I think we can all agree the time has come to set aside our political differences and petition the government to create a federal holiday for the inventor of Lucky Charms. As if you didn’t already know, his name is John Holahan and never a greater mind graced this planet.
“Oh yeah? What about Albert Einstein?” you say in an annoyingly snarky way that is, frankly, beneath you.
To that, I say, “Hah!”
If Einstein was so smart, why didn’t it ever occur to him to coat oats with a dusting of sugar and add little hunks of sweet, crunchy, brightly colored “charms” like John Holahan did? Let Einstein go figure out how things we can’t even see – much less coat in sugar – operate and I’ll stick with the mastermind who basically turned horse food into the best cereal known to man (provided that “man” is an eight year old kid).
I was an eight-year-old kid a few centuries ago and I didn’t think life got any better than Lucky Charms. Back then, the only high point of being dragged to the grocery store by your mother was when she let you pick out a box of cereal from the cereal aisle. Cereal makers took a lesson from the marketing gurus at Cracker Jacks and offered a “prize” inside the box. Unlike Cracker Jacks, the cereal guys showed you prize. Before Lucky Charms, I, like every other kid in the country, chose cereal solely based on that prize.
Trust me, it was a monumental decision.
Did I go for the race car you snapped together or the spoon with the hollow handle that acted as a straw? Of course, there was the assortment of whistles and tops to review. The best tops came with a rip cord attachment that spun them at the speed of light. You took a shoe box and you and your cousins (if you didn’t have cousins, you borrowed some) conducted raging top battles within the shoe box arena. Of course, I skipped over anything that featured the little green toy soldiers as a prize. Only an amatuer picked them. The experienced prize connoisseur knew you already had a ton of toy soldiers and those that hadn’t passed through the digestive track of your dog always wound up buried in the back yard dirt pile never to be seen again. Once I found a miniature balsa wood airplane that actually flew. It even came with a rubber band that powered a red propeller. I loved that thing and I was grief stricken when it broke in half during a particularly hard landing. The Holy Grail of cereal prizes was the parachute guy attached to a working parachute. It came with a little diagram showing you how to fold the parachute, but what you wound up doing was wrapping the chute around him and tossing it all as high as you could. If you were lucky, you pestered an older relative into fashioning a slingshot out of a wire coat hanger and rubber bands. You used that to fire your parachute man into the stratosphere and watched it slowly parachute back to earth where it eventually got tangled in the tallest limb of a scrub oak (if you didn’t have a scrub oak, you borrowed one), where it dangled for the rest of eternity mocking you.
I no longer remember what the prize was, but one day I picked a box of Lucky Charms and my life was transformed. I became an addict. It was the perfect food – delicious and entertaining. I made a game of eating all the oats first and saving all the charms for last. Then I drank the sweet, sugary milk.
I submit, life got no better.
From that day on, I chose Lucky Charms regardless of the prize, with one exception. If a competing cereal featured a parachute man, I picked that one. You’ve got to have your standards. Besides, I had to use my coat hanger sling shot for something other than shooting wads of paper at my sister.
What brought this post on is I read a report that claims Lucky Charms is one of the healthier cereals for you. I don’t know if I believe that or not, but I do believe it is excuse enough for me to start eating them again. And I will, provided I don’t run across another cereal featuring a parachute man.