Can a limited-time only sandwich have a midlife crisis?

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Last week, Nirvana's Nevermind album celebrated its 30th anniversary, a milestone that left many fans feeling especially old. But today, McDonald's made an announcement that could leave those of a certain age feeling like they have one foot in the grave: Not only is the McRib coming back… it's celebrating its big 4-0.

Yes, the iconic McRib was first launched in Kansas City, Kansas, forty year ago in 1981, a time when fast food limited-time only items still felt novel. To make '80s' kids feel even older, McDonald's goes so far as to label the McRib "a true 80's baby." Oh jeez.

McRib sandwich
Credit: Courtesy of McDonald's

Over the decades, the McRib has had many moments of fame — including being tied to the launch of The Flintstones movie in 1994 and being parodied by The Simpsons in 2003. It's even been exported to Germany, New Zealand, and France. And eventually, as McDonald's puts it, "The internet boom and emergence of social media solidified the McRib's icon status." Or to put it another way, the McRib foreshadowed a future of buzzworthy LTOs, and the world finally caught up.

"In the 80s, the masterminds behind McDonald's food innovation had a truly unique idea: an undeniably delicious sandwich that could be enjoyed during the colder seasons," Mike Bullington, McDonald's senior archives manager (yes, that's a job), stated. "Whether you're a McRib loyalist or first timer, there is no denying that the McRib is one of the most iconic sandwiches of the last four decades and we have thousands of emails and tweets from fans to prove it."

So when and where can you celebrate this momentous occasion? The McRib will officially return to participating restaurants nationwide on November 1… for a limited time only, of course. I guess now you can consider it a chance to taste a piece of history. And if it brings back fond memories of trying the first McRibs back in the 1980s, you can also consider it a chance to reflect on what you've done with your life.