To the Twinkie, A Sad Farewell

To the Twinkie, A Sad Farewell

To the Twinkie, A Sad FarewellAs we get older, we learn to never say never. This is because we ultimately wind up seeing things happen that we could never imagine occurring when we were younger. General Motors going bankrupt, Lehman Brothers ceasing to exist, the Saints winning a Super Bowl. These are all events that in my youth were inconceivable to me. However, as much as these events shattered some of the illusions of my childhood, I was simply devastated the other day when I read of the demise of the Twinkie. For those of you who’ve been out of the country or living under a rock for the past few days, let me catch you up. The Hostess Baking Company, the purveyor of so many of those legendary treats that salvaged many a lackluster school lunch has decided to pack it in.

Let me begin by paraphrasing the Bard and say that “I come not to bury the Twinkie, but to praise it”. Who among us cannot look back on the days when we could barely sit still (and no it wasn’t ADD) during a morning of Language Arts and Social Studies based upon the knowledge that a delectable Hostess Ding Dong or a package of Ho Ho’s graced the brown paper bag with our name on it? For me though, it was always the Twinkie that made lunch that…special time.

It really didn’t fit into one of the government recognized food groups. In fact I’m not even sure that it actually contained any natural food products at all. Think about it. Did you ever see a rotten Twinkie? Those things had the half-life of Plutonium 90. I read once that in an experiment, scientists found they were still fresh after 20 years. So maybe they represented better snack food through chemistry, but you could be sure that when you parted that cellophane wrapper and sunk you teeth into one of those yellow tubes of goodness, your taste buds were in for a savory treat whether it came from a brand new box or one that had somehow been hidden behind a bunch of cans of soup in the pantry for the last six months.

Twinkies had the power to elevate even the most pedestrian of lunches. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some chips and a piece of fruit became the equivalent of a fine French meal with just the addition of a single twin pack. And Twinkies had intrinsic value in the cutthroat marketplace that was the school cafeteria. Pity the poor kid whose only assets were a baloney sandwich and an apple, which as we all remember, was just a throw in to any lunch table trade—“I’ll give you my tuna sandwich and an apple for…” But a Twinkie was the true coin of the realm. A shrewd bargainer could leverage even a single one (while keeping the other for himself) into an upgrade to someone’s “last night’s fried chicken”, multiple brownies, or, in real coup de grace, an entire hot lunch on Pizza Day. We can only guess at the number of successful business careers the Twinkie helped spawn.

I suppose like so many things of our youth: real rock and roll, electric football, and muscle cars that got about 10 miles to the gallon, the demise of the Twinkie will be acknowledged, if it is at all, as just another victim of societal advancement. In a country overrun by 200 pound 5th graders, the killing off of the Twinkie and its brethren will be seen as a necessary casualty by those who can’t seem to make the connection between little Johnny’s propensity to sit on his butt and play video games and his corpulence. How sad. I, for one, will miss them. As I tear open the wrapper to my memorial twin pack, let me say, “Vaya Con Dios, My old lunch time compadre”.