove the 20-ounce Porterhouse from the menu?

I guess, come 2005, the only people speaking the words "Supersize me" will be athletes looking to purchase the latest, greatest, undetectable steroid. Of course, I can always go to Wendy's and have them "Biggie Size" me if I so choose. It is my choice, isn't it?

I don't watch the nightly news anymore because it is all McBad. SportsCenter is rapidly becoming just as depressing. Leave my extra fries alone.


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