Some things should not have birthdays |

Some things should not have birthdays

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice

“Shhhh … I really want to watch this program,” Husband-Head insisted while we were watching the news after dinner the other night. “This is incredible.”

Husband-Head is not usually that excited about the news so I was curious as to what teaser had caught his eye.

Turns out, apparently some woman had purchased a Happy Meal at McDonald’s and – as an experiment – left it out on her counter to see how long it would last.

“It still looked the same after one YEAR!” Husband-Head cried in disbelief. “That’s DISGUSTING!”

Maybe so, and for some reason the experiment was way more fascinating to Husband-Head than, say, the other stories about health care reform or the state of the nation’s economy.

But this is also the same man who thinks people who eat bugs are funny. …

The Happy Meal experiment has turned out to be rather lucrative in that the woman, Joann Bruso of Parker, has since gained national and international attention, along with about 70,000 hits on her blog. She even posted an online story celebrating her Happy Meal’s birthday. “Happy Birthday dear Happy Meal, Happy Birthday to you!” Bruso wrote to the mini hamburger and fries on March 3, although we sincerely hope nobody was watching if she was singing to it.

“My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good,” she blogged. “It never smelled bad; the food did not decompose, and it didn’t get moldy at all.”

Enter the theme from the “Twilight Zone.”

Food – unless it is fake or covered in chemicals to be photographed for an advertisement or TV commercial – will normally go bad after a few days. If it doesn’t, it’s not natural.

Like Joan Rivers’ face or Pamela Anderson’s boobs …

Bread from the bakery, for example, is stale after a day or two. Thawed meat in the refrigerator is scary after a couple of days if it is raw and hasn’t been used. And fruit, especially berries, have probably the shortest lifespan of anything on the planet.

Personally, I try to throw out leftovers pretty quickly if we haven’t eaten them, but I’ll admit that sometimes I forget.

“Ewww … this looks like it’s growing its own legs,” Husband-Head said, poking through the refrigerator one time looking at an aging salad.

Pizza and Chinese food, however, don’t seem to get this criticism. In fact, they are deemed to be better the next day … why is that? But back to the obviously abused hamburger. This experiment was really pretty disgusting. Bruso’s relationship to her McDonald’s Happy Meal seemed to be almost … unnatural.

“This morning I took [the Happy Meal] off my shelf to take a birthday photo,” she wrote in her blog. “The first year is always a milestone. I gave it one of my world famous hugs as we’ve been office mates for a year now.”

This is precisely why prescription drugs were invented.

The point being, NOBODY should be hugging a Happy Meal hamburger no matter how old it is.

“It’s just wrong,” I said. “Hamburger-hugging – especially with one that has been sitting on a shelf for a year – should be a felony offense, in my mind.”

“I don’t know,” Husband-Head disagreed. “I’d like a hamburger-cam so I could just sit and watch the hamburger get old. I’d be fascinated with that.”

I looked at him in amazement.

“You would, wouldn’t you?” I said, shaking my head. “Just like you watch grass grow, snow melt and shellac dry. You’d be perfectly happy watching a piece of flesh age.”

He just raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t EVEN!” I warned, wagging my finger at him.

“That’s not what I was going to say,” he said with a laugh. “But remember when my mom made me eat rancid peanut butter that time when I was a kid? When she told me peanut butter doesn’t go bad? That was bogus. Because I know it was from the World War I rations that my grandfather brought home. …”

Apparently this particular Happy Meal looked just as good a year later as it did the day the woman bought it, leaving many to wonder if the burger had perhaps been injected with Botox.

Birthdays are a wonderful thing to celebrate as we make it yet another year. But maybe not when you’re a hamburger or a package of french fries.

That’s just not right.

Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Post Independent. Visit her website at to see more columns or to buy her book, “Skully Says Shut It!”

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