10 February 2011

Safety Cereal

I have been meaning to post this since I first purchased the cereal a little less than a week ago with Eric. We got it at the Hasidic grocery store. Now, you're probably thinking something along the lines of, "Molly, why are you posting a picture of a boring old box of cereal?" I understand your reservations, but please have a little more faith in me. So this is what we saw when we pulled the cereal off the shelf:

Fine. It's the Hasidic interpretation of Cheerios. Whatever. Nothing extraordinary, I understand. However, being the environmentalist that I am, I opted to stuff my groceries in my tote bag rather than waste a new plastic one. The cereal didn't fit, so I just held it in my arms. That's when Eric noticed the back side.

I swear to you, this is the back side of the cereal box posted above. In many ways, I feel it represents some aspects of my upbringing. Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems VERY JEWISH to me (the spirit of the message, I mean, rather than the obviously Jewishness). Rather than providing breakfasters with a word search or picture hunt like most cereal boxes do, of course the Hasids would take a very serious, verging on paranoid, pedagogic approach. God forbid customers mindlessly chomp away during their morning meal - we must prepare for the off chance that something goes awry and someone starts choking!

I guess it sounds crazy, then, when I say that I can relate to this (or maybe not, if you know me and how neurotic I am), but for some reason, it reminds me of a specific moment in my life. I was 16 or 17, and it was the first time that I had ever embarked solo on the treacherous drive to Ann Arbor.

Attempting to give me directions, my mom began by listing the roads I'd need to take and when to exit. For the most part, it was all pretty simple. Until, she warned me, this one part that was SO CONFUSING, I'd need to watch out for it because it would get EXTREMELY TRICKY. THERE WAS VERY LITTLE CHANCE THAT I WOULD BE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH THE CORRECT EXIT FROM THE WRONG ONE! I sort of faintly remember her drawing out a sort of curly-q line that was supposed to illustrate my route, which effectively only made me more nervous about the impending journey (but I might be mistaking that with another instance of her horrific direction-giving - I love her, but the woman is not great at giving directions). Anyway, after all her warnings, I should have known I was doomed. I was so nervous about exiting at the right place that of course I got off of M-14 one exit too soon and found myself frantic and lost in Whitmore Lake.

I guess that the logic behind both my mother's directions and these safety instructions seem similar to me now, and that is why I am reminded of that story. Both are well-intentioned but it seems more likely to me that reading that information while eating breakfast is more likely to make a person choke than to actually save him/her.

I realized after cutting out the back side that it could possibly seem incredible that this was actually the back of a cereal box and not something completely random and separate that I just happened to think would be funny juxtaposed. Not so, and in order to prove this, I have scanned the side of the box, as well, which is ridiculous, as well.

Geez, being Jewish is stressful. At least it's good to know that the Jewish Defense League has my back if I start choking on my cereal.


Leland said...

This is probably a conspiracy from a bunch of reformed lawyers who sued the cereal company when some kid choked on what is supposed to be a "safe" cereal (after all, they do have a hole in the center). As part of the settlement, the company is now forced to put these warnings on the back, rather than some meaningful Torah verse about whole-grain oats.

molly roth said...

That is a compelling theory, debunked, however, by the fact that I checked other cereal boxes of the same brand and they included useful safety tips for defensive walking and bicycling.