A True Account of the Salted Snack Foods I would Consume at Nine but Not at Thirty-Nine, Being:
1. Tato Skins: There is an episode of the Smurfs where Papa Smurf tries to teach his hedonistic commune of miniature blue socialists a lesson about strength in numbers. He picks up a solitary stick and snaps it easily in half. Then he picks up a whole mess of sticks and tries to break them all at once. He struggles, then proudly fails, demonstrating his point.
In the late 1980s, I resisted Papa Smurf's red propanda in my own way, by shoving as thick a stack of Tato Skins into my chip-hole as I could. Then, while saluting the Stars & Stripes, I snapped through them all in a single sour-cream-and onion mastication of patriotism, as tato-dust exploded from my mouth like fireworks sparkles on the Fourth of July.
2. Planters Cheez Balls: Ah, you saucy orange cheesey balls of flavor. Sometimes I would cram you into my cheeks like a squirrel tucking away walnuts for winter. Other days, I would let you rest on my tongue for hours, luxuriating in the slow, sensous release of your golden tang, mourning, yet relishing, your dissolution into maltodextrin dust on my tastebuds.
3. French's Potato Sticks:
My hand reaches in to clutch a fistful of sticks mouth wide, still sticks miss.
4. O'Boises: When I was twelve years old, I had a crush on a girl who shall remain nameless. One afternoon, we were sitting under the old pavilion at Gardner Lake. "O'Boise," I said, holding out the bag while brushing off my shirt, "you really look nice today. Want some?"
5. Keebler Munch 'Ems: The inside of the closet was dark, but I was not alone. The elves, they understood me, especially the one they called Fryer Tuck. "Munch 'em," Fryer Tuck whispered in my ear. "Munch 'em all. Only then will they learn."