Monday, February 05, 2007

FMT Interviews Grimace

Most people think it is very funny to have the conversation where one talks about Grimace with one’s bros and asks the question, “what the hell is he anyway?” so that one’s bros laugh because no one really knows. One bro will say “an eggplant, definitely an eggplant,” and then another bro will say, “no, you’re wrong he’s an elephant seal,” and then someone will say “he’s Vice President of the United States,” and that person will most likely be a homeless person who sidled up to the conversation unnoticed.

This sort of idle banter ignores the man behind the corpulent, neckless, purple, conical body. And it ignores one of the richest American lives that have been lived since we declared our independence from our oppressors. In terms of said richness, experts have ranked Grimace somewhere between Jack LeLanne and Sidney Portier.

FMT took it upon ourselves to track down Grimace, see what he’s been up to these days, and talk with him about his battles with drug abuse and obesity, his dabblings with high-stakes espionage, and his interest in horses. It took us awhile to find him. The McDonald’s people wouldn’t talk, and the public library was not very helpful, besides a reference librarian who opined “I think he’s a gumdrop,” before we told her that “YOU DON’T KNOW THE MAN! HE IS NOT CANDY!” and shook our fists at her vigorously. “Well,” she said, “it seems like you don’t know him very well either, if you’re at the library trying to find him.” Touché, reference librarian. Touché.

We finally caught up with Grimace at his lakeside cabin in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, where he has been living for over 15 years, occupying himself with vintage coloring books and guide boat refurbishing. During our interview, he wore jean shorts, a tan madras shirt with the sleeves rolled up and Teva’s with socks. His manner was calm throughout, but when recalling certain of his life’s adventures, he smiled brightly and looked up at the roof of his cabin, as if reliving the witness he bore to certain turning points in our great nation’s history.

FMT: You started doing commercials for McDonalds in 1971, and you were originally cast as one of the bad guys, armed with two sets of arms and an insatiable appetite for milkshakes. After that first campaign you were recast as a good guy and Ronald McDonald’s best friend. Were you worried that you’re audience might perceive you as a fickle flip-flopper?

Grimace: No not at all. By the time I got the McDonald’s gig, I was a seasoned actor. I relished my versatility. I could be a leading man, I could be a villain, I could be a purple hill in the backdrop of a quasi-psychedelic children’s show. And I’m not going to lie, it was fun being the guy who could steal many, many milkshakes. It was a thrill, there were girls, there was a lot of fan mail, some of which was accompanied with erotic photos, because, you know, I was the bad guy who didn’t care. I mean, I stared down the consequences of burgling A LOT of milkshakes, like ten at a time, and I didn’t flinch for a second. So yeah that was attractive to the opposite sex.

FMT: Which is…

G: Female.

FMT: So, did you get tired of playing Ronald’s docile buddy?

G: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I missed those days when I was on the run, milkshakes in one hand, bitches on the other three. Like Vishnu if he was a daredevil outlaw pimp. But it was tiring. I could do it because I was young and ambitious. I was really burning the candle at both ends. And coke was just around then. We didn’t know it was bad for you. I thought it was, well maybe not the brother of sugar or flour, but maybe, like, the crazy cousin who was in jail, but not because of an inherently mean spirit—just a incidental misguidance, in the wrong place at the wrong time. So…yeah…what was the question?

FMT: Did you get tired of playing Ronald’s retarded buddy?

G: Oh right. Well no, because I was usually asleep or so fucked up that rabid concubines could’ve been defecating on my face and I wouldn’t have known. I really just phoned it in. It paid the bills and as the company grew, I was able to maintain a exorbitantly prodigious coke habit. But I didn’t really have to do anything. I moved around a little, smiled and grunted a little, but other than that, I didn’t exactly test my virtuosity. And at that point, acting in general was boring me. Brando, myself, James Dean, I really felt that we had exhausted the medium. I didn’t really think there was anywhere else we could go with it. We had literally fucked that dead horse until it was asking us to stop.

FMT: Why literally?

G: Oh I didn’t mean we actually fucked a dead horse until it spoke to us. Just meant that it sorta moved a little and we were pretty excited and I think Jimmy got his hands on some peyote from Dennis Hopper. I don’t really remember it that clearly, but…

FMT: So you suffered from equine necrophilia.

G: Yeah it was hard, you know. But I got help. I struggle with it everyday.

FMT: When was the last time you…

G: Oh I haven’t been inside a dead horse in 10 years.

FMT: So, when acting became boring, what did you do?

G: Well, I had always been quite a B-baller, so I moved to New York and started hustling on the courts of Harlem. I had a tremendous first step, I could really just lacerate the lane, no could mess with me. I had a little hustle I used to do with Kareem, actually. He would dress up as Hitler and challenge the highest rollin’ street ballers in New York to games, five large minimum. It’s funny, they wouldn’t notice he was seven feet tall and one of the best basketball players of all time because they’d just focus on the fact that he was dressed as Hitler. And then he’d double the bet by saying they could pick his teammate. And then I’d walk onto the court looking clueless, and inevitably, they’d say, “Yo, you got the fat, cone-shaped purple guy.” They’d be sorry about that choice, and ten grand in the whole. Kareem and I would be off playing Mancala, waist deep in drug-addled sluts.

FMT: Then where did life take you?

G: I picked up some freelance espionage work, in the early 80s. By this time, Ronald had grown so sick of my disinterest in the whole advertising world that he began using my body double for most of the ads. By 83 or so, my contract ran out and I had little interest in renewing it. We had a good run, Ronnie and I, but I was so beyond acting. Ollie North and I were old buddies from Annapolis, and when he heard that I was done hocking burgers, he called me up and said “hey ‘Ace, I’ve got some work for you if you want it. Might be dangerous, but the Central American poon will be worth it, let me tell you.” Believe it or not, that segment of my belt--the one that was labeled “Central American poon,” was notch-less—I mean, I had every notch there was. Hell, my main belt was festooned with smaller belts for sub notches…

FMT: Like the “dead horse” sub-notch.

G: Right, branching off from the “mammal” notch.

FMT: So, were you involved in the Iran-Contra affair?

G: Is a Nicaraguan whore’s cunt sweeter than honey?

FMT: ...

G: Yeah I learned my tradecraft down there, as the CIA was mustering the Contras. I became a valuable asset to them immediately, as my celebrity status and odd body shape and color came in handy whenever laundering the drug money, moving arms across check points, that sort of thing. The Sandinistas were oblivious hacks really. They just wanted to pet me. We could sneak anything right under their nose as long as I was there. They thought I was from Disney World or something. I could literally snatch documents out of their breast pockets at they stared slack-jawed at my nonpareil aura of glitz and artistic genius.

FMT: But you were never convicted of any crimes?

G: Only by a jury of angels.

FMT: What were you charged with?

G: Being too sexy for the good of Man.


Speckled Trout said...

i'm glad somebody finally asked the tough questions. i had heard rumors of the dead horse fetish, but i laughed them off because i didn't think grimace had a dick.

i can't believe you guys got this interview, given his notorious reclusiveness. does he have a new mixtape coming out? i always thought tracking down and interviewing irrelevant, fictional characters of our youth was FMT's bread and butter. keep it up.

Furman P. Slothra said...

yo i don't even wanna hear grimace on the mic, he would probably destroy my face. on a related note, i'm wondering why someone didn't try out for the white rapper show wearing a grimace suit. or american idol for that matter.

Sordid Puppy said...