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Thursday, 23 January
Fond Recollections of Ingesting Terrible Things

As a kid, I would waste my allowance on the usual dumb things: comic books and candy. My parents hated this, of course, because I suppose they were following the "it'll teach him fiscal responsibility" model, but naturally I learned nothing. Well, nothing except, "One day a week I can gorge myself on sweets while reading trash, and the other six I can spend desperately waiting for that one day." Some favorites:

Good 'N Plenty: These are of course neither. They look like circus medicine, come about nine and a half to the box, and taste vaguely licoricey. There was just one enormous batch made in 1933, and none since. It's okay, there's still a lot left. These however, did allow me to discover:

Good 'N Fruity: Which are marginally less terrible than its cousin, but still a big lie all the same. These are to fruit flavor as Edie Brickell is to songcraft. There's just no relationship. The name is also clearly a not-too-sly bit of agenda-pushing by the Homosexual Ruling Elite.

Spree: What the hell were these things? Spree? Packaged in a long silvery cylinder to boot, it looked like something John Travolta might have pulled from the front of his jeans. Were all the candy marketers trying to tell me something? These were horse-choking lozenge thingies that used the common dirty trick of coming in many colors yet all tasting identical. Which is to say: like lost, dusty dreams. They wanted to be good, but some flavor vampire had gotten to them first.

Necco Wafers: Paper-thin discs of varying wan colors dusted with what might have been dioxin, these Luddites of the candy world eschewed everything. Flavor, texture, appearance, a coherent reason for existence: Necco had none of these. More imaginative parents might have used them as punishment. "I'm sorry I broke the TV, Dad." "You're going to eat one whole roll of Necco Wafers, young man." "I'm going to call Child Services." "You want to try for two, buster?"

Wonka's Bottle Caps: Roald Dahl should be proud of Wonka Candies, because they clearly have the same vicious streak of hilarious misanthropy that his writing does. Vaguely soda-flavored anthropomorphized bottle caps? Uh . . . yum. Or as my geek friends might put it, !yum.

Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper: Another fiendish Wonka creation, popular only with the most dysfunctional of children. Autistics probably dream of these things, and would probably explain a lot of their behavior. "Why doesn't my child want me to touch or hold him? Why does he hurt himself?" Answer: he is not getting any Everlasting Gobstoppers. A fist-sized sphere that tastes like sweetened sadness, but the longer you suck on it, it changes colors. Seriously. Who gives a fuck? It's in your mouth. So you have to take it out to get the effect. That's adorable; something that encourages children to spit out their food and show it to others.

So the question is, why did I eat these terrible things? They all looked like something out of a Bosch painting, and their taste may be described as what you'd imagine a Vice President would taste like. It's not like I tortured my other senses; comic books can be aesthetically pleasing, and I certainly wasn't enjoying the rather Hadean reek of our cafeteria. So why was I putting these disgusting things in my mouth all the time? It's a question I'm going to ponder over a cigarette.

Riddles | Skot | 23 Jan, 2003 |

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Comments

If I could have an Everlasting Gobstopper right now, I would become a gibbering idiot. At least gibbering.

*gibbers*

Comment number: 002423   Posted by: Hawg on January 23, 2003 07:34 PM from IP: 24.100.98.87

%I still love Necco wafers.%

An anecdotal aside that no one cares about: I once knew a man who, when he was a child, pulled out all the white wafers and performed a play mass for the neighborhood children. He grew up to become a monk. Sandals and everything.

Comment number: 002424   Posted by: Kitty on January 23, 2003 10:35 PM from IP: 12.224.111.37

It's the Brunching Skootercocks! But where are the letter grades?

Weren't Everlasting Gobstoppers just jawbreakers by another name?

Comment number: 002425   Posted by: rodii (1) on January 24, 2003 08:02 AM from IP: 68.40.47.68

=Hey now.=

Comment number: 002426   Posted by: al gore on January 24, 2003 08:04 AM from IP: 134.197.57.87

I went to school a few blocks from the factory that used to make Necco Wafers. They're made of the same stuff that those little Valentine candies with obnoxious sayings on them are made of, but they're better because they're not as thick. I think they're ok.

Anyway, the factory usually smelled pretty good, and "smells good" had been graffitied onto the factory wall. It was everyone's favorite piece of near-campus graffiti. I knew the guy who'd written it, though I didn't find that out until I'd known him for a while. Let me tell you, it's a heady experience being that close to fame.

Whenever I taste a Necco Wafer now, it's like Proust biting into a madeleine, or it would be if you take away all of the horribly wrong things about that analogy. I like madeleines a lot more than Necco Wafers, but "smells good" is a lot easier to read than A Remembrance of Things Past.

Comment number: 002427   Posted by: anapestic on January 24, 2003 08:47 AM from IP: 216.181.58.90

"I'm sorry I broke the TV, Dad." "You're going to eat one whole roll of Necco Wafers, young man." "I'm going to call Child Services." "You want to try for two, buster?"

best. conversation. ever.

Comment number: 002428   Posted by: avogadro on January 24, 2003 12:16 PM from IP: 198.30.212.143

%I still love Everlasting Gobstoppers.%

Comment number: 002429   Posted by: lia on January 24, 2003 06:36 PM from IP: 68.160.202.33

%I still love Everlasting Gobstoppers.%

But do you still take 'em out of your mouth to see the different colours?. Ewww.

Comment number: 002430   Posted by: Senn on January 25, 2003 12:43 PM from IP: 12.224.111.37

Lik-M-Aid, a/k/a "Fun Dip", was my favorite childhood treat. After moistening the white "dipping stick," the colored sugar flavor crystals (cherry, lime, wild berry, etc.) could be easily transported from the paper container to the mouth. But then, there would be no more "Fun Dip." My concern for the environment (for me, every day was Earth Day) would cause me to ingest the dipping stick. Despite its whiteness, I don't think it was sugar.

And now I'm thinking. Does this have anything to do with my ongoing adult desire to rip pages out of the phone book and eat them? Recently, it's interfered with my need to find a licensed, bonded and insured chimney-sweep. Please help me before it's too late.

Comment number: 002431   Posted by: Kyle on January 30, 2003 08:42 PM from IP: 141.151.73.69

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