So a group of us are in the car the other night and one guy asks if we can't go get a burger. He really wants one because he can't get them at home anymore because his mom is scared about mad cow disease and now all she allows are veggie burgers. It doesn't matter that mad cow disease hasn't afflicted anyone in Texas yet; his mom says there's an incubation period of five to ten years and she's not taking any chances. The guy is six-foot-plus, a basketball player, and all he gets is a soy patty. Everyone in the car wants to know: His dad is okay with this? Well, yeah, his dad just jumps in his car when his wife is away and goes to a fast food place for a real burger. This guy doesn't have his own car, and needs help.
Which is how we find ourselves at a McDonald's drive-thru window at 10:30 at night. Unfortunately this heartfelt moment of group solidarity takes a left turn into Jack Nicholson land when one of the group tries to order a Mighty Meal with a hamburger. Like the no-chicken ("So okay, I'll order a chicken salad sandwich, toast the bread and hold the chicken") scene from Five Easy Pieces, we found ourselves subtracting to get to what we wanted.
Me, ordering for the car: I'd like a Mighty Meal with a hamburger.
McDonald's: I'm sorry, that doesn't come with a hamburger. It comes with a cheeseburger.
Voice from the Back of the Car: I don't want a cheeseburger, I want a hamburger. Me: That's okay, just take off the cheese.
Me: Just take off the cheese, then the cheeseburger will be a hamburger. McDonald's: We can't do that.
Me: Yes, you can. Honest.
The McDonald's folks are now a little jumpy and hostile (they've heard the laughter from inside our car through their speaker system). Might as well go for the daily double:
Me: I'd also like two double cheeseburgers, plain.
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McDonald's: Plain, what do you mean?
Me: Plain as in no lettuce or tomato.
McDonald's: Do you want a bun?
Me: (actually thinking this only): No, we'll just hold the meat patties between our knees. -- Margaret Downing