Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whatever Happend to Mayor McCheese?

I was in McDonald's the other day (and lest ye judge me, I was there with my daughter as a reward for her being very good during a day of necessary shopping) when I noticed something. It wasn't the expanding waistlines that make for a nice physical model of the expansion of the universe and/or demonstration of how the bigger the object the bigger the gravity it has. It wasn't the secretly addictive power of the Shamrock shake. Nor was it the woman who looked entirely too much like she would have been at home on the cast of Jersey Shore. Which no, I don't watch, but I'm not completely ignorant. This woman belonged to the tribe of Snooki, and it was far, far scarier to observe in real life.

This isn't about any of that. No, this is about something far, far more sinister. This is about missing people. Missing, important people, and how despite their conspicuous absence no one acts like they are missing, and no one's mounted an investigation or anything else. It's almost a conspiracy of silence, and its victim is Mayor McCheese.

I don't remember the last time I saw him, or some of the other McDonald's anthropomorphic menu items that have also slipped away along the wayside. (Talking chicken McNuggets, anyone?) For that matter, I don't remember the last time I saw any of the McD's crew, other than their eternal leader, in any television commercial. I could be rational here, and point to the changes overall in advertising, particularly children's advertising, that has become necessary as the Saturday morning bloc of cartoons broke up and the target demographic scattered across the cable channels, many to networks that run limited - if any - commercials during their programming for the younger set. Or how changing ideas on proper diet and exercise have also taken their toll, and a visible symbol of greasy caloric consumption probably sends the wrong kind of message.

I could, but that would be less fun. And absent an official announcement from the Powers That Be, I'm going to go with the more nefarious explanation.

Mind you, not all of the mascots have vanished. Grimace, Birdie, even the Hamburglar can still be seen painted on the walls of the various Playplaces, or they turn up on the in-house items. They may not get their moment on the television screen anymore, but they are still around. Contractually bound to silence, or perhaps threatened with the same fate as the Mayor should they attempt to break ranks.

Maybe this, then, is the story of the lone dissident, the one who would not go quietly. A mayor of a land whose silence would not be bought (obviously not a Chicago mayor), who refused to be intimidated when others came to shush him, and who paid the ultimate price for it, being buried unceremoniously in an unmarked grave in some landfill, forever preserved in a giant version of those styrofoam containers McD's used to package all their products in. Maybe Mayor McCheese paid the ultimate price for his integrity by being tossed, piece by piece, to a flock of ravenous seagulls or park pigeons.

If so, I'm willing to bet his fate was meant to serve as an example to the rest of them: cooperate, tow the corporate line, OR ELSE. Hence the Fry Guys went quietly, and Hamburglar hasn't stolen a thing in years. Grimace keeps his politically incorrect overweight self well out of the spotlight, and Birdie has been encouraged to fly south and stay there, except for the occasional public appearance or photo op.

And the orchestrator of all this? The person behind this scheme, so callously disposing of once beloved icons behind the scenes? Well, ask yourself? Who has the spotlight all to himself now?

Oh sure, it can't be him, you say. To which I reply: he is a clown, after all. And we all know, when clowns go bad, they go really, really bad.

So, I say we should observe a moment of silence for Mayor McCheese, to take a brief pause and remember a man/food item of integrity, who paid the ultimate price for his principles.

And then I'll take mine with extra pickles, please.

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