My Family (a long time ago)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Of Pixy Stix and Pop Rocks

People bring a lot of leftover food into work and put it in the kitchen for anyone to eat. It usually doesn’t take too long for something to go – to the swift go the spoils! Once in a while, someone brings in something that sits…and sits…and sits. I often wonder about items like that. Did someone try it and then tell everyone else it tastes terrible? Did somebody see somebody else take a bite and retch? If so, how come no one warned me?

This week I went into the kitchen on Tuesday and there was a pile of Pixy Stix on the table. Pixy Stix? That’s exactly what I thought when I saw them. It looked like Pixy Stix, but I wasn’t quite sure. I picked one up and, even without my now-required reading glasses, I saw that it was indeed Pixy Stix. My first thought was, “They still make these things?” I really didn’t know they still made them after all these years. After all, they were a big thing when I was a kid. There wasn’t much better than pouring some flavored powdered sugar into your mouth, so dry that you almost couldn’t swallow. It was awesome! At least it was when I was a kid.

I didn’t eat any of the Pixy Stix last week. As an adult, the thought of pouring powdered sugar into my mouth really didn’t interest me whatsoever. However, it did get me thinking of some other so-called food items that were great as a kid. I don’t know why, but one item that always comes back to my mind is Zarex. Thick syrup that you mixed with water, Zarex was a staple at my house, especially in the summer. You could make a pitcher full or just a glass full, mix it with some ice and drink it down. And sometimes when no one else was around we’d just take a swig of the Zarex syrup – talk about a sugar rush! The funny thing about that is that just thinking about drinking Zarex straight up makes me kind of shiver. Oh, and if Mom found out we did that, we weren’t allowed to make any ourselves, which meant that we got her version that was more like water with a little flavor instead of sweet, thick syrup with a little water. Kool Aid was no match for Zarex. It also appears that Zarex is being manufactured again.

How about Pop Rocks? When those first came out, every kid wanted them and every parent wanted to ban them. One of us would put half the bag in our mouth, close our mouth and everyone else would stand around that person listening to them pop, trying not to laugh too loud so we could hear them. Then came the Urban Legend that if you ate Pop Rocks with soda, your stomach would explode. Or maybe it was a marketing ploy. It either shows how stupid we were to go ahead and try eating Pop Rocks with soda or how smart we were to not believe it, but me and my friends are all alive today after doing it. Now that I think of it, maybe that’s why some of us have larger stomachs than we’d like.

Another item that comes to mind is Marathon Bars, which were chocolate covered caramel that was kind of twisted. Supposedly they took a long time to eat. I just remember the funny ads on TV – “I’m Quick Carl and I do everything fast”, except eat a Marathon bar. I probably ate one at some time, but it didn’t leave much of a memory.  Would I eat any of these now? Absolutely not. And now that I’m reading this over, it brings something else to mind. How the heck do we have any teeth left?

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