Monday, April 6, 2009

Today In History

Today I opened up my iGoogle and looked at my To-Do List. It still has things I have neglected to accomplish since December of 2007, and that is no joke. I looked at my vacation countdown (2 months, 3 days thank you magical fairies who made us buy the tickets before our personal recession would have disallowed such a purchase) and then scrolled down to check off the last O.C.D. tick before methodically moving on to my email and then Facebook.

If you haven't used iGoogle, it is your very own personalized Google homepage. Mostly it is just for fun, as I don't use any of the 'important' features like stock quotes or political updates. I have a virtual yellow pad of paper that tells me to do things that I keep forgetting and really just poses as a Negative Thing in my life. I also have Google Translate, which lets me type in the English version of what I need to say to whomever of international origin is standing at my desk asking for rice, a good doctor recommendation, or the nearest Buddhist temple. They say something back and I try to phonetically work it backwards. Usually we get somewhere. They are nice to work with me through my pointing and grunting at the computer.

I also have author quotes of the day, and depending on my mood I change it from Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling to G.K. Chesterton, with a smattering of C.S. Lewis thrown in for good measure. From this list, I am left to deduce that to be a good writer I just need to use my initials.

T.Q. Cagle...or T.Q. Scott? Which sounds more compelling? T.Q. Scott-Cagle?

Well, with all of those brain busting iGoogle widgets, there has to be some fun. In the lower right-hand corner, I have 'This Day In History'. I like history, so this is my fun and yet still smart widget. I have no stoopid people ignoramus entertainment widgets anymore. I used to, but that spoiled all the fun when I went to look at in my last ten minutes' desperation at the front desk.

Today is April 6, 2009. In my life, six years ago, I was getting ready for Moira to arrive. I bought baby shampoo, a hideous nightgown with scary front panels that I won't describe to you in case you have never had a baby, and then packed my bag. But that is just my life, and I only remember This Day In My History because of what tomorrow is in that same subject. I have no idea what I was doing on September 2nd of 1991 or December 17th of 2001. I just don't have memorable moments for every day of my life.

This is why the history widget is so very exciting. I like the idea that each day has some bit of personality. Not every day can be groundbreaking and heart stopping (October 16 1793) or inspiring and electrifying (June 26 1997). But every day can be interesting, and hopefully more so than buying an ugly nursing gown.

Therefore, I give you Today In History, as reported by iGoogle:

The Twinkie was invented by bakery manager James Dewar, who noticed that the shop's shortcake pans were only used during the strawberry season and otherwise sat idle. His thrifty idea to use the pans during the off-season led to the development of the banana-filled Twinkie snack cake. During a World War II banana shortage, vanilla filling replaced the original banana. Today, 500 million Twinkies are produced each year.

Well. There you have it.

When you woke this morning, did you feel the gold, spongy quality of the sun? This day is Twinkie Day!

This information would be more interesting if I actually liked Twinkies. But I don't. Despite being the fattest kid in my neighborhood and yours, I never liked those nasty little cylindrical vials of sweetened lard. I should have. I was the target consumer! My love was dedicated to the swirly little plastic white ribbon atop a chocolate Hostess cupcake.

So you see, my disdain for the Twinkie doesn't stem from a self-righteous loathing of all things processed. At least, it didn't start out that way. I simply didn't like them. Even to my fat coated taste buds, Twinkies tasted fake and sweet, while also stale and altogether disappointing.

My opinion only went downhill when I hit my obsessive I Hate Fat And Sugar stage at the age of fourteen. I was a calorie warrior. I lived to defeat them, and would never be undone by anything less worthy than a big warm slice of cheesy, gooey, garlicky pizza straight from the oven of a big fat Italian Nona in the heart of Naples. What I knew to be true in this oh-so-very defining chapter of my life is that TWINKIES WERE EEEEVIL. Swirly little cupcakes were damned as well. There would be no more attempts by my tongue to untwirl the fake icing loopy loops.


My sister and I used to fly back and forth between Phoenix and Nashville. One year we were on the way back to the Valley Of The Insufferable Sun when we pulled out our brown paper lunch sacks. (This was back before people thought about shoe bombs and such, and you were allowed to meet your family at the gate or bring a cup of coffee on board.)

Aunt Lisa had supplied our knapsacks with a sandwich, an apple, a bag of Doritos, and a Twinkie.

Despite my lifetime ban on eating the golden sponge of sweetened leftover dried mayonnaise (or whatever they put in those things to make them so awful) I eyed the Twinkie. It looked back at me, its old wise eyes knowing that I was beginning to covet its stale exterior.

What is it about plane flights? You aren't really hungry, but all of a sudden you are so bored you would maim the child sitting next to you just to steal their pack of pretzels.

Well, the plane flight voodoo worked its magic and I reached for the Twinkie, trying to forget how it would make me instantly fatter and unable to fit through the airplane aisle upon arrival.

Sensing that sugary food was near, my sister's nostrils flared. Talitha is friend to all foods sweet and decadent. She has preferences of course, but doesn't disdain a particular item due to its ability to live through nuclear blasts and seventeen years on the dollar store shelf. No, she is a true dessert lover.

Not to be left out, she also reached for her Twinkie. And gasped. And pointed, and urged me to dig out my camera.

The man sitting between us looked more than annoyed, as he had already lived through my accosting her Kermit the Frog stuffed....frog and making it perform Broadway tunes during takeoff.

I was happy to comply with her earnest pleas for picture taking, as the Twinkie was FLOATING.

Suspended perfectly between its plastic see-through bubble, the Twinkie touched nothing.

It simply was.

Behold, the valiant Twinkie.

Feeling slightly disconcerted that a snack cake could perform acrobatic feats, I put my Twinkie in the trashcan with my pretzel wrapper.

Talitha popped the bubble and promptly devoured her astronaut cake.

And thus ends my thoughts on Twinkies. I cannot say why I wrote on Twinkies, other than today is the day of its creation and I felt the need to honor it, despite its inability to give me anything other than a look of disgust.

But April 6 is the day of the Twinkie. It is indefinitely more interesting that my recollection of trying to install an infant car seat while sobbing and swearing and eating a chocolate bar.

And until the writings of T.Q. Cagle make it somewhere big and famous, I'll have to live off of others' Today In Histories.

Happy Birthday, Twinkie. You have filled our lives with preservatives and urban legends.

Long live your preservative laden, cream filled center.

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