Never Understood the Appeal
The beverages you were offered growing up as a young lad ranged from a glass of milk to a cold bottle of IBC Root Beer. Most of the options were satisfying, but there was always one that I could never quite figure out. It masked itself as a juice, but it tasted of carbonation. It marketed itself as a savior for the growing boy, but it felt like something a grown-up should be downing at a black tie affair. You expected a smooth finish, and got nothing of the sort. If it's not obvious enough already, yeah, I'm talking about Sunny Delight.
For some reason, you were never allowed to call this drink by its full name. It was always just "Sunny D." You were risking public humiliation and possible jail time if you spoke the title out in full. But the cool nickname seemed to be where all the fun came to an end. You and your friends would barge into the house after a spirited game of 3-on-3 on the driveway. Everyone was sweating, mouths were thirsty, and the "it" thing to do was to offer up Sunny D to your posse. But we weren't in a television commercial! We didn't have to act this way! We had a choice, and sadly, often it was the wrong one.
But what drove us to gulp down this imitation Tropicana? It definitely was not the taste. Ask anyone if they enjoyed drinking Sunny D growing up. Their response might be something like, "Sure, it was fun," or "It was usually a good time." But they never hit you with "Oh man, it was delicious! Loved drinking it!" Simply put, it was no good. They managed to turn the always reliable Orange Juice into some kind of bubbly, hyperactive concoction that could best be described as "wrong." Just wrong. It looked like OJ, it felt like OJ, but it most definitely did not taste like OJ. There were only a handful of times in my life that I actually had Sunny Delight. But those few harrowing memories remain clear as day in my mind, and sometimes I wonder if I'll ever truly shake that over-carbonated feeling.
An Underrated Event
Earthquakes get their fair share of attention. Hurricanes are always in the news. Tsunamis even got hot for a few years. But where's the love for the underrated "cyclone" in the natural disaster world? I've always thought it was sort of a poor man's tornado, but that doesn't mean it deserves to go completely ignored. Remember when you'd be playing Little League and the pitcher would have to step off the rubber because dirt was swirling all around in everyone's eyes? Your teammates on the field would scream out that it was a "sandstorm." Incorrect. That was a cyclone...we just never knew it.
As for the tornado, it really became a fan favorite after Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt gave us Twister in the late 90's. Everyone and their brother were out searching for the next tornado, eager to jump in for a short ride and see what all the hype was about. Count me among those that were highly interested, but never had the good fortune of actually spending time inside of a real twister. I always thought it would be similar to the Tilt-a-Whirl ride at the fair, only with more speed and no wimpy safety harness strapped to your chest. Honestly, have you ever talked to someone that was in a tornado and had anything but great things to say about the experience? I sure haven't. It just seems like a bag full of surprises.
What else would be in the tornado with you? I picture maybe finding some great antiques or a cozy set of lawn furniture. Everything would probably be flying around and rotating at dizzying speeds, but if you were quick enough on your feet, you could probably walk out of that bad boy with some nice parting gifts. And where would ya be dropped off? Obviously, Big Twist has no rhyme or reason where it's gonna set you down, so it could really be anywhere. Imagine jumping into the fray somewhere around Livonia, and a couple hours later, you're a block away from Wrigley Field. What could be better? The unpredictability of the adventure is what makes the whole thing so enticing. And I can't wait to find out for myself one day...
The Definition of Overrated
Is there a ballpark food more past its prime than the "soft pretzel?" Soft Pretzel always tries to lure you in with its unique shape and promise for a delicious mid-inning snack. But it's just false hope wrapped in a mirage of salt crystals. You plunk down your $3.50 expecting something special. You think it's going to be warm, but not too hot. You think it's going to be soft, but not mushy. You expect a pleasant relationship with this staple of the sporting event snack bar, but that's just a wish you know aint' comin true.
The temperature is always misleading. When they hand it to you, Soft Pretzel always hides his deficiencies by making sure he is wrapped in some kind of little paper cover. That way, when you first grip the little guy, you think, "Well, this must be right out of the oven! Why else would they be giving it to me with a cover around it?!?" But when you finally decide it's time to remove the paper and let pretzel meet flesh, it's Disappointment City. It's lukewarm, bordering on cool. It can only be effective if served warm, and frankly Soft Pretzel, you should know better. The "soft" part of the equation is usually not entirely accurate, either. You assume it would be soft enough to calmly rip apart with your bare hands, the bread easily tearing off and bringing a smile to your face. Instead, the thing is generally rock-hard, making you wonder just how long this particular soft pretzel has been waiting to be purchased.
And what is it with the excessive baby salt particles all over Big Pretz?? You'd think maybe a dash of salt in a couple places would do the trick. But instead Soft Pretzel goes Oppo-Zoppo on you, and douses itself in salt so nary an inch of its body goes uncovered. You ever heard the saying, "A little bit goes a long way." Apparently Soft Pretzel never got that memo. Whereas I should be casually enjoying this delight, I'm now forced to spend the majority of my time brushing off Salt Lake City and wondering why I just didn't play it safe and go with Dippin' Dots.
You ever been to a party with a bunch of snacks at a side table? You'll see some potato chips, maybe a bowl of M & M's, and usually, a big helping of pretzels. Of course, these pretzels are small enough to grab 3 or 4 at a time, the way the good Lord intended. Where did we lose track of this and think it was okay to build a pretzel 12 times the size? Can you imagine going to a baseball game, strolling up to the snack counter, and ordering one giant Ruffle? No, you cannot. Because a Ruffle is a sacred institution that is meant to be consumed in one bite. I thought our little twisted friends were the same way, until the ever-arrogant Soft Pretzel arrived unannounced to the party and promptly turned our snack world upside-down. So do us all a favor, Twist, and take your show elsewhere. We've seen what you're sellin'...and we aint buyin'.
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