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Monday, February 18, 2008

A Forensic Look at McDonald's Woman

I wanted to extend my congratulations to the woman who recently gave birth in a McDonald’s restroom with a sixteen-year-old employee in attendance, if you want to call shouting to the 911 operator oh my god oh my god she’s having a baby being in attendance. Fortunately, all ended well, concluding 2007 with what I would rank as the quote of the year: First, I need you to take the baby out of the toilet.

I do have some concern about the infant, who will one day be old enough to understand that he was born in a toilet, not to mention in a McDonald’s.

Will that somehow affect his self-esteem?

It is reported that the mother did not know she was pregnant. Disbelieve it if you will, but I have it on good authority, straight from MSN, and therefore am sure that the account is credible. I admit, I’ve heard similar stories in the past, and – no doubt like you -- supposed they were just myth, the female answer to the Big Fish That Got Away. But I can no longer dispute the evidence that there exists a genetically distinct breed of women who walk among us. I shall call this evolutionary anomaly the McDonald’s Woman, after the place where the latest specimen was discovered (along the tradition of the Pitcairn Man and Azikh Woman). It will take further study to determine if this reflects a separate branch of the human family that has existed, over millennia, side-by-side with the garden-variety human, or if these women are indeed the recipients of random mutations, along the lines hypothesized in Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. If so, and if Darwin is correct in his other premises, these women and their descendants are sure to rise to the top of the genetic pool. The rest of us and our lines are doomed.

But be glad. Be very glad.

In days gone by, mothers often wept when they gave birth to girls, for they knew that their daughters’ lives were destined to be difficult, full of big bellies and swollen ankles, often terminating at an early date in what was then euphemistically referred to as her Hour. (My own Hour always tended to be Hours, twenty-four of them on the first occasion, which was a bit long for any activity which precludes sleep or comfort.) Modern medicine has done little to address or alleviate the symptoms of pregnancy: big bellies, swollen ankles, and tinderbox emotions are still a staple. Modern women, however, do have new options. When it comes to pregnancy, they can just say “no”. Consequently, although women still cry upon giving birth, it’s not their daughters they are thinking about.

The net result of these factors is that women are having fewer babies. This practice is so trendy that in some countries the population is in a downward spiral.

Now, along comes a new breed of women who not only skip all the usual symptoms of pregnancy, but walk into a McDonald’s bathroom and fifteen minutes later come out carrying a new baby, neatly swaddled in double-ply biodegradable paper towels. I mean, what’s not to like?
Given, they might accumulate fifteen or twenty children in this manner, and have to move out of their two-bedroom apartments, but perhaps the government could step in and subsidize this production. It would relieve all other persons of the awkward, exhausting and painful task of repopulating the world, which – let’s fact it – has fallen disproportionately on females throughout history. Now we have a new brand – superwomen – McDonald’s Woman.

The only drawback I see for our McDonald's woman is the task of explaining to the grandparents. I imagine the next call to the old folks at home going somewhat as follows:

“Oh, by the way, Dad, I had a baby yesterday.”

“You what?”

“A baby. I had a baby at McDonalds.”

“You saw a baby at McDonalds?”

“No, I got one.”

“A beanie baby?”

“No, a real baby.”

“They’re giving out babies at McDonalds now? What’s wrong with those cheap plastic toys that fall apart after an hour and end up floating around in the gulf stream for the next hundred thousand years? You couldn’t get one of those?”

“No, no, you don’t understand, I had a baby … it came out of … you know, me.”

“You…oh my God, Martha, she says she had a baby at McDonalds. What? Okay, okay, you talk to her. I can’t understand what she’s trying to tell me anyway.”

“Oh, hello, dear. Now what’s this about a baby?”

“I had a baby yesterday, in the toilet at McDonalds.”


“Well, isn’t that nice. Perhaps you can bring him by so we can meet him.”

After hanging up. “Oh, dear, Henry, it seems we’re grandparents. Our daughter gave birth yesterday.”

“What?! Well, I warned you, Martha, didn’t I warn you? You should have told her the truth a long time ago. All that nonsense about storks and cabbage patches. Now look what’s come of it!”

“Oh, Henry, I do regret it, but it’s too late now. I should have warned her about McDonald’s.”