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Monday, November 26, 2012

Death Comes for the Twinkie



by Bradly Baird (bio)

via someecards.com
After the announcement that Hostess planned to shutter its doors, a great Twinkie frenzy engulfed the country. People began scouring grocery and convenience stores, buying up as many as could be found; while boxes of the delicious golden snack cake appeared on auction websites, available to the highest bidder. Newscasters proclaimed America a land of desolation and commentators blamed everyone from organized unions to the Obama Administration. Even teenagers in my Sunday School class expressed their own feelings about the situation and told me stories about the ways in which their families engaged in this temporary madness.

This consumeristic melee fascinates me and - like so many other similar phenomena - incites a little riot of imagination. In my mind's eye, I envision websites dedicated to the history of the snack, memorials along byways and country roads, blogs declaring undying love for and misadventures in snacking, not to mention a host of merchandise - including t-shirts, mugs, caps, toys, etc. - all dedicated to and adorned with images of the golden treat. And, if I let my imagination run wild, I forsee that some nutcase will launch a "Save the Twinkie" campaign and then build a gigantic Twinkie-shaped restaurant (featuring animatronic Twinkies that dance) somewhere along Route 66; or, someone may even build a Twinkie museum near the Las Vegas Strip.

To me, this craze for mourning the Twinkie demonstrates a vulnerable and sensitive side of our humanity. It shows that beneath the materialistic, vain, and coarser layers of our consumer culture sits a deeply felt need to connect with others through a shared experience. The phenomenon also provides some satisfaction and comfort in the knowledge that friends, neighbors, and total strangers are similar to one another ... so very similar when expressing their own personal brand of humanness.

In 1997, a children's humorist named Bob Tucker expressed his own regard for the Twinkie in a poem called "Ode to a Twinkie," that aptly represents the feelings of many. This charming little ditty should make us all smile just a little bit as we recognize ourselves within its words and as we deal with the fact that the Angel of Death arrived this week for a beloved icon of American consumerism.

Oh, Twinkie with your golden hue,
You have delicious goop in you.
There you are! Were you waiting long,
Between Sno-balls and stale Ding Dong?

My friends all think I'm kinda kinky
Cause my role model is a twinkie.
But they don't know what we've been through.
Dear Twinkie, I can count on you.

I tell my troubles as I bite.
You never tell me, "That's not right."
You listen to each foolish fear,
Then slowly, deliciously disappear.

I hold you close when we're alone
And think the thoughts that are my own.
Then turn to you, my dear sweet yummie.
You clear my mind, tickle my tummie.

Your outside is a little plain,
But inside you are "mellow lane."
I like you better than these folks,
Who look at me and then make jokes.

People should be more like you.
You don't judge the things folks do.
Inside is where your beauty lies.
Within the plain, there's sweet surprise.

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