Fortunately, I have never had to write a eulogy for anyone, so when it was suggested that I write a eulogy on the one year anniversary of the disappearance of the McDonald’s french fry vending machine, I was a little apprehensive. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that there was something special about this machine that had nothing to do with it’s timely and convenient way of dispensing of fries. Everyone remembers the first time they saw the french fry machine. But even before the first time they saw it, people remember the first time they smelled it, and the five minutes earlier when they first felt its heat radiating into Wilson Commons. When the machine came to campus, there was a lot of buzz around its arrival. Some people loved the concept of fries from a machine. Others hated the commercialism that it brought to campus. But all were curious. I remember my first time. I was with a person from out of town. As we fought over whose school was the best, I mentioned the french fry machine. He told me to prove it. We drove over from Eastman at two in the morning. I’ll admit the fries weren’t anything like McDonald’s fries. Hell, they weren’t even good. But there was something extremely satisfying about getting french fries out of a machine complete with a packet of salt, ketchup and a plastic fork.When I bring up the vending machine, most people are willing to share their memories of the machine. One friend remembers coming here on her freshman orientation and having her picture taken next to it. Some remember how horrible the library smelled after it was installed. Some people fondly remember the option of adding a coke to their order to make a combo. I remember debates on how the fries were actually made.Around this time last year, the french fry machine disappeared. No one is sure where it went. Even the people at McDonald’s customer service hotline are not sure of its whereabouts. It seems that the fry machine left as quickly as it arrived.So, why is a french fry machine worthy of a tribute? This isn’t just about a vending machine. It’s about the impact that this vending machine had on campus. In a campus where apathy is more prevalent than Beirut at a fraternity party, everyone had an opinion on the McDonald’s vending machine, and the great majority of people voiced their opinions. If something as trivial as a vending machine can make people open up their eyes, ears and mouths – no pun intended – then there is hope for us when more important issues arise.Gorode can be reached at kgorode@campustimes.org.



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