I just finished the annual cleaning of the shed, which pretty much involves hauling all the plastic mouse proof tubs onto the lawn, peeking inside, getting nostalgic and then hauling them all back inside the shed again.
I popped open one container and was startled to find four complete sets of mini cereal boxes still in their shrink wrap — the kind you buy in fun packs to take camping.
Had this been some kind of safety measure?
Like bottles of water in the basement?
If a meteorite hit the earth, the McKinnon clan would be okay, thanks to the forward thinking of their matriarch who had cleverly stored 32 micro boxes of sugar coated cereal in the shed.
The wheels that turn my brain creaked in violent protest as they slowly started to spin their way back to 2005. The year I first noticed Kellogg’s had started producing travel bowls of cereal with foil peel back lids.
I recall being ticked at the laziness if it all.
Were we so impatient that we couldn’t even spend a few minutes sawing a capital letter “I” into a box? Must everything come with peel back lids and instant gratification?
Sure the boxes could be a bit frustrating, especially when you nicked the wax liner and all the milk started leaking through the cardboard, but it made us learn to slow down and pay attention to the task at hand.
And who knows how many heart surgeons got their start around a picnic table cutting their way into a Kellogg’s fun pack box, though they probably won’t admit it; especially when they’re wheeling you in for surgery.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a bit nostalgic which led me to buy four sets of the mini boxes of cereal to keep as souvenirs before they vanished forever. I even wrote a column urging others to do the same.
Even if you weren’t in it for nostalgia I assured readers that in less than a decade the boxes would be worth a fortune on EBay. Even the Rice Krispies.
Five years later you can still buy the fun pack mini boxes at the grocery store.
All I can say is oops and that I sincerely hope no one out there invested their life savings in fun packs.
On the other hand if you take your investment advice from a humour columnist well, I think you can see where I’m headed and it isn’t very flattering to either one of us so I’ll just move on.
“I don’t get it,” I told my friend Moira.
“Those plastic bowls with the peel back lids are so much more convenient than the cardboard boxes. What’s the matter with everyone?”
“But I thought you were upset about people going over to the plastic bowls. You had some kind of wacky – er – interesting theory how it would lead to a shortage of heart surgeons in the future.”
“That’s when I thought everyone would switch.” I patiently explained. “Why would anyone want to bother with all that sawing along the perforated edges when they could just peel back a lid, add milk and eat?”
“Sawing along the perforated edges?”
“So you can cut it open and pour milk right into the box and eat out of it like a bowl.”
“Huh. I never noticed that.”
“What do you mean you never noticed that? It’s the only reason you buy them. So you can experience the thrill of pouring milk right into the box while you’re out camping.”
“We’re not campers. We just buy them because it’s fun having a variety of cereals in the house without having to buy full boxes of each kind.”
“So you’re saying,” I dropped my voice to a horrified whisper. “That you just pour the mini box into a bowl?”
Moira glanced at her watch and looked around the coffee shop nervously. “What’s wrong with you? It’s just little boxes of cereal. No big deal.”
Easy for her to say, she’s not the one with her retirement plan going stale in the shed. Even the Rice Krispies.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org