Keats Has TB, Hearts Hamburgers

Apparently it's tough to keep patients afflicted with deadly and highly communicable tuberculosis coming back to complete their treatment. So a while back New York City started offering incentives for doing a full course of anti-TB meds.

But now the Big Macs-for-meds deal is bumping up against another "public health" campaign. Gothamist reports:

Since 1993, the city's Health Department has been giving out fast food restaurant coupons to TB patients, as an incentive to get them to return to clinics for six-month treatment programs. It's a bit awkward, because this is the same Health Department that's launched an aggressive, multi-pronged public health campaign to educate consumers about junk food. Start the countdown for the first lawsuit from a TB patient who contracts diabetes!

In fact, protecting New Yorkers from communicable diseases is one of the few legit functions of the Health Department. Here's hoping the fear of charges of hypocrisy won't stop the city from pursing a program that seems to work. ("Since offering incentives, TB cases have declined by more than 75 percent in NYC. Of course, it's unclear to what degree the incentives directly contributed to the decline," says Gothamist.)

TB celeb and floppy haired poet John Keats clearly foresaw this development when he penned these immortal lines:

Give me women, wine, and hamburgers
Untill I cry out "hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection:
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

UPDATE: From the comments, far better poetry+burger parodies than mine:

From MikeP:

A Happy Meal is a joy for ever:
Its tastiness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
Our TB quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

And from The Squatting Fields:

THE BIG MACS are gone.
And those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
Those who saw the Big Macs by thousands and how they held the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun
with their hands, their great heads down chewing on in a great pageant of dusk,
Those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
And the Big Macs are gone.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Resident of Hamburg||

    Leck mich im Arsch.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Katherine Mangu-Ward has truly shown herself to be a traitor to the movement. The only "legit function of the Health Department" it to not exist at all. If people know that they can be sued in private courts for spreading TB and then be subject to private collection action or private imprisonment, they won't do it. Reason is getting much to statist for my tastes.

  • SIV||

    NYC Municipal Health Dept
    Even in Libertopia they could remove the pump handle from the cholera tainted well(or banish the lepers)

    STFU Lonewacko!!!

  • ||

    So will Mike Bloomberg risk a TB epidemic to prevent an angioplasty or two in a few years?

  • ||

    "For, bless my beard, they aye shall be"

    Beard? His face is clean shaven. Does he mean his boyfriend the beard?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Seriously off topic: I want to know if the Higgs boson really is going back in time to keep the universe from getting hit by a bus.

  • Nipplemancer||

    seriously, if the particle exists at all, creating one in the lab will not bring destruction to the universe since they exist in nature already and we're still here.

  • Syd Henderson||

    So far.

  • MJ||

    That's what happens when high-end theoretical physicists have too much time on their hands waiting for their next experimen to be set up.

  • ||

    Long is the Way. And hard, that out of McDonald's that leads up to Veganism.

  • Death Panelist||

    "Hey, quit coughing on my Happy Meal!"

    In addition to appetite suppressants, they should inject TB medication directly into the Big Macs.

  • ||

    Oops, that's Milton. I thought I could impress MNG by flaunting the books I've read, but now it's all for naught.

  • ||

    A Happy Meal is a joy for ever:
    Its lovliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    Our TB quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

  • ||

    lovliness -> tastiness

  • ||

    I would prefer a cheeseburger in paradise.

  • ||

    THE BIG MACS are gone.
    And those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
    Those who saw the Big Macs by thousands and how they held the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun
    with their hands, their great heads down chewing on in a great pageant of dusk,
    Those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
    And the Big Macs are gone.

  • ||

    Treadwell is gone.

  • ||

    I'll finish all my lunch
    And I'll eat all my fries
    And I'll prove to you that my stomach's as big as my eyes
    I'll spring for the check and walk you to my home
    That's where I spend all my days, all alone
    I'll show you my chair and show you my bed
    And I'll show you movies that I've taped and all the books I've read
    I'll show you pictures of me when I had lots of hair
    And I'll tell you all the things I think of when I sit and stare
    I'll tell you some of my plans and some of my schemes
    And I'll tell you all about some of my dreamy little dreams
    I'll tell you that my apartment is the center of the universe
    It gets hot there, it's hot there now, but it's been known to get a lot worse
    I'll show you paintings that I painted and tell you all about my lamp
    I'll show you water damage in the corner where it gets damp
    I'll put my chair in front of your chair and my feet against your feet
    Then later on, maybe we'll want to go and get a bite to eat
    I'll finish all my dinner
    And I'll eat all my fries
    And I'll prove to you that my stomach's as big as my eyes
    Then after I have shown you all there is to see
    I will ask you, will you marry me...
    Will you marry me??

  • ||

    "And from The Squatting Fields:"

    I love you Katherine Mangu-Ward!

    Will you marry me? I'll buy you a toilet. I promise!

  • alan||

    Sandi if you don't show up for that one, I'm going to be disappointed in you.

