What’s More American than Eating 25,000 Big Macs?
On May 17, 1972, Don Gorske fell in love. Not with a woman, man, or animal, but with a sandwich. Over the past 39 years Gorske has dedicated nearly his entire appetite to two all beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun. In a demonstration of fierce loyalty and aided by his obsessive-compulsive disorder, Gorske is on pace to eat his 25,000th McDonald’s Big Mac today.
It started nearly four decades ago, at the age of 19, when the Wisconsin native stopped for lunch at a local McDonald’s after buying his first car. That day Gorske devoured nine Big Macs, and over the course of the next month he consumed 265 altogether, over 140,000 calories. Since then, McDonald’s has become sort of a second home to Gorske, visiting the fast food giant all but nine days in the past 39 years. He used to save his used Big Mac boxes, but now he only collects the receipts – he has over 10,000 of them.
His first love of Big Macs led Gorske to meet second love, his wife Mary, to whom he’s been married since 1976. They met at McDonald’s, and a few years later he proposed in the parking lot. At the wedding he ate a Big Mac to calm his nerves.
He was featured in Morgan Spurlock’s award winning documentary “Super Size Me” for his Big Mac eating prowess. And most amazingly, the 6 foot 2 inch 57-year-old weighs in at a lean 185 lbs.
According to the McDonald’s nutrition chart, Gorske has consumed 13,500,000 calories from Big Macs. The USDA’s recommended intake of calories per year is 803,000. Meaning Gorkse has consumed over 16 years of recommended calories purely in Big Macs. The statistics of his Big Mac intake, which he estimates makes up 90 percent of his diet, are both mind bogglingly impressive and extremely disgusting.
But most of all, Don Gorske’s feat of 25,000 Big Macs is unquestionably American. In recent memory there has not been a better example of pure American excess than Gorske inhaling his 25,000th Big Mac. Americans are known for obesity as a result of gorging on too much fast food. We are a country filled with people who don’t know, or care to know, the meaning of “too much.” There’s no such thing as too much food, money, alcohol, sex or Facebook friends. And we work hard in an effort to indulge our every whim, desire and appetite.
Sometimes there are consequences for our innate American greed and entitlement. Sometimes the land of the free can lead us to make some questionable life decisions. Normally, eating 25,000 Big Macs would result in obesity, poor health, and a seriously thinned out wallet. But Don Gorske is an anomaly: he has his health, a loving wife, a job and never has to worry about what he’s doing for lunch.
In other words, he’s living the American dream.