Big surprise in Cracker Jacks: No more toys!
I picked up some boxes of Cracker Jacks to hand out to friends while we watched the World Series recently, and instead of "toy surprises" inside the boxes there were stickers, tattoo transfers and little scraps of paper with jokes and riddles on them. Now THAT was a surprise.
Apparently we have gotten to the point where small, bite-size, swallow-able plastic toys can no longer be included in a box of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts. Or, I should say, peanut. Because not only were the toy surprises not to be found in the Cracker Jacks, neither were the peanuts.
Well, one peanut was. I suspect that in order to keep the cost of Cracker Jacks low, the expensive peanuts had to be removed, except for that one token peanut, hiding out near the bottom of the box. Finding the one peanut is like playing a snack version of Where's Waldo? (I know, the official name of the product is Cracker Jack, but everyone in the snack-eating world uses the plural form -- Jacks -- because it makes more sense.)
I thought bringing Cracker Jacks to the World Series would be fun and we would all sing "Take me out to the ball game! Take me out hmbled aalskdu alskdu! (whatever the words are!) Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks! I don't care if we ... uh ... have heart attacks!" But the lack of toy surprises seemed to depress my friends, who, like me, hadn't opened a box of Cracker Jacks in years.
"I remember when you would get a little plastic magnifying glass inside," my friend Paul said sadly, looking at his lame fake tattoo thingy. "You could burn things with it."
Which, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is why real toy surprises have disappeared from Cracker Jacks. Because when kids weren't accidentally ingesting the dangerous toy surprises or sticking them into their friends' eyeballs, little boys like Paul were using them to fry ants and start fires.
It's hard to hurt yourself or others with a slip of paper with a riddle on it, unless you get a paper cut. (Riddle: In a paper-cut lawsuit, what percent of the punitive-damages award does the attorney take?)
I was surprised to learn that Cracker Jacks aren't the only culinary relic to have changed. I got a fortune cookie with a recent takeout order from a Chinese restaurant, and the fortune said (and I'm not kidding here), "Advice given to you will be well worth following." What kind of limp chow-fun-noodle fortune is that?
Fortune cookies are supposed to give you advice, not tell you that advice will be forthcoming. Has the fortune-cookie industry caved in to trial lawyers, too? Are fortune-cookie fortune writers afraid of being sued should their prognostications not pan out? (The cookie said I'd find romance in the evening, but all I got was heartburn! I'm suing!)
No toys in Cracker Jacks and no fortunes in fortune cookies. What a sad world it has become. What's next, no fatty pork in a manapua? I guess it's like the song says, "For it's one! Two! Three strikes you're out at the old law game!"
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