So I’m at the supermarket on a Thursday afternoon, right? All the decent hard-working people are at their offices, or doing their jobs. It’s mostly old folks and young mothers pushing around carts. It’s the best time for shopping, because I can take my time and look at all the products, and not feel like I’m disrupting the shopping experience of the other people in the market.
I’m always delighted by how ridiculously large the market is, and how many variations there are of the same product. The cereal aisle, for example. There must be half a dozen different types of cinnamon-flavored cereal. Maybe twice that many chocolate-flavored cereals. And really, how different can they be? A dozen or so different types of macaroni and cheese in a box. The absurdity of it — and I’m torn between delight and horror. Is there really a need for twenty-five feet of shelves displaying so many mass-produced pickle variations?
And then there’s the astonishing cookie aisle. The Great Wall of Cookies. There was a period of a year or so when I was moderately young when my breakfast consisted of two Oreos and a glass of milk. But I couldn’t tell you the last time I’d bought a mass-produced sandwich cookie.
Until I saw these:
Watermelon Oreos. Watermelon. I don’t even remember picking them up. It was like my hand went all Dr. Strangelove on me and just snatched a package off the shelf and deposited it in the cart. Watermelon Oreos. No way I could pass them up.
The entire concept of an Oreo that tastes like watermelon — it’s a sort of genius. It’s like somebody sat down in the Oreo Factory and asked “What possible flavor can we come up with that will alarm the senses enough to draw attention but not so much that potential customers will vomit in the aisles?” Just think of all the possibilities they had to reject in order to come up with Watermelon Oreos. Tuna Oreos, Okra Oreos, Lima Bean Oreos. Liver and Onion Oreos. Fried Clam Oreos.
So yeah, I bought them. It was the happiest purchase I’ve made in a long time. Seeing the package in my cart was completely smile-making. I walked around the market beaming at everybody. Like post-Ghost-of-Christmas-Yet-to-Come Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning. I bought them with something akin to joy.
And I ate one when I got home. I didn’t expect it would actually taste like watermelon. In fact, I hoped it wouldn’t. Because c’mon, watermelon and Oreo? It’s an anomaly in the constellation of flavors. And, of course, it didn’t taste remotely like watermelon. First off, the cookie smelled like a floral dish-washing soap — something with a label like Lilac Breeze. It tasted like sugar filtered through fresh anti-freeze. It was really quite a remarkable flavor. I ate half a second cookie just to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
The cat was curious, so I offered her a small piece (the cat, I should say, doesn’t eat human food — never has — and I didn’t expect her to actually eat this, but I was as curious as she was and wondered how she’d respond).
She sniffed at it for a brief moment, then attempted to cover it up. It could have been worse. Mind you, this is an animal that spends a significant portion of every day splayed out like a Martha Graham dancer, and carefully grooming her butt.
I don’t recall what the cookies cost. Two or three bucks, I suppose. Worth every penny. Not as a cookie, but as an experience. I’d have happily spent that much just for the joy of knowing that something as unlikely as Watermelon Oreos exist. I mean, you can get a cookie any old day. But you only discover Watermelon Oreos once in a lifetime.