Saturday, March 18, 2006

snack time


I am the snack-whisperer. I think it started when I realized that my truck smells like fritos if i don't vacuum it out every once in a while. And then those half ounce bags of chips that come with deli sandwiches - the ones with about four whole chips - they're weirdly unexpected treasures. I horde them, little golden piles of plastic airbags in my cupboard.

The American Snack - you're completely inedible. That's what makes you so fascinating.

Snacks live in snack machines. A snack's natural habitat is to be lined up in rows facing a sheer vertical drop. The snack machine has a large glass wall so we can watch the snack as it lose its balance on the precipice. We then like to watch snacks fall, preferably a drop of three and a half feet. And we're infuriated when they don't fall. This is how snack machines get destoyed more often than not, by customer rage, not vandalism.

By the way, Japan has more vending machines per capita than anywhere else - one for every 23 humans. In Japan, vending machines also carry household items, underwear, umbrellas, and other important things for people-on-the-go. In America, aside from the amazing vend-o-mat phenemenon of the mid-twentieth century, the vending machine is filled with corn products, as well as candy bars and soda sweetened with corn products.

A little historical context: the vending machine was invented in 215B.C. in Alexandria. It's true; holy water was dispensed from a lever mechanism apparatus device situation that I don't really understand, but definitely involved placing a Greek coin into a slot. In general, all vending machines throughout history have operated under the principle of putting a coin into a slot. Modern snack machines now accept bills, of course, and some take credit cards, but the slot is still there, waiting to be filled by cash money.

Studies show, however, that people are less likely to purchase a snack when the "Exact Change ONly" warning light is flashing. People prefer to pay a little extra for their snack, probably because of the rain of coins into the change holder. Another mysterious feature is the plastic flap that covers the bin into which are snacks are caught, fallen from grace. Clearly, this feature of vending architecture has endured because many like to procure their food not through human interaction, but by sticking their hands into a dark hole covered by a plastic flap.

In closing, I'd like to meditate on this perennial question: Why do we like to watch corn products fall into a trough? It could have something to do with the triumph of the human spirit, but I'm open to suggestions.

5 comments:

jackolee said...

Terrific ideas here, DreamcRisP. The product is corn. The plastic is trough. And so I'd like to offer that the reason we like to see the "product drop" is this: It's a metaphor for post-agrarianism. Specifically, for a petroleum-based market. When we see that corn product drop down into the "trough" (interesting word choice here. others come to mind as well, including, "bosom," "hands," "basket," and "filthy bosom"), we're seeing the past five hundred years of human evolution. And maybe, just maybe, we're imagining our future...At any rate, a flurry of questions come to mind: does the corn product fall? Or was it pushed? If so, why? And who pushes it? The machine? Or the consumer, the coin-dropper? The coin itself, perhaps? Or perhaps something deeper-rooted, more archetypal, such as "coin-ness" or even "suchness." When the product falls, does it survive the impact? Or does it fall from grace? Can the plastic trough/grave/enclosure/flithy bosom hold and protect the protect? Is it a worthy vessel? Are we humans worthy of the nuclear hybrid snack products that Frito-Lay alchemists dream up in their reclusive laboratories? Food of the Gods falling into the hands of the proletariat? Is it really all about stealing fire/plastics/alchemy from Above? Hell, I don't know. But i like the idea that the trough is a grave, I'm a grave robber, and the corn product is a wrongfully-buried Edgar Allen Poe who must be transubstantiated in order for the poetical anarchy to continue. I mean, that's what I'm gonna think about every time I eat Combos from now on. They really do cheese your hunger away.
-Rev. Jack

jackolee said...

Correction: I meant to write, "Can the plastic trough/grave/enclosure/filthy bosom hold and protect the product?" Not "...protect the protect..." Sorry about that, snack whisperer. Thanks for am insightful, delightful entry.

Yours, Rev. Jack

jackolee said...

I meant to say "Thanks for an insightful, delightful entry." Not "...for am..." Jeez. My paws must be covered in corn syrup. Peace. For good.

-Jack

jackolee said...

...also, in my original posting early today, I meant to write "the trough is plastic," not "the plastic is trough." I hadn't had my a.m. kundalini yet, and was thus a bit fuzzy in the mindstate. Sorry about the confusion.

Ewoks,
Jackolee

inspector said...

I applaud the post-agrarian metaphor, and would like to add that perhaps the corn-product's fast decent into the undertrough of the food machine may offer us some psycological relief by way of directly contridicting the pervasive cultural obsession with continuous progress and ascent.

Perhaps we already know, deep within our munchy little psyches, that the best treasures are buried in the shadowy trenches, and may or may not be protected by plastic flaps of mystery. Mystery and inconvienience.

That...and humans really like it when things fall down. I know I do. I think it's the noise.
>BAM!!<, y'know. It's a good noise.