Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Variety Pack


I first saw single-serving cereal boxes at age 9 at scout camp, and you could lay the box on its side, clip the cardboard, slit the wax paper, pour milk in, and your box was the bowl. Was that true, or did I dream it? I vowed that when I grew up I'd buy cereal only in those cool little boxes. Yesterday, 45 years later, the Kellogg's Variety Pack at the store caught my eye. Three dollars. Bought it. It is fascinating. Ten cereal boxes are packaged back to back. Facing out on one side are all the good-for-you cereals, including "Crispix," a contemporary cereal as strange to me as contemporary art; the other side marshals the candied cereals we grew up on: Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Sugar Coated Sugar Cubes. And also the Raisin Bran, sweeter than one might think. This two-faced packaging sends a cultural message I can't quite decode. Is it giving me a choice between being a kid and a grownup, or a sinner and a saint? Omnivorous vs. orthodox? Duty or decadence? Or--is it all random and meaningless? Good Lord, the Kellogg's Variety Pack is a moral problem and a spiritual exercise! And then--oh wow, man, blow my mind--both sides have Frosted Mini-Wheats!

So which to eat first? I chose Raisin Bran. It filled a teacup, not enough for breakfast, so I also ate the Corn Pops. Eating the Froot Loops I think will require extensive psychological and spiritual preparation.

2 comments:

gaye g.p said...

Mind-blowing indeed!
But then I looked at the background of your photo. Mind explosion! How had it come to this? That I could've cancelled my post-dispatch delivery and forgotten to bookmark my fav columnist: Life Sherpa Joe Holleman.
Excuse me. Gotta go add another bookmark, next to yours, in my "Write Stuff" folder. (Thanks)

Sylvia said...

He's really good! So was Suburban Fringe columnist Bob Rybarczk, who told me he was hoping for a book deal. I thought with thousands of fans he'd surely get one. He ended up self-publishing. Sic transit gloria