After I wrote about routines on Friday, a reader reminded me of Don Gorske, and he in turn reminded me of Curtis Brooner.
“Who?” you might ask, quite reasonably.
Let’s start with Gorske, who made headlines a few years back for eating his 30,000th Big Mac, at a McDonald’s restaurant in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
They had a ceremony for him and everything. Do the math, and it turns out he’d eaten at least one Big Mac—often two or more—nearly every single day, dating back to the Nixon administration.
Even Michael "Jim" Delligatti, the franchisee who invented the Big Mac to begin with, said he ate no more than one a week. But Gorske, a retired prison guard who said he had both “obsessive compulsive disorder and a meticulous memory," skipped only eight days in 46 years.
Those eight days included:
once because an intense snowstorm left him physically unable to reach the restaurant, and
once on the day in 1988 when his mother passed on—which I suppose was a nice tribute, in a way.
A Big Mac has two 1.6-ounce beef patties, so as of his 30,000-burger milestone, Gorske had eaten more than 6,000 pounds of beef, which meant consuming nearly 17 million calories. Still, at age 64, he was reportedly slim and in good health.
He kept it up afterward—even getting an extra Big Mac to go during the same visit in which he got his plaque for consuming number 30,000. I’ve been unable to confirm whether the streak continued without exception during the pandemic, so let’s just move on to Brooner.
His story is about Burger King, specifically one in Wood Village, Oregon, in which he was locked in the bathroom once for an hour—not by choice—after the doorknob broke.
It was not a pleasant-smelling room to begin with. Eventually, he escaped, and as he sat in the restaurant afterward, trying to calm down, the store manager apparently told him, "Anytime you come in here, it's free meals on us."
"I eat at Burger King almost daily, and so I was grateful for the offer," said Brooner, who worked for FedEx near the restaurant, and who apparently had never read the late Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
(“I won't eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms,” Bourdain wrote. “This isn't a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms ... just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like.”)
But, Brooner took BK up on its manager’s free food offer. He never set foot in the bathroom again, but he ate lunch there every day for a week or so. At first, they didn't charge him, but eventually someone higher up in the executive food chain (sorry) cut him off.
So, Brooner sued for exactly $9,026.16, which is what his lawyer calculated as the cash equivalent of a Burger King Whopper Meal each week for the rest of the 50-year-old Brooner’s life expectancy.
In the end, Burger King just gave in, and paid Brooner the $9,026.16. It probably would have cost them a lot more than that just to have a few lawyers spend some time on it and show up in court.
Anyway, we all have our routines. And as comforting as they are, perhaps now would be a good time to break some of them? Maybe try a salad.
7 other things worth your time
CBS’s 60 Minutes had an intense report on systemic racism as a public health issue. One statistic that stayed with me: Black women with college degrees in the U.S. are more likely to see their babies die as infants than White women who didn't finish high school. (CBS 60 Minutes)
Almost 2/3 of Americans want to end lifetime appointments for U.S. Supreme Court justices, according to a new poll. However, “only 38% would support expanding the size of the court by adding four more justices,” as some Democrats want. (Reuters)
Police in Ontario said they won’t comply with a new authorization that would have them stop drivers randomly to ask whether they’ve left their homes for acceptable reasons during the Canadian province’s latest emergency stay-at-home order due to Covid. “The reality is, there are few options left,” said premier Doug Ford. (Bloomberg)
“Fairfax County prosecutors are moving to throw out more than 400 criminal convictions based on the testimony or work of a former patrol officer who is accused of stealing drugs from the police property room, planting drugs on innocent people and stopping motorists without legal basis, court filings show.” Among them: a District of Columbia firefighter who has spent the last two years in prison. (Washington Post)
Two people were dead after a Tesla Model S that was “on autopilot with no one driving,” according to authorities, crashed into a tree in a suburb north of Houston, and burst into flames with its two passengers — one in the back seat, and one in the right hand passenger’s seat — still inside. (Daily Mail)
Panamanian police intercepted “an unlikely smuggler, a fluffy white cat,” that had been loaded down with drugs, and used to smuggle them into a prison. People on the outside load the cats (apparently this has happened many times before), and prisoners on the inside lure them with food. (AFP)
You know what’s apparently pretty easy? Having one video blow up on TikTok, becoming a viral sensation, and getting millions and millions of views. Much harder? Doing it twice, since unlike most other social media platforms, TikTok’s algorithm is based on the virality of an individual video, not the creator or influencer’s track record. “That makes it easier for personalities to break out on TikTok, but leaves them wondering how to sustain their momentum.” (WSJ, $)
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