On Thursday, October 18, 2018, I buried a free George Webb burger in a time capsule in the woods. I did this for several reasons: 1.) The Milwaukee Brewers had recently won 12 games in a row, and regional restaurant chain George Webb had made good on a longstanding promise to hand out free burgers to every man, woman, and child in Wisconsin. 2.) The last time the Brewers had won 12 in a row was back in 1987, and many people had done something interesting/weird with their free ’87 burgers, like freezing them or even bronzing them. 3.) I needed something to write about.
On October 14, 2019, I returned to the scene of my burger burial and made good on a promise I had made approximately one year prior. Yes, dear reader(s), I dug up my free, year-old George Webb burger from its now-festering grave and looked at it. It was gross.
Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. My original 2018 task/stunt had been carried out alone. But in 2019, I knew I would need a second pair of hands. With time running out and no friends willing to accompany me, I turned to the one person in the world I knew would do me a solid. After picking up my 5-year-old daughter from daycare and loading her into the car, I turned to her. “How would you like to help dad on an adventure?” I asked. “YES!” she replied. Rotten hamburger buried in a shallow grave, here we come!
(COMPLETELY UNRELATED: Remember that scene in Permanent Midnight where Ben Stiller is so desperate to get high he shoots up in the car beside his infant daughter? Yeah.)
Anyway, we arrived at Lake Park, grabbed the same ice scraper I had used in place of a shovel in 2018, and headed out. Oh, did I mention I buried the thing in Lake Park? I think I kept that a secret last year. Yeah, I buried it in Lake Park. You’ll never catch me alive, Milwaukee County Parks!
Thanks to some general location photos I had taken the year before, finding the exact location wasn’t difficult. What was difficult was navigating the mud, the soggy ground, and the standing water. My kid slipped a few times and grew increasingly wary of the whole “adventure.” I still have traumatic flashbacks of the time I was 8 and my family fled a campground during a thunderstorm. I pray my daughter might still grow up to be a productive member of society.
In case I didn’t make it clear, I didn’t just toss a hamburger in a hole and call it a day back in 2018. I wrapped it in plastic bags, put it inside a cardboard box, and then wrapped the whole thing in more plastic bags. I added some Milwaukee Record swag and adorned the box with a picture of Bob Uecker. Now, one year later, I was ready to unearth that package. I handed my daughter my phone. She started taking pictures. And…
Well, the box had pretty much turned to mush. And oh god, the smell. Clearly, I should have buried the thing better. Remember in Twin Peaks when Donna is crying at Laura’s grave and yells, “It’s like they didn’t bury you deep enough!” Yeah. Just like that. At least you could still see Uecker!
I slowly tore open the bag. I braced myself for the sight/smell of the actual burger. When I finally got to it, it looked…
Not bad? Pretty good? Seriously, the bun was in near-perfect condition. The patty had turned more than a little funky, but overall it wasn’t as awful as I had imagined. Turns out that while a cardboard box is no match for the elements, a George Webb burger is made of stronger stuff. Who knew! It was still pretty gross, though.
And that was that! I unearthed the free George Webb burger I had buried in the woods. I gathered the entire gloopy mess and tossed it in a garbage can. My kid had a fun time taking pictures.
As we were leaving, we passed an elderly couple walking through the park. “Hello,” I said, hoisting the ice scraper that was still covered in mud. The elderly couple gave us a funny look and hurried along.
“Dad,” my daughter said, “maybe we should wash the ice scraper.” “Good idea,” I said. We went to a nearby bathroom and cleaned it off. Another adventure in the books.