Burger King's brilliant new idea: Unhappy Meals.
That's not what they call them, but it's clear that's what they mean. It's a shot at McDonald's Happy Meals, of course, which accommodate the needs of small children who want to halfheartedly interact with a plastic toy for an hour before it's sent off for eternal interment in a landfill. Instead of insisting that everyone act happy, millennials are stressed by debt and famine and plague and insufficient Instagram follower counts. We should be grateful a major corporation has recognized that we often feel miserable, indifferent and hostile.
There are five miserable varieties of the Unhappy Meals — the actual name is Real Meals — and, yes, this is all true:
• The P*ssed Meal. (I put in the asterisk because there should be some remnant level of civility in public discourse.) It's what you order when you're mad! Also hungry. How many times have you been spitting with fury over some slight or setback and thought, "Not only am I suffused with tingly rage, I'm starved! If only there was a prepackaged box of fats and carbs whose name was a synonym for urination!"
The word means "drunk" in English slang, which means that all fast food is the P*ssed Meal, but we'll let our friends across the channel sort that out.
• The Blue Meal. This is for when you're sad. Ordering it is tantamount to saying, "I am in a trough, a funk, a slough of despond, a melancholic soul adrift on a Sargasso Sea of thick ennui. Life is a lemon rind bereft of zest, a dank wind that barely stirs the tattered curtains of my ..."
The clerk is not going to ask you what's the matter. Oh, the automated kiosk might, and that's a nice dystopian vision right there: "You have selected the Blue Meal. Would you like to talk to someone about it? Yes / No"
You enter your e-mail or phone number, and for the next month all the ads on the websites you visit have an ad with cheerful people kayaking or sitting on the beach looking at the sunset with an expression of well-being. "Ask your doctor if ProBlissa is right for you. Side effects may include self-loathing, stomach upset, dry mouth. Or maybe that's just the Burger King food."
• Salty Meal. That's when you're feeling like you just can't hold in your sassy opinions and have to tell the world how you feel. This is for those days when it's obvious that your friend's Instagram is a lie. She's not that cheerful, and she's certainly not that nice. And those shoes in that one picture? She borrowed them from you. But if you say anything salty, she'll unfollow you, and that is the worst thing in the world ever.
(Here's a handy guide to worrying about being "unfollowed." Are you a Napoleonic commander leading troops deeper into the unforgiving Russian winter? If so, being "unfollowed" is a problem. Otherwise no.)
You have to admire the chutzpah, though: They actually think that calling a Burger King meal "salty" somehow sets it apart from the others.
• YAAAS Meal. This is actually the happiest of the batch. If you are not up on internet lingo, YAAAS is something said in affirmation, usually to a KWEEN, and preferably when they do something impressive, or SLAY. It is the term the groundlings use to bleat fawning admiration of a celebrity deity in a BuzzFeed comment thread. It also sounds like a long ripe burp you'd make after you drank the soda that comes with the burger.
• DGAF Meal. This is the one that intrigues me the most. What does that mean?
Die Gruesomely After Football? Do Gulp All the Fanta? Dasn't Grasp A Ficus? Digestive Gas Accumulates Fiercely?
Actually, it's (I) Don't Give a (bleep), the F standing for the word we expect to see on billboards by 2023, at the latest. I think this is the first time a major corporation has implied the F-word in their products, and on behalf of everyone looking forward to popular culture finally settling into the linguistic gutter like a boil-ridden subliterate easing himself into a warm bath, thanks for speeding up the process.
This is what you order when you are past caring about anything. In a way, it's brilliant: if they screw up — sorry, F up — your order, you've no standing to complain. If they give you cold fries, well, you oughtn't care, because you DGAF. The very act of complaining indicates that you do have F's to give.
The company says the new meals are "a natural extension of encouraging people to 'be their way' [by] encouraging them to 'feel their way.' "
Yes, this damned culture with its omnipresent repression, is discouraging people from feeling their way. We haven't had this much feeling of one's way since people tried to get topside from the lower decks of the Titanic.
More press-release yaaas-gas: "With the pervasive nature of social media, there is so much pressure to appear happy and perfect. With Real Meals, the Burger King brand celebrates being yourself and feeling however you want to feel."
Or, you could just grow up and not inflict your mood on the minimum-wage clerk taking your order.
By the way, all the meals are the same, but the boxes come in different colors.
The promotion is running in only some restaurants and isn't permanent, so you might want to call before you drive across town only to get p*ssed that you can't get a P*ssed Meal. It won't do you any good to whine to the corporate office. They DGAF.