Flippin’ Burgers Spo-de-o-de.


Flippin’ Burgers Spo-de-o-de.


R.E. Prindle


     I don’t really get around so I don’t often get out to see some change that I can believe in.  I did today.  I was driving down the street in my little Japanese gas sipper, no cash for clunkers for me, I saw that change coming forty years ago, when I noticed a new burger joint called Five Guys.  Stupid name, I thought, but I’ll check it out.  It was lunch time and let me tell you, the joint was jumpin’.  Made MacDonald’s look like it was standing still.  Wow! I thought.  What’s going on here?

     The decor was the familiar public toilet style.  Concrete floors and white tiles with a few black ones interspersed on the walls.  Now, let me set the stage.

     About 1958 MacDonald’s changed the mental outlook of the US setting the stage for the so-called cultural revolution of the next forty years.  Prior to MacDonald’s one ordered one’s hamburg with the condiments of one’s choice, as in a burger with mustard and onions only.  When MacDonald’s arrived it was ‘their way or the highway.’  There was only one burger offered and that was with everything.  This was the cultural revolutionary mindset that made the subsequent forty years possible.  There was only one way.  I chafed but as the saying goes; I had to ‘go with the flow.’  No choice.  Since 1958 we have gone with the flow no matter what.  Barry’s Boys are now counting on this.  You bigots!

      Assuming Five Guys served the same I stepped to the counter and asked for a burger.  ‘What do you want on it?’  She said.  I looked at her blankly, uncomprehending.  ‘What do you mean?’ as a good Macdonalder, I said.

     She pointed to a board like I was stupe with  a list of condiments on it.  I looked around again.  Then I realized I was in a time warp, this was the early and mid-fifties all over again.  Well, I’d been there before, I knew what to do.

     I looked over at the burger flippers and assemblers and Holy Tomato!.  I couldn’t believe I was in America.  It was like a tornado had dropped me down in a foreign OZ.  All the flippers and assemblers, all the help in fact, was White.  Instead of a a bunch of losers they were very presentable.  Most of them looked like they had held a job before and actually had developed work habits and had some pride.

     Now this was a change I could believe in.  Barry had destroyed the economy and put enough people out of work so that the employee pool had improved considerably.  Whoever said Barry was all bad?  I had, actually, but now I had to eat my words.  Apart from the toilet decor, the Five Guys must be gay, this was a pleasant eating experience.  Well, you know.

     I realized that as successful as these guys seemed to be MacDonald’s once so revolutionary would have to bow to the reactionary flow and offer a selection of condiments.  The fight once won was now lost.  The victors had become the vanquished and vice verse.  The first had become the last in tandem.

     As I ate I thought.  Perhaps this change I could believe in didn’t bode well for Barry and his Boys.  Just as MacDonald’s had imposed burger supremacy on the country in’58 making Barry possible fifty years hence perhaps this new burger diversity indicated that the flow necessary for Barry to succeed had been reversed.  Perhaps independence of spirit was returning with an independent mindset obstructing the flow into diverse channels.

     Look out Barry!  Whether you know it or not you’ve lost the fight.  You’re out of time, my baby.


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