  • Sandi||

    I squatted in a field once.

  • Butters||


  • z||

    Is this really that difficult to fix? Give them a voucher good for anything instead (i.e., cash).

  • ||

    You know they will just buy crack or booze with cash.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Or more tuberculosis.

  • ||

    On leaving some Friends at an Early Hour to go to a McDonald's

    GIVE me the golden arches, and let me McLean
    On heap’d up pickles, in stores clear, and far;
    Bring me a fry crispier than a star,
    Or tube of bubbling apple pie, when ’tis seen
    The meaty patties of heavenly beef atween:
    And let there glide by many a drive-through car,
    Special sauce, and gummy shakes, and tip jar,
    And half discovered buffalo wings, and glances keen.
    The while let musak wander round my ears,
    And as my meal reaches a delicious ending,
    Let me comment card a line of glorious tone,
    And full of many wonders of the budgeteers:
    For what a height my Big Mac is contending!
    ’Tis not content so soon to be alone.

  • EJM||

    I wonder what Gen. McChrystal thinks about this.

    (Every time I read or hear his name, I think about how lucky he is to have a name that references two separate burger chains.)

  • ||

    Two? What's the other one?

  • EJM||

  • ||

    This thread is begging for some food pr0n

    Fist Girl
    Straw Girl

  • ||

    How I love my burger let me count the ways,
    Your toasted bun, lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise,
    A greater sight will ne'er pass my eyes,
    You will live forever, upon my thighs

  • ||

    Stopping by McDonalds on a Snowy Evening

    This restaurant I think I know
    The clinic's in the Village though
    They will not see me stopping here
    To watch me fill myself with hamburger

    The health fanatics think it queer
    To stop without a Whole Foods near
    Between the clinic and frozen Hudson
    The darkest evening of the year

    To try to take my coupons they shake
    Me and tell me I'm making a mistake
    The only other sound's the crackle
    Of frying cripy potato flakes

    The angus is lovely, dark and deep
    My promise to medicate I did keep
    I ate so much now I must sleep
    I ate so much now I must sleep

  • BakedPenguin||

    The Second Drive-Thru

    Burning and burning in the widening pyre
    The window girl cannot hear the orderer;
    Burgers fall apart; the beefy centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the counter,

    The blood-dimmed beef is cooked, and everywhere
    The ceremony of convenience is drowned;
    The best order without conviction, while the worst
    Are full of dispassionate indecision.

  • OO====D||

    As long as there's so much poetry here, here's Captain Beefheart's "81 Poop Hatch" I won't fuck it up to fit the burger theme; it's too great of a piece of work.

    81 Poop Hatch
    (Originally appeared on Ice Cream For Crow)

    My eyes are burnt and bleeding and all that looks like a monkey on a silver bar …
    big poop hatch with a cotton hatch – hatch holes that the light shows in and the light shows out …
    and the little red fence …
    and the wire and the wood …
    and the barbs and the berries …
    and the tires and the bottles and the caruponrims …
    and the heat swims on its fenders and the dust collects and the rust of autumn surrenders into gold …
    trumpet poop on the ground with peanuts its bell was blocking an ant’s vision …
    and the mice played in its air holes and valves …
    a ladybug crawled off its mouthpiece standing out red and blacked its wings and blew off to a flower …
    its hum heard just above the ground …
    black dots were hung in what turned out to be an olive tree that originally held a tree house full of a building with one small window …
    birds and broken glass and tiny bits of newspaper …
    "My sun is free from the window," said the god the green dabbers …
    rice wires mouse tins and milk muffins …
    cereal and stone …
    matches and masks and mace and clubs …
    and splintered shaft light intrigues a cricket on a dust jeweled penlet …
    cobwebs collect down plaster run into a hole and find collected glass that drinks the reflection of midday afternoon midway between telegraph lines …
    a silver wing – a cloud – a rumbling of a cloud …
    a crowd of various violins strum from next door through my wall into my ear obviously artificial …
    neighbors laugh through sandwiches …
    Harlem babies – their stomachs explode into roars …
    their eyes shiny with starvation …
    spreckled hula dance on my phonograph …
    my door rattles windy …
    sand wears my rug shoe and taps on the unheard finish of an hourglass I cannot hear …
    a typical musician’s nest of thoughts filter through dust speakers …
    "Why don’t you go home? Oh Blobby, are you great," exclaims two lips in some jumbled rock ‘n’ roll tune and wears a spot I cannot scratch …
    the surface of a friend …
    this high book a friend laid on me …
    on the couch relaxing in the corner behind a still life pond with plenty of bugs and lily pads slurred in mud banks and boulders tin cans and raisins warped by thought …
    strain on the spoon like a wheat check – check Bif – cotton popping out of his sleeve …
    poop hatch open – big poop hatch with a cotton hatch – hatch holes – got to pick up the horns …
    but the head won’t move until it walks

  • Rich||

    Thanks, OO====D.

