Sometimes I go into the supermarket and stand in the Uncle Tobys snack aisle. It's the aisle full of mega-packaged junk for your kid's 10.30 AM break. Tacker's tapas, if you will. It's got Le Snacks, Dunkaroos, Roll Ups, LCMs—everything you want when you're a kid but you weren't allowed. Or let's be honest: you were, but I wasn't.
My family was all about grinding up DIY peanut butter and pretending carob was a type of chocolate. Naturally this meant I would stare burning holes through my school friends' lunches and offer up my celery and hulled tahini for swapsies. No one was interested. So on my eighth birthday, as I blew out my candles and made a wish that one day I would be able to eat whatever I wanted. LCM Bars, Chicken Jumpy's chips, and the creme de la crème—Yogo. All of it, I imagined, would taste incredible.
Now I'm an adult, so I can grant myself whatever wishes I want, including the ones I made when I was eight. So I decided to go all out and only eat kids snack food for an entire week. A 24/7 kind of deal. And as all these food snack things proclaim the use of real fruit, or high calcium content, I figured by the end of the week I'd be real smart and good at writing, and my bones would be extra strong.
I was wrong.
Monday: 12 Le Snacks
The idea was that every day, I would exclusively eat just one of the foods I most desired when I was eight. And at the top of that list was Le Snack.
My first one was actually quite tasty, although one packet was definitely not enough. The cheese tasted how I imagine the cheese from that Wallace and Gromit moon adventure tasted like. That is, BLOODY DELICIOUS AND COMPLETELY NOT REAL—and good on crackers. I ate three for my breakfast then noticed my farts smelled a bit off, but that was fine. My energy in the morning was fine. Better than normal, almost. This week was going to be a breeze.
Also I noticed the brand Uncle Tobys doesn't have an apostrophe. This might not seem that important but I have a degree in writing, so it's important to me. Uncle Tobys should have an apostrophe, but instead the name implies that Uncle Tobys was named after multiple Tobys. As though a gang of men—who were all uncles named Toby—decided to start an oats and morning tea food company together. I went onto their website to find out more, but the site had a strange scrolling system and I lost interest.
Tuesday: Eight Petit Miam Yoghurts
That day I was off to a rehearsal for a sketch comedy group that I'm in. I grabbed a blueberry-flavoured Petit Miam and washed it down with a second. Petit Miams, when I was a child, were in those little tubs—I remember licking yogurt off the lid. But now they're all in those squeezey packet things, as though children are unable to comprehend spoons.
The blueberry flavour was disgusting, so I switched to beetroot, then strawberry, then sweet potato, and then guava. I don't know why Yoplait is feeling the need to shove vegetables into yogurt. Why don't they just allow adults to feed their children some broccoli instead of blending it up with a sad excuse for a dairy product? Anyway, they were all were gross.
Wednesday: 11 Dunkaroos
The biscuits taste like years-old coconut shreds, and the dip absolutely does not taste like chocolate or hazelnuts. After lunch I swallowed back a gob of vomit. But I didn't want to vom just yet, given it was only day three.
For dinner I tried making a Dunkaroo Soup. I spooned some of the hazelnut spread into a mug and crumbled up the biscuits, and then microwaved it all. It actually tasted pretty good, but inside I felt dead. It was at this point I realised I was having a bad time. And I still had four days to go.
Thursday: 12 String Cheeses
String cheese is cool. I know this because the TV commercials for string cheese— whether it's McCain's Cheese Stringers or Bega's String Cheese—all market string cheese as cool. There are cool string cheese dudes singing in rockbands and wearing sunglasses, or string cheese dudes saying "dude!" and doing magic tricks. So it felt good to get off the Dunkaroos and onto string cheese.
I had another string cheese connection. String cheese is from the cheese company Bega, and Bega is near Merimbula, and Merimbula, as it turns out, is the Australian capital of ageing aunts. Perhaps it's the town's large golf course, or the fact it's got the very best op shops, or maybe it's the ginormous RSL, but at least seven of my friends' aunts live in Merimbula. Including my aunt. And she's lovely.
