No McDonald’s sandwich is ever worth five-dollars, but I had a coupon. I’ll buy just about anything if it’s on sale. Guess what! No two McDonald’s sandwiches are ever worth five-dollars.
It was the name of the sandwich that puzzled me, the “Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich.” Artisan? Does that mean that only the manager handles my sandwich ingredients?
“How is this artisanal?!” I asked in a confrontational tone that demands speedy service, demonstrates my masculinity, and ensures that nobody spits in my food. I know this works, because everyone does it. Behaving this way can’t just signify an infantile temper tantrum solely intended to get free food and dehumanize the employees.
“Let me show you,” the manager said. She led me to a backroom where a wizened old man sat on an antique stool before a rickety workbench. “This is Alphonse Schlemiel. He handcrafts all of our artisan sandwiches.”
“Wackelpudding,” he said by way of introduction.
The old man hammered a chisel against a solid block of frozen chicken breasts. He worked swiftly, like an ice sculptor, until a single white meat breast with rib meat fell away from the conglomerated mass. He then flipped down a magnifying lens from the complicated headset (any steampunk’s wet dream) that he wore and set to work with a much finer chisel, removing various tumors and imperfections.
“Zere ve go. Perfektion,” Alphonse said. He delicately placed the chicken in a gold-plated George Foreman grill, sprinkled some turmeric on it, and then set to work preparing the bun and condiments. “I am a god — nein, I am der Gott des Huhns! Such power . . . mein schwanz verhartet.”
The man enjoyed his work. I watched as he used a set of silver tongs to lift a slice of lettuce from a box labelled, “WARNING: Artisanal Lettuce. Do not mix with shredded iceberg lettuce. Anoint with vinaigrette before serving.”
“Our tomatoes,” the manager explained, “are from the local farmer’s market.”
“What about the buns?”
“They are artisanally baked in an artisanal factory by a team of artisans manning artisanal machinery built by artisan children in China. Artisan.”
“Wow, I have to admit that I was wrong about this sandwich,” I said to myself — not out loud, but like Daniel Stern narrating the Wonder Years. Nobody could hear me. Nobody. I laughed about that, out loud, and the manager shot me a quizzical look, as though she suspected that I’d had an epiphany. It hurt my feelings to think that she was laughing at me, rather than with me, internally.
I left. Went home. Disco dance, fun time! Too bad the sandwich tasted so awful.
The End . . . or is it?