His local McDonald’s, where his picture hangs on the wall and where he is greeted by name, celebrated with a sign on its marquee.
Gorske’s explanation for his unusual habit is as simple as it is heartfelt. “The first time I ate one I thought it was simply the best food ever,” he says. And so he continued to eat them. And eat them. He swears that each one – the double stack of beef patties topped with cheese and the chain’s special sauce – is as good as the first. “I never tire of it,” he said.
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Gorske’s status as a superfan is official: The Guinness Book of World Records first recognized him in 1999 for the most Big Mac burgers eaten in a lifetime, 15,490. Guinness has updated his title in August, when his number reached 32,340.
Gorske – who was interviewed in the 2004 documentary ‘Super Size Me,’ in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate McDonald’s for a month and cataloged its ill effects – insists the habit hasn’t affected his health. He never goes to the doctor, he says, but has his cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly, and both are good.
He views his habit as a gift to his wife, a nurse practitioner who doesn’t share his diet but has never had to cook for her husband. The stove in their kitchen “looks like the day we got married in 1973,” he says.
In addition to his beloved Big Macs and Cokes, he eats healthy. The night before, Gorske had eaten two Big Macs, one for lunch and one for dinner, with asparagus from the garden his wife maintains in their yard. He ate a banana for an evening snack. He hardly ever orders fries and eats little else, he says.
He also walks a lot, he says, and stays active, helping his son at the sign-making shop where he works. He also writes letters, many to the widows and widowers of fellow officers with whom he worked as prison security guard for 25 years.
“I don’t have enough hours in the day,” he says.
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Other letters he writes are for people he has met through his devotion to the Big Mac. He has become a pen pal with another fan from Melbourne, Australia, who sends him boxes from Down Under. Another in Germany does the same. And then there are the gifts, or “treasures,” as he describes them: a pair of Ronald McDonald clown shoes. A vintage McDonald’s straw dispenser. An old Ronald McDonald doll that an older man he has never met gave him before he died.
He adds them to the memorabilia he’s collected over the decades that now fill the attic and basement of his home, including the wrapper of his favorite sandwich, showing the changes in graphic design over the years. years. He marvels at the relationships he’s made, all thanks to a fast food burger.
“It’s really touching,” he said. “I appreciate people thinking my hobby is cool enough that they want to reach out.”
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