After the existential illness of Dunkaroo Wednesday, String Cheese Thursday was like a warm hug.
Friday: 14 Roll Ups
I woke up feeling angry. Having not pooed since Monday, I had started dreaming about number twos. So I went to the toilet and tried, but I couldn't make it happen. So I had a Roll Up.
Roll Ups are awful. They're sugary and meant to be filled with real fruit, but they don't taste like any fruit I know of. This was a common theme with all these children's snack foods. Supposedly, they're meant to taste like something, but so far they either tasted terrible or like nothing much at all. The exception being Le Snack, which tasted good, but I will definitely never eat it again.
Also, all the food during the week had given me a bad aftertaste, while my brain felt sluggish. It felt like my heart was beating in my stomach and I was shaking like I was really cold, or like when I've drunk too many coffees on an empty stomach. My lips were drying up like crazy and I was constantly thirsty. The type of thirsty you get when you wake up hungover, all week. Two more days to go. Just two.
Saturday: 17 LCMs
According to the Kellogg's website, the "LCM" in LCM Bars doesn't stand for anything. The advertising people just "liked the way the letters sounded together." I've heard rumours that it's kids' favourite letters. That can't be true, because I know as a child my favourite letters were C L A I R E S U L L I V A and N. If only Peggy and John Hamm were in charge of naming the rice bubble and yogurt bar. They probably would have come up a very interesting name. I'm not sure though. I've never seen Mad Men. I have seen a lot of X Files though, and I'm sure Mulder would have found some government alien conspiracy in the naming of the bar, and Scully, despite having seen all of the very obvious evidence of a conspiracy would have remained sceptical. Perhaps the M really stands for Mulder.
Or maybe it stands for Lazy Cunt Marketers.
After a day on the Roll Ups, LCM Bars were so very welcome. I was still sick of eating sweet food, but at least those rice bubble bars were somewhat substantial. I was yearning for the glory days of Le Snack, but I still found satisfaction in LCM Bars. Also, having to use my back teeth was fantastic. LCM Bars were probably the second best thing I'd eaten all week.
Sunday: 11 Yogos
I'd been dreading Sunday. And that's because I wanted Yogo when I was eight, but now I don't. Mainly on account of its chocolate-flavoured diarrhoea vibe. Yogo deserves to live in a bin that's on fire.
I went over to my friend's place. She'd been doing stick and poke tattoos on herself and her friends and I wanted one. It's not like I could do anything else. It was my first tattoo and it was based on a drawing I did of a dog on a skateboard, smoking, drinking a beer and wearing sunglasses. I ate spoon after spoon of Yogo, and washed it down with whiskey straight from the bottle.
When night rolled around a group of us went and saw some bands play at the bowls club. I'd eaten seven tubs of Yogo and drunk a 350ml bottle of whiskey. Then I ran into my ex and showed him my tattoo. I was sure I stank like booze and Yogo and I was probably sweating brown. For some reason he seemed unimpressed with me.
I Will Never Do That Again
This is me throwing up into a mug. I did this during Roll Up Friday, when I was craving something savoury and put mayonnaise on a Roll Up. It was terrible, and this is the image by which I'll remember the entire week.
You'd think achieving childhood greatness would make you feel fantastic. My eight-year-old self should be high-fiving me through time and space. But I doubt my eight-year-old self would anticipate I'd become vitamin depleted, tattooed, unable to poo, and feeling weird about my ex. The other thing about the week was that I could never get warm. I was always shivering, and I lost three kilograms. It was surprising how the weight seemed to just slough off me.
The amount of rubbish my week created was also ridiculous. Everything was inside boxes or packets and all individually wrapped, like a sugar-filled babushka doll. Kids snack food is designed to make sure the earth will slowly choke to death on disgusting glucosey vomit. Mandarins already come pre-wrapped in their own skin with a vibrant colour. A self-made advertising tool. Mandarins are awesome. And they actually taste like real food. Why doesn't everyone eat mandarins instead?
The innermost layer of hell isn't whatever Dante said, it is actually just a place where all your uncles are named Toby and you can never stop throwing up.
Fuck Uncle Toby. Uncle Toby is a cunt.
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