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My Dad vs. Ronald McDonald

My dad hates McDonald's. I'm using the word "hate" here. (to quote Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets)   I don't know where this hatred originated, but all I know is that the man hates McDonald's. (Maybe it's the whole clown thing)

He was so passionate about his disdain for this establishment, that each time my brothers and I took a trip to Italy and passed a McDonald's he would stop us mid-walk, pull whomever's arm was nearest to him and proclaim, "Italy is going down the drain because of McDonald's!" He would even spit on the ground and utter such blasphemies as "If Mussolini were in charge there would never be a McDonald's in Italy!" Over the years my brothers and I sort of got used to these aberrant rants and began to welcome the outbursts as a source of comic relief.

One day several years later we boys decided to fuel the fire by developing a clever scheme that would surely get our dad's blood boiling.   Earlier in the day we picked up some Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and fries. We ate most of the sandwiches but strategically left some in their open wrappers in the bag.  Our plan was to put the bag in the kitchen garbage so that the smell would penetrate the main rooms.  We even made sure that we didn't finish all the fries so that the bag would stink of that stale fried smell.

We selected our youngest brother to do the deed. He had no choice really. It wasn't a request. Reluctantly, my little brother placed the bag in the garbage can and joined us in the living room.We were pretending that nothing happened while we watched some T.V.

A few minutes later my father began to complain about a certain stench in the air.  We said we didn't smell anything. Again he complained, this time saying that the house smelled like a fast food restaurant.  He reminded us sternly that we were warned never to eat fast food in the house. EVER.

Our plan was working.  He kept lifting up his nose and audibly sniffing. He was literally making the sniff sound, and the sniff face (which was just an added bonus).  It was hilarious. He kept turning his head in different directions as if to follow the odor path.  We tried so hard not to laugh hysterically. But every time he would sniff, one of us would giggle.  Sniff-giggle sniff-giggle. We got him all worked up. But he still didn't think to check the garbage can.  Instead he kept sniffing while lecturing us about politics and that great Satan, McDonald's.

He kept this up for hours. He even feigned that he was about to throw up.  After eating our desert and having our espressos I boldly suggested that he should look in the garbage can to see if the source of the odor was in there.  When he was done foraging though the trash he picked up that damned brown McDonald's bag and held it up like a trophy.  He was furious, and demanded that the guilty party confess immediately. We couldn't in good conscience let the little guy take the whole rap so we all kind of confessed as one giggly, unified brotherhood.

Thankfully no corporal punishment was administered, but looking back a beating might have been preferable to the rambling lecture on the "pernicious nature of corporate greed in the fast food industry" that we had to endure for what seemed like hours.   Yes dad. We know.  We played a role in the destruction of the Italian culture by our support of the great Satan Mickey D's.  May God have mercy on our souls.

It wasn't worth it.  No more french fried pranks.



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