The end of the world?

Everyone has a McDonald’s story. Here’s mine.

I spoke to my mum this morning. She and dad were on a train in Cornwall on their way to the Scilly Isles. As well as making me feel terribly homesick, mum also reminded me of the crazy place that I now call home. She was reading an article in the newspaper about Baltimore and how it is the most dangerous city in America. Much as I would like to say that it’s just crack-heads in the ghettos, the news last night about a murder in the suburban mall kind of disproves that. But I have a theory why Baltimore is so dangerous: its McDonald’s restaurants are bust.

It is said that two countries that have McDonald’s won’t go to war, that McDonald’s is the uber-symbol of a benign globalization which actually brings countries closer together. With that in mind I now know why young Baltimorean men like killing each other: they can’t get a good hamburger. Last week, I went down to the Inner Harbor with the family. We were heading for the National Aquarium and decided to have a bite to eat at McDonald’s. For the first time in my McDonald’s life, this restaurant was almost completely off-line. No burgers, no fries, no salads, no ice (shock!), just McNuggets. Can you believe such a thing? A McDonald’s without food? And to make matters worse, the staff didn’t really care. It’s a fine line, ladies and gentlemen, between no McDonald’s and the apocalpyse. Baltimore and Iraq are fine examples.

Of course, countries with McDonald’s do go to war like Serbia and the United States. But this is not the post to bash McDonald’s. After two weeks of eating kebabs in eastern Turkey, and with a little boy who simply wouldn’t eat the local fare, seeing the Golden Arches in Kayseri was a godsend. The look of pleasure on the face of my Canadian Jewish friend in Jerusalem as he bit into his kosher Big Mac was an unforgettable moment.

The cost of a Value Meal in Bel Air, Maryland where I work? Two pounds fifty. No wonder they don’t kill each other in Bel Air. Baltimore and Baghdad, take note.

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