Supersize It!

By Jason Menard

Our super-sized world is shrinking, but it’s not only McDonald’s portions that are getting smaller – it’s also our ability to choose for ourselves.

The announcement that McDonald’s stores south of the 49 th parallel will be removing the super-size options on its menu adds yet another nail to the coffin that I hope our dear old friend Common Sense is desperately trying to claw its way out of. Of course, perhaps Common Sense has simply given up the fight.

I say, go the other way and make mega-sized fries. Mega, Gigantic, Enormous, Ultra Massive — use whatever hyperbolic phrase you can come up! Make a drink so large that it comes with its own diving board. I think McDonald’s should be allowed to do whatever it pleases with its menu. After all, no one’s forcing you to buy the larger sizes.

There’s where the problem lies. I’m not a McDonald’s fan, but I have eaten there on occasion. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never walked through the Golden Arches thinking that I was going to get a healthy meal out of the experience. And the same can be said for any fast food restaurant. I’m not going there for the health – I’m going there to satisfy some craving or another, and none of them are healthy.

But that’s my choice. As an adult – and as an adult making food decisions for my family – I should have the right to whatever food I want. It’s not like a militia of Ronald McDonalds drag me to the counter and stuff the food into my mouth against my will. McDonald’s food can only make you fat if you make the choice to purchase it and eat it to excess.

Our North American society seems to be moving to one where the decisions are made for us. Thanks to Janet Jackson’s nipple, many live broadcasts have moved to a time-delay on live broadcasts to prevent unsavoury material from reaching my sensitive eyes.

Excuse me? I’m supposed to allow some over-cautious television executive decide what is appropriate to watch? When did I abdicate my rights as a human to the concept of free thought? I have the best seven-second-delay mechanism at the ready at all times – it’s called a remote. If I don’t like certain programming, or find something that offends me, I have a bunch of other channels ready to court my viewing time.

And really, determining what’s offensive is a matter of personal taste. I personally find the mindless drivel and milquetoast humour that makes up Everybody Loves Raymond an assault on my intelligence. However, I’m pretty sure the guy with his finger on the delay button would feel pretty safe taking a nice half-hour nap if that show was broadcast live. On the other hand, certain shows that I find exciting and dynamic could give that same guy a Repetitive-Stress Injury on his trigger finger.

As a parent, I restrict the type of shows my children are allowed to watch. I don’t need a V-chip or blocking device – they’re only allowed to watch certain shows. Now, because I don’t feel a certain show is appropriate for my kids, that doesn’t mean the show should be pulled off the air. I don’t want someone else making those decisions for my family. My wife and I should make those decisions and its our job as parents to explain why we feel a certain way. God forbid we actually open up a dialogue with our children and engage them in free thought!

That’s the wonderful thing about being humans. The freedom to choose and the freedom to form our own opinions sets us apart from the world’s other animals. We live in a society that prides itself on these freedoms, but then we willingly allow others to tell us what to do, what to eat, and what to watch, and I can’t understand that.

So McDonald’s Canada please continue to super-size your meals, and I’ll continue to not buy them. And let live shows be truly live – if I’m worried about potential content, then I’ll simply change the channel.

But allow me the right to choose for myself.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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