Memories Are Wacky Packages

Giant Snickers bars with mixed-up names have been appearing around my home town. I noticed them Saturday, struck by how their labels resembled the real thing. I kept driving, musing, nonplussed, and suddenly an image came to mind. A bogus loaf of bread called "Blunder Bread." Huh?

I've learned, when you start to have a memory, nurse it along patiently. Don't jump in and get an answer too quickly - even in this age of Google. You might lose the chance to work your memory muscle.

So throughout the afternoon, I gave it more thought. The word "Wacky" came to mind. I remembered shiny pictures of products - products you'd recognize from grocery shelves or TV commercials, with wacked-out names and hijacked label designs. For some reason the memory of it tasted like starchy, stiff bubble gum.

Today, I looked it up. (One of the best uses of the Internet is that it validates my childhood memories.) No, I'm not crazy. Yes, there actually were . . .

Wacky Packages.

Wacky Packages were stickers that came with gum. Sometimes funny, sometimes morbid, sometimes gross, mocking every popular product of the day. I think I had Valveater Cheese, and Burpsi-Cola. At 8 or 9, I thought they were the work of geniuses. And I liked the gum.

For hours, I'd shuffle through my stickers, chewing my gum, chortling at all the parodies and thinking myself so superior because I got the jokes.

I don't know what the Snickers campaign is trying to do. But I really appreciate this weird excursion into the past that it has triggered for me.

What I can learn from this is to stay open. When a chunk of a memory, when a suggestion of something nags at you - don't ignore it. Gently welcome it and slowly unwrap it as a sweet bit of creativity, gone underground.

When's the last time you let a wild and irrelevant memory stick to you?

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