Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Vanilla Moon Pies and Growing Old



This is totally random, and my point is probably far less than profound, but yesterday I went to the 7/11 near my house and was practically jumping up and down when I saw Vanilla Moon Pies. I'm a huge fan of anything vanilla, and you just don't see vanilla Moon Pies that often. Chocolate, sure. Maybe even banana. But for some reason vanilla is hard to come by.

"This is awesome!" I thought to myself as I pondered buying the whole box. Just to, uh, have some around the house for a while. Yeah, that's it. I found the inner strength to only buy two, and I grinned all the way home about my great find, because again, these are pretty darn rare in my experience. Even as I was enjoying the first of my two rare vanilla Moon Pies yesterday, I was thinking, "I better save the other one for a special occasion, or go back and buy more, because I never know when I'll find them again!"

Then this morning for some reason it hit me. There's this little thing called the Internet, and you can actually buy stuff on the Internet. But surely the Internet doesn't sell vanilla Moon Pies, right?
Well of course the Internet sells Moon Pies. And not just vanilla either. They have flavors I didn't even know existed, like strawberry and orange. You can even get mini Moon Pies if you're so inclined.

So how does this all relate to the title of this post?

Well, I got to thinking about why it didn't dawn on me to go to Amazon.com right away if I wanted a vanilla Moon Pie, or anything else for that matter, and I think it's because I grew up when there was no Internet. (I know, I'm old.) I guess in my brain you still only buy tech stuff, books, DVDs, and things of that nature on the Internet, but buying food on the Internet--other than holiday baskets at Christmas--just didn't enter into my head.

Back when I was a kid (see, I am old) if your local store didn't have something, you didn't get it. There was no instant access to infinite choices, and you couldn't have exactly what you wanted at a moment's notice.

I still have fond memories of my Dad hunting around for a very specific kind of Heinz dill pickles because the local grocery store stopped carrying the ones he liked. He talked to the manager and tried to explain the situation, and I think the manager even said he'd check with the distributor, but I think he'd get maybe a jar here or there and that was the best the store could do for the most part.

Then for Father's Day or my Dad's birthday one year, I remember either my Mom or my sister (another sign of getting old--the memory starts to go) got my Dad a whole case of these hard-to-find pickles. He was thrilled. He kept a jar in the fridge and put the surplus in the basement, and he'd have his favorite pickles for quite some time to come.

I guess my point is that back before it was so easy to get everything, and when there's more or less no such thing as scarcity anymore (at least not in the land of plenty), there was excitement in all of this. It was fun to see something you don't see often in the store, and it took some detective work and actual leg (OK, car) work to hunt down that exact item you wanted. And I bet it tasted all that much sweeter (or sourer in the case of pickles) when you finally found your Holy Grail.

So as I was enjoying my vanilla Moon Pie yesterday, I guess I was reliving all of this. And now that I know I can get vanilla Moon Pies whenever I want, somehow it's just not as exciting. (They still taste pretty damn good though.)

At least the ones I got at the 7/11 were double-decker vanilla Moon Pies. Those aren't available on Amazon.com yet.

4 comments:

greymeister said...

Great story, I too am more apathetic about what used to be "rare" items now that they are almost always available.

Bob Silverberg said...

I know exactly what you mean, Matt. Strangely I find myself doing the same thing with information sometimes. I'll often try to remember something - who was that actor in that movie? - and I'll think and think, and then suddenly I'll realize that I can just look it up on the internet. That's always a bit of a letdown.

The Fat Bald Guy said...

Oddly a Star Trek quote applies here. Mr. Spock once told another Vulcan, "Having something is sometimes not as satisfying as wanting it. It is not logical, but you will find it is true."

Totally get what you're saying. It's a Zen, the journey is the destination. Holds true for Moon Pies, Mallo cups, and Garibaldi biscuits (raisin cookies) as well as the fastest gaming computer, and a great shell script.

Now, is that good or bad? That's what I can't figure out.

The Fat Bald Guy said...

Oddly a Star Trek quote applies here. Mr. Spock once told another Vulcan, "Having something is sometimes not as satisfying as wanting it. It is not logical, but you will find it is true."

Totally get what you're saying. It's a Zen, the journey is the destination. Holds true for Moon Pies, Mallo cups, and Garibaldi biscuits (raisin cookies) as well as the fastest gaming computer, and a great shell script.

Now, is that good or bad? That's what I can't figure out.