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What the heck is Grimace? McDonald's manager's answer has people 'reeling'

He's purple and rolls with Ronald and the crew, but what *is* he, exactly?
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Grimace — international *something* of mystery. Eugene Gologursky / Getty Images

We know Ronald McDonald is a clown, Birdie is an early bird, the Hamburglar is, well, a burger burglar. But Grimace? We know he used to be an evil milkshake-stealer whose character was then revised into the clumsy good guy we all know and love today. We know his relative Uncle O'Grimacey brought us Shamrock Shakes every March.

But Grimace's exact identity has remained more elusive than finding a McRib in the summer … until now.

Brian Bates, the manager of a McDonald’s in Canada, has apparently blown the lid off the mystery — and quite possibly your milkshake — by explaining just what the heck the McDonaldland character is.

“He is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless,” Bates told the CBC in an interview last weekend.

McDonald's has never explicitly come out and specified what Grimace is, but it has addressed the subject before.

"Great question! #Grimace lore says he is the embodiment of a milkshake or a taste bud. What do you think?" McDonald's Corporation tweeted in 2014.

"Whether he’s a taste bud, a milkshake or just your favorite purple blob — the best part about Grimace is that he means different things to different people," a McDonald's rep said in a statement to TODAY Food. "Whatever he is, we’re just proud our bestie makes people happy."

While Mayor McCheese has yet to launch any investigation into the matter, people on Twitter couldn’t hold back their surprise.

“His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps,” one person captioned a photo of the purple fella dressed as a cowboy alongside Ronald McDonald. “He says that he will never die. He tastes in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, Grimace. He is tasting, tasting. He says that he will never die.”

"Reeling from this," someone else wrote.

"Grimace can taste with his whole body," another person astutely noted.

"My entire world view has been upended," another shell-shocked person commented. "I mean, I never knew what the hell Grimace was, but I didn’t think it was THIS."

“If Grimace is a taste bud meant to show how good the food is why on earth would you name the damn thing after an expression of disgust,” another person pointed out.

Somehow, thanks to Bates, we're left with even more questions than we had before.