I was at a McDonald's the other day for breakfast with a friend.
I said to the cashier, "I'd like a sausage egg McMuffin and a cup of coffee".
"If you buy two sausage egg McMuffins you get the second one for only .25!" she said with a smile.
I pondered this terrific deal for a moment. It's a deal most people would not pass up. However, I stuck to my principles. "No, just one thank you".
"Would you like the McMuffin meal?" she asked. "It's ten cents less than coffee and a muffin but you also get hash browns!"
My instinct for "the deal" finally broke. "OK, I'll have the meal", I relented.
Now I'm sitting with my friend and hash browns I have no intention of eating when the realization hit me like a lightning bolt! "This is why Americans are fat!" I thought.
I made a mad dash to my cell phone to report my realization to Mayo (get it? Mayo?) Clinic, obesity researcher James Levine, M.D., Ph.D. Much to my dismay, scientists had already studied this possibility and debunked it.
"The amount of weight people gain really has nothing to do with how much they eat", Dr. Levine told me. "We suspect obesity in America is actually being caused by a virus that is affecting metabolism".
I immediately had another thought. "Those middle easterners have created some sort of virus that is making Americans fat!"
I knew at that moment that the hash browns and extra sausage egg McMuffin were innocent!
I discussed this possibility with my friend at the table as he finished off his McDonald's "Big Breakfast".
"Nah. People eat too much", he said as he let out a notch on his belt.
Someday we will know for sure. I gave my hash browns to the sea gulls in the parking lot.