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Every 14-year-old boy knows that Cinemax turns to “Skin-e-max” after 1 a.m., that most local police shifts end at 3 or 4, and that, well, sometimes, the best things in life aren’t on the menu. I don’t remember when I learned about The Bucket, but it wasn’t from my blurred vision desperately scanning the too-bright menu for something that appealed to my intoxicated stomach, nor was it from the peppy ads and their catchy, skatted melodies.

We can only hypothesize how the 50 McNugget snack came to be. Personally, I prefer to imagine a crave-driven fratboy, looking for a feat to impress his bros, slurred something along the lines of: “Fifftee eamn danuugget” to a disgruntled McDonald’s employee and, rather than correct this asshole for the hundredth time, he found a bucket and told the cooks in the back to fill ’er up. From there the legend of the 50 Bucket spread via fraternity listservs and grease-stained evidence left in fluorescent hallways, stacked atop Busch Light cardboard already overflowing 50-gal. trash cans.  

Some naysayers will claim that The Bucket is clearly meant for groups of hungry people looking for a discount (less than 23 cents per McNugget), and perhaps even words like “Tailgate” or “party-sized” will be weakly tossed about. But if you could only look out from behind the counter, blocking out the laughter and taunts of his fellow bros, you would see the heart of the challenge, the most human of engagements, in the cold, hard eyes of the one brave enough to take on the beast unaided.  

To wit, a breakdown of what our hero will consume:

• 2,300 calories.

• 6.25 mg iron (50 percent daily value).

• 145 g fat (220 percent DV).

• 120 g protein.

• 350 mg cholesterol (115 percent DV).

• 5,000 mg sodium (212.5 percent DV; more than two teaspoons of salt).

• Net weight: 1.75 pounds.

“[Students] get it in groups, during parties, mostly at night,” said McDonald’s manager Sara Gonzalez, through a translator, pointing to the new cardboard box that the 50 nuggets come in nowadays subtly displayed on top of a piece of the stainless steel kitchen furniture with the price written in Sharpie—the only visible advertisement.

By box or bucket, I entreat you to stop by our most global of on-campus eateries and, if complete sentences fail you, merely grumble the words “50” and “nugget.” You’ll definitely regret it. But if nothing else, you’ll have ordered off the menu.


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