What did they do to my Twinkie?

magnifying glass guyIs nothing sacred anymore?

No Virginia, there is nothing sacred anymore.

Walking the aisles of my neighborhood supermarket, I came ’round a corner and there they were. A giant display of them. The only Made-in-Hollywood ingredients missing from this sudden, yet touching reunion scene were the heavenly warbling of an angelic choir and a hovering, golden halo-like hue.twinkiesHostess Twinkies. Hundreds of them. If only I could have run to them in slow motion. If only I could run, period.

But instead, I jammed my shopping cart into hyper-drive, swerved round some elder reaching for toilet paper and cut off some kid waving a box of Cocoa Puffs above his head and running after his mother. I grabbed a box of Twinkies and one of another resurrected dessert delight, Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. Then on to the dairy cooler, snatched a gallon of milk and headed straight away to the checkout.

The Hostess Powdered Donettes would be another day. Alas, I was already locked and overloaded.

In less time than it takes to stuff a wad of sugary white something into a yellow, sort of cake-like tube, cash changed hands, snacks were bagged – paper, not plastic – and I was out the door.

Of course I didn’t wait, not even long enough to start the truck. Ripped the box open, reached in and pulled out … an extra from the kitchen cupboard in the movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
twinkies-cartoon-hellerI was appalled. But not speechless.

“What have they done to my Twinkie!,” I yelled to no one. “Why, it’s no bigger than my pinky! In fact, it’s downright dinky! And why am I talking like this, Dr. Seuss is dead and this is beginning to feel creepy!”

What. The. Hell.

Later, at home, a little research provided me with a lot of answers. Like this, from a nydailynews.com article:

“Purists might notice a slight difference in this latest version of the beloved snack cake — it’s about 15 calories less than the traditional version, and weighs less too.

A single spongy treat now has 135 calories and weighs 38.5 grams, according to a Hostess spokesperson.

The traditional Twinkie weighed 42.5 grams and had 150 calories.”

Now, wait a minute. Granted, I can’t tell the difference between a diet book and kindling, but something tells me there’s not one diet plan that includes the Twinkie. No meal plan that recommends you pound down a couple of Twinkies with a glass of skim milk, then turn sideways and look in a mirror and proudly say, “Now that’s slim and trim.”

Nutrition, thy name is not Twinkie.

I’m not mad, just … disappointed. And I’m not giving up on my just-returned palatable pal. The shelf life of this smaller snack has been upped to 46 days, far greater than the old, bigger one’s 26. So I’m putting my box up on my shelf, way in the back, where it can’t be seen or touched. I won’t take it down for another 45, 46 days.

By then they should be full-grown.twinkies-cartoon-beeler

You lose some, you lose some

Every now and then I get this irresistible urge, call it a yearning even, to be so filthy rich that even China comes to me, begging to borrow money.

Hey, I know it’s insane. And yeah, I also realize that no one else has such looney thoughts. But that’s just the kind of wild and crazy guy I am.

Actually, it’s not so much that I have an urge as it is that I get a message. I’ll be walking along, say in the canned vegetables/condiments aisle at the supermarket, and suddenly I’m awash in a bright light, from above.

I’m stunned. I realize it’s either a sign from God, or one of the florescent bulbs in the ceiling lights above me is about to flame out.

The Lord works in mysterious places.

It’s often at that moment that I hear … The Voice … saying,

Doth Get Thyself Rich!, or

Spill in Aisle 7!

It’s God … or the grocery manager on the P.A. Either way, it’s a message. And I must heed it. So I either look to see if there’s a puddle of yellow mustard ahead of me, or head straight to the customer service desk and buy a lottery ticket.

I’m not a habitual lottery ticket buyer. I know the odds are about a bizzillion to one that I’ll even win my dollar back. But while the lottery is a fool’s game at retirement planning, at that moment it’s one for everyone but … me.

After all, if the message really is from “Above,” God must be my bookie.

So I plunk my dollar down (only one, I’m not that religious) and ask for a “quick pick.” See, God doesn’t ever tell me the numbers to play so I figure He’s picking them for me, through the machine. Call it divine randomization.

Or the Immaculate Wager.

I can hear your head shaking from side to side. You don’t believe this can happen, do you? Ahem – a case in point …

This man reportedly won a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot. And look, it has not only made him rich … but evidently handsome. Now, tell me God had nothing to do with this. I think not.

In the words of your kindly Sunday School teacher from decades back – yes child, miracles do happen. Every day. And not just in churches. But in state lottery headquarters too.

Now, since I periodically receive celestial gambling encouragement, you may be muttering, “OK smart guy, so if He’s telling you it’s time to play, why haven’t you won it big yet?”

Oh, ye of little faith. Sigh.

It’s at times like this when I can hear these sonorous words of inspiration, put forth by the caller at the local church’s weekly Bingo game, held every Friday night down in the basement below the sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Motion Church:

You can’t win, if you don’t pray.

There she is ….

Mere words cannot describe …

See that woman over there? Yeah, I’ll give you that. It is kind of hard to miss her, for sure.

Her name is Eleanor Buenofortunatto. She was bagging my groceries at the Super Stop & Shop supermarket this afternoon. Store’s so big its got two supers in its name. I’ve seen her there a couple times. Bagged my stuff up a few times before today. Seems nice. Pretty conscientious, looks like she takes her job seriously too. Not once has she packed the canned vegetables or kitty litter in the same bag and on top of my bread and eggs and occasional tub of whipped “You’ll-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter-As-Soon-As-You-Open-This-Tub-And-Taste-It!”.

I appreciate the little things in life, like good customer service. So, there I was today, standing in the checkout line, watching a steady stream of my favorite breakfast-lunch-dinner cereals work their way through the scanner and chug past me on the grocery conveyor belt. There goes my Cocoa Pebbles, followed by the Cocoa Krispies, and that was my Choco-Cap’n Crunch, Chocolate Cheerios, Milk-choc-delight Chex (gluten-free), Chocolate-covered Raisins Bran. And there’s Eleanor slinging and flinging, bagging and packing and keeping up up with my bright-colored cardboard-wrapped cocoa-tide, my now-packed-with-12-essential-daily-vitamins, lightly-sweetened cavalcade.

She’s got to be a pro, I figured. Impressive. But today, there something different about Eleanor, at least to me. Call it a feeling, call it a hunch, whatever it is, sometimes I pick up these vibes from some people. Don’t know why or how, but it’s a definite intuitive talent. Had it ever since I was a tiny child, squirted out of my mother’s soapy hands while she bathed me in the sink and I fell to the floor.

My mom noticed it, even then. To this day she says I was never the same after that. That’s probably called a mother’s intuition.

Anyway, I received a mental message emanating from Eleanor and I couldn’t let it pass.

“Eleanor, have you got a computer?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you go on the Internet a lot?”

“Yeah.”

“Ever read something called a blog?”

“Yeah.”

“I got a blog.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. And the other day I blogged that I was going to give a solid-gold Mercedes-Benz to the 500th viewer of it. And I just have a funny feeling it was you. Am I right?”

“Yeah!”

Damn, I’m good.

It was at that moment, that very moment … something came over Eleanor. You might notice it in the photograph I took of her up above. A thing of beauty. Warmed my heart, I tell you. Never seen such an outward display of delight in a person.

Not then, not now. I mean literally, now. I just drove by the market and she’s still there, looking just as she was when I left there four hours ago. Manager’s moved her out into the parking lot, stood her by the road with a sign taped to her. Says “C’mon in, you won’t beeelieve our low, low prices!!”

I can see why Bill Gates decided to give away most of his billions. This philanthropy stuff does wonders for the soul.