28-Year Old Corn Pops

I am not a hoarder. I repeat- I am not a hoarder. I had a normal day, did normal grocery shopping, had a normal session with my regular dominatrix, and finished off my night with a box of Corn Pops. From 1984. But that doesn’t make me a hoarder, I swear! I feel like the Tran Pak of food blogging- “oh my god, it was one time!” In fact, in 1984 I was a mere regret in my father’s eye and a ticking time-bomb in my mother’s womb. So, I digress. Not a hoarder. However, that does make the person I bought them from a hoarder. How does it feel, teenybeanybabysluvrrrr1962!?

1984 was an illustrious year for cereal, especially Corn Pops, a coveted item after the Additional Sweetener Ban of 1982 (SGR 1213). Folks were using all kinds of sweeteners in their cereal to spice up the flavors, not limited to the molasses and coconut oil found in these Corn Pops, soon to be replaced by corn syrup. Rated a prestigious grade of 9.5 Cheerios out of 10 by prestigious Pulitzer-prize winning cereal aficionado Tony Panthera (d. 2005, diabetes), these had an impressive breakfast window from 8AM to 10PM, and were described as “nearly effervescent, with a complex, lingering sweetness on the tongue.” They flew off the shelves and were never seen again. Until now.

When the opportunity came to review these and ruin my credit, all I had to do was make a few phone calls to Discover, put my apartment on the market and bam, I was the proud owner of a single-serving box of 1984 Corn Pops and not one, but ten high-interest private loans! I’m also now homeless.
Looking at the pristine box art, I was a little disturbed to see that some of the golden, sweet cereal pieces falling into the bowl of milk were discolored and bore a strong resemblance to rat turds, as though foreshadowing the box’s present contents. Nevertheless, I forged on, ready to meet my maker in the most hyperspecific way I knew: accidental vintage overdose.

These Corn Pops are fortified with essential vitamins, 15% of your daily recommended intake of B12, that patented “ready-sweetened” touch, and they taste like canned ass. They have a meaty texture with a distinct outer and inner layer, the crusty outer shell revealing a pasty, bubblegum chewy core. Despite the ominous grey spots on the outside of some of the puffs, they were thankfully flavorless when dry, but when doused with milk, tasted like they’d spent the last two decades crammed in the moth-ball stuffed pocket of someone who also had a habit of carrying cat litter around. “I taste no molasses, I taste no coconut. Only the lingering aftertaste of shame.” That’s a little Sartre for you. I want to stare into the hateful, pixelated contours of the logo and ask it why, why has this unworthy example survived the test of time when God has killed legends like Kurt Cobain and Mister Rogers? And why is it violating my taste buds?

Just for fun, and by fun, I mean self-loathing, I let these infuse their flavor into an innocent cup of milk to see what would happen. Three hours later, the puffs are still chewy and foamy and the milk is somehow thicker. And brown, presumably due to being infused with mold and K-Mart sweater essence. So, yes, these are truly putrid and bring back no nostalgic feelings other than the nostalgia for taste and dignity. This is my Midnight in Paris, except instead of Owen Wilson ennui-induced escapism I have Corn Pops from 1984, and instead of Zelda Fitzgerald I have…Corn Pops from 1984.

Whatever, in comparison, I still feel like I’ve come out on top. 

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