Affirmations in My Food

Jules: Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France?
Brett: No.
Jules: Tell him, Vincent.
Vincent: Royale with Cheese.
Jules: Royale with Cheese! Do you know why they call it a Royale with Cheese?
Brett: [pauses]…Because of the metric system?
Jules: [impressed] Check out the big brain on Brett!

—Pulp Fiction (1994)


Not Pictured: Le Big MacSo the other night I was more or less on my own with regard to dinner. I was in one of those “eh…I could eat” moods, which means that I wasn’t really craving anything in particular. My time was growing short, so I defaulted to a local McDonald’s.

(I was going to tell you which McDonald’s it was, but on the off-chance that someone could get in trouble for this, I’m not gonna snitch.)

Typically, when I go to McDonald’s I get some version of a chicken sandwich. Not because it’s any healthier than the other menu options (because, let’s face it), but I’ve got myself into a place where I’m thinking it’s somehow less unhealthy. How’s that for convoluted logic? Be that as it may, I decided that while I wasn’t in the mood for anything in particular, I was definitely not in the mood for a chicken sandwich. So I went with a burger, specifically a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

McDonald’s has a two-for-one thing going on lately with those burgers; I’ve found that if you order the Value Meal, it’s a crapshoot with regard to whether you’re going to get one sandwich or two. Some places give you the BOGO only if you buy a la carte. This appears to be one of those places. At any rate, I got my sandwich, picked up my condiments, filled my soda cup and headed over to a table.

Like most of America, I usually open the burger box, then dump the fries into the lid to help contain them a little bit. However, I didn’t do that this time and this is why: when I opened up the box, I discovered a message on the inside of the lid.

It's like Hidden Pictures from Highlights Magazine.

Dear whoever receives this

message: Learn to Love

yourself! For you are your

Future!! Have a Great

Day! (smiley face)


Well. How can I dump my fries on that?

I actually spent a decent portion of my meal pondering this message. There’s nothing new about it, especially if you’ve been to any graduation ceremonies in the last few weeks; most of them sound just like this. And you don’t even get a cheeseburger to help you ruminate on what you’ve just seen.

I decided that it’s just kind of cool that some employee in the back of a McDonald’s somewhere in Maryland took the time to send an affirmative message to someone they’ve never met. And I think, in the future, I’ll be looking a little harder for the messages that are in front of me but haven’t made themselves fully obvious yet.