Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Definitive 1000

We are going to be counting down the Definitive 1000 things. Why are they Definitive? Because The Friendly Friends have deemed them as such.

#971 - Breakfast Cereal

Through the first 33 years of my life, my appetite has gone through many stages. What I eat, how I eat and how much I eat has gone through waves of change. For instance, I never used to like Chinese food. Now I salivate every time I drive by a King Buffet. Some tastes have never changed, such as Sweet Potatoes. I look at that god-awful excuse for a vegetable as some sort of divine poop. Its shape, its size and its taste can only be described as celestial excrement. I can just imagine the big man upstairs looking down on us every third Thursday in November and begging us to stop. I imagine he is saying something along the lines of…”Look, it was day 6, I was tired, I had to go, and it was a long way back to my place. I never expected you guys to eat it! I even tried to bury it! You can add as much brown sugar and marshmallow to it as you want, it will still taste like shit!” Ok, so I don’t like sweet potatoes. There are also foods that as a young lad, I did enjoy, such as tapioca pudding. Nowadays, I would sweep the leg of any man who dared offer me any of that putrid gobbledy goop!
One thing that has never changed, and never will change is my love of Breakfast Cereal. As a child, some of my happiest most relaxing memories are of sitting at the bright and sunny table in the early Saturday morning hours, eating a heaping bowl of my favorite breakfast cereal of the day, and getting lost in the fine literature on the back of the box.

I am convinced that if it where not for cereal boxes I would be illiterate today. Whether it be reading about the fine prize included inside the box, which I would have already dug out before the first bowl was poured, or reading about the tie-in between cereal and upcoming movie. It was always just enough to get me through one bowl of cereal.
Back in the day, as is the case currently, you had various cartoon characters that represented their respective cereals. Some did it well, some not so well. Of course, changes have been made over the years to appease the PC health conscious world. Sugar Corn Pops became Corn Pops. Sugar Smacks became Honey Smacks, and for some reason, the Trix Rabbit thought he would fool us into changing from the traditional ball shaped cereal, to “more healthy looking” fruit shaped cereal. This change alone forced me away from Trix, as I grew tired of all the blood transfusions required after cutting the roof of my mouth with jagged fruit shaped Trix. Speaking of Trix, did anyone else think those kids were pretty cruel and selfish? Give the poor rabbit a bowl of Trix already!
You had other characters that brought the cereal to life, such as Sonny the Cuckoo bird. He apparently had some sort of psychotic episode whenever he was in the vicinity of Cocoa Puffs. I think the medical term is Chocophilia. Another character in the bird category was Toucan Sam. I always thought Sam was a bit pretentious for a tropical bird representing a fruity cereal shaped like zeros. That is not to say I did not enjoy Fruit Loops. I did, and do! My son had some this weekend!
You also had some second tier characters such as the Honey Bear who represented Golden Crisp and the Dig ‘Em Frog, representing Honey Smacks. To this day I am still trying to discern the difference between these two cereals.

So one uses a wooden spoon to scoop the honey and the other uses that fancyhoney scooping thingy? Is that the difference?

They look the same, taste the same and if the box is kept in an environment with any humidity at all it will form a solid cereal brick in a matter of days.
As a child, my mother would make feeble attempts to make us eat the healthy cereals. She would come back with 3 boxes of cereal. Cocoa Puffs, Kix, and Raisin Bran. I believe she still has those boxes of Kix and Raisin Bran. The great thing about cereal is that there are so many choices! From the sugary Lucky Charms to the bland Puffed Rice, from the sweet Golden Grahams to the unnaturally expensive Cracklin Oat Bran…you always have options. That is not even talking about the limited edition cereals or the promotional cereals that stop making sense after a few months. See Mr. T cereal, C3PO’s, and Smurf Berry Crunch.

The Mr. T cereal was appropriatley shaped, but why were C3PO's shaped like 8's?

As a child was I bitter that I never saw a Philadelphia athlete on a box of Wheaties? You bet! Was I annoyed when I kept getting the same Sticky Fingers toy in my box of Alpha-bits? Oh yeah!

Did any of those issues turn me away from my sugar and grain filled breakfast buddy? Hell no! I learned alot from Cereal Spock!

This creal is illogicaly delicious

The beauty of cereal is that it can be eaten any time of day. It can be eaten in a little bowl, as 5-year-old Sweaty Irishman can attest. It can be eaten in a mixing bowl, as 15 year old Sweaty Irishman can attest, and it can be eaten write out of the box, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on a variety pack…which I rarely was.
Every once in a while a cereal betrays me. During my youth, as a boy named Mike, I had to hear constant echoes of the Life cereal slogan…”Hey! Mikey likes it!.”

It was lucky for them I DID like it!

Some of the changes have not been to my liking, as the aforementioned Trix shapes will suggest. Lucky Charms has gotten a little too complicated for my tastes regarding the marshmallows as well. I miss the green clovers, orange stars, yellow moons and pink hearts. Now you have the rainbow colored rainbow, purple horseshow, shooting stars, yellow pots of gold, and I think I saw a marshmallow CHUD in there at one point. They almost need to put a disclaimer on the box for people with epilepsy.
All that being said, I will never stop enjoying a nice bowl of cereal in the morning. I still read the box, as for the toys…I was using my light up Indian Jones spoon this morning to scoop my Captain Crunch.

You had me at crunchy.

For all these reasons, fine literature, fun toys, great memories and a tasty meal…cereal takes its place on The Friendly Friends Definitive 1000.


FFJewbacca said...

True Story;

My mom never let us have sugar cereals. We occasionally got Cookie Crisp or Golden Grahams. Kent Dining Hall at UD was the first time I ever had Lucky Charms or Apple Jacks.

I've killed several drifters and chopped them up.

FFMatt said...

If you guys were cereals I'd buy you even if my wife didn't have coupons towards you.

Mike would be some sort of meat-broth making cereal called Steaky Puffs! Jewbacca would would be themed as a flame retardant cereal that you could throw into fire, called Breakstinguishers.

That's all I got.