    Here's Captain Beefheart's "Frownland", a rather inspirational song IMO.

    My smile is stuck
    I cannot go back t' yer Frownland
    My spirit's made up of the ocean
    And the sky 'n the sun 'n the moon
    'n all my eye can see
    I cannot go back to yer land of gloom
    Where black jagged shadows
    Remind me of the comin' of yer doom
    I want my own land
    Take my hand 'n come with me
    It's not too late for you
    It's not too late for me
    To find my homeland
    Where uh man can stand by another man
    Without an ego flyin'
    With no man lyin'
    'n no one dyin' by an earthly hand
    Let the devils burn 'n the beggar learn
    'n the little girls that live in those old worlds
    Take my kind hand
    My smile is stuck
    I cannot go back t' yer Frownland
    I cannot go back t' yer Frownland

  • OO====D||

    Thank YOU, Rich

    Time Magazine Rated "Ice Cream for Crow" as one of the 10 best albums of the 1980's. They definitely got that right.

    Here's "Ink Mathematics":

    Ink mathematics
    Grey mass ecstatics
    Noggin elastics
    Cerebral tatics
    Cranium classics
    Brainium domics
    Denizen omics
    Grey massmatics
    Quantum pure
    It's plain to feel
    Hard to see
    Fission antics
    Death antiques
    Wrong deductions
    Poor instructions
    Mass destructions
    Peace antiques
    Singing ink mathematics
    Hop along with me
    Ink mathematics
    Moon to a flea
    Ink mathematics
    I breathe black and white
    Day and night
    Grey gymnastics
    Ink math ah ratics
    Ink mathemon to a flea
    Ink mathematics
    Hop along with me
    Ink mathematics
    Moon to a flea

  • Jeff P||

    There once was man from nantucket
    Who liked fried chicken from a bucket.

  • OO====D||

    Last one (Beefheart deserve the recognition). And what an appropriate ending...

    The thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.

    The thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
    The morning was distemper grey,
    Of the thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
    The man at the bottom was smiling.
    He had just finished his breakfast smiling.
    It hadn't rained or manured for over two hours.
    The man at the top was starving.
    The pole was a horrible looking thing
    With all of those eyes and ears
    And waving hands for balance.
    There was no way to get a copter in close
    So everybody was starving together.
    The man at the top had long ago given up
    But didn't have nerve enough to climb down.
    At night the pole would talk to itself and the chatter wasn't too good.
    Obviously the pole didn't like itself, it wanted to walk!
    It was the summer and it was hot
    And balance wouldn't permit skinning to undergarments.
    It was an integrated pole, it was taking on an reddish brown cast.
    Exercise on the pole was isometric,
    Kind of a flex and then balance
    Then the highest would roll together,
    The ears wiggle, hands balance.
    There was a gurgling and googling heard
    A tenth of the way up the pole.
    Approaching was a small child
    With Statue of Liberty doll.

  • Rich||

    Wow. That's heavy.

  • ||

    hamburger poet

    starving tubercular wheeze

    tuesday i will pay

  • ||

    I'm confused. So they're encouraging people who still have TB to hit the McDonalds for free food? Do they just waive their vouchers outside the drive thru and let the cashier chuck the bag at them?

    Sounds like this policy is genius. Stupid sick people get free burgers, and the smart people STAY THE HELL away from McDonalds out of fear of contracting a deadly disease. Death Panelist wasnt too far off with his suggestion of injecting the burgers with TB. It's good enough to just cough on one.

    "Here's my voucher!"

    "NO! Put it directly in the incinerator box next to the counter. Have a Nice Day!"

  • Invisible Finger||

    What kind of bribes
    Will they foist upon the plebes
    When they are lax
    In securing their mandatory health insurance

  • JB||

    It is sad that reason bests Keats in poetry and I see that as hope for humanity?

  • JB||

    Gawd. 'IS IT'

  • JB||

    Millions of burgers, burgers for me.
    Oh, and TB for free!

  • huangzhixian67||

    === ===Our commitment,customer is God.

    Welcome to --- ---- We are specialized

    in offering all kinds of top brand shoes, jeans, t-shirts,

    jacket, jerseys, watches, purses, handbags, belts, wallets ,

    sunglasses and hats etc.
    Accept paypal ,All the prices list on our website include

    shipping cost,insurance,tax etc..

    $50 UGG BOOT, $30 nike shoes,air jordan shoes,nike shox

    shoes,gucci shoes
    $33 true religion jeans, ed hardy jeans,coogi

    jeans,affliction jeans, Laguna Beach Jeans
    $16 ed hardy T-shirts,Coogi T-shirts,Christian Audigier T-

    shirts,Gucci T-shirts,Polo T-shirts.
    $30 coach handbag,gucci handbag,prada handbag,chanel

    handbag,$15sunglasses,$9 caps.

    I wish you a happy shopping and happy every day!

  • ||

    Best. thread. ever.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties