I’ve been preparing for this opportunity ever since I saw a Life cereal commercial and thought “Big whoop–I’d eat anything AND would survive mixing pop rocks with cola”. Ever since I wrote a poem for the first grade play about how perplexing it was (and still is) that tomatoes are fruit. Ever since I ran around the McDonald’s Playplace pointing out the Hamburgler was actually committing a hate crime and Mayor McCheese had a vendetta to settle.
My current interest and passion for new food products would be considered largely unacceptable by most members of society. I have been known to drive to six or seven locations in a day if I discover a product I must have. Six or seven isn’t THAT many, but it is if you’d like to maintain a family or a job or anything else that has a semblance of a 37 year old’s non-vagabond existence. And even when I don’t know something’s out there, I have a keen, systematic eye that I apply to convenience stores and supermarkets, scanning my eyes in all the right places (soda coolers, candy displays, potato chips, and the almighty holiday clearance section) in an efficient fashion that makes me feel that somehow I haven’t invested nearly as much time in this “hobby” as I have.
When I had less money at my disposal (my “monastic” grad school years en route to becoming a school psychologist) I would find a new product I was excited about, purchase one, and try it. If I liked it, I would then often engage in wild goose chases, trying to find the product again, only to meet with crippling, constant disappointment. As my wallet grew more proportional to my desire for Jolly Ranchers soda and Mint Skittles, I discovered that purchasing multiple items of a new product was effective insurance against the “one night stand” phenomenon I had incurred. However, I also found it was a proper way to fill your pantry with the dud products of the universe, the items so bad that you couldn’t pawn them off on the unsuspecting with a straight face. You might call it the “Why you don’t give out your address on Tinder”.
My family is subject to these whims now, as we try to find a happy medium. Two packages of new Oreos make it through the Ellis Island that is the grocery checkout (the worst Oreos will still get eaten by someone at 2am), but I invest more effort into defending my purchase of dessert Pringles than a court-appointed attorney. Ultimately, the cream rises to the top (save for the “Vanilla Heat” creamer I inflicted upon my loved ones). My students are not safe either, like the time I had them eating the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burn Doritos in a contest to win the extra cup of Rita’s Water Ice I had purchased. A true battle for the ages (of eight and up).
In all honesty, I think if someone took a close look at my behavior, they might consider it to be a little bit insane — for a person who doesn’t work in the food review industry. Therefore, this opportunity to include you all on my never-ending quest is a chance to restore my sanity, without me changing how I operate or responding to every Rorschach test with obscure product names like “Takis!” and “Bugles!” This is a match made in Heavenly Hash, so sound the, ahem, bugle–let’s get this hunt started.