Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Crackerjack Kids Day!

The Crackerjack Kids have been getting together to eat boxes of Crackerjack once a week for the past forty years. They've watched each other get married, divorce, climb corporate ladders and drop into pits of financial ruin only to climb back out again to find that nothing ever need be the definitive end of a man. And through all those years, the weekly meeting of the Crackerjack Kids has remained the one never-changing thing that they can all count on.

They're meeting again today. The designated gathering point this week is the men's room of the Roy Rogers at the intersection of Baltimore Pike and Founders Way. If you sneak into the bathroom to eavesdrop on them, make sure to hide in a stall and lift up your feet because they'll look underneath the doors to make sure they're alone. If they catch you hiding in there, God help you.

As with every meeting, the Crackerjack Kids will wait in silence until all have arrived. Then they will each pull his box of Crackerjack from his coat pocket and extend it into a circle so that all of the boxes touch. Then each of the Crackerjack Kids will guess what the prize in his box of Crackerjack might be.

'I bet I'll find a little bit of kindness inside my box of Crackerjack,' the first of the Kids will say.

'When I open up my box of Crackjack, I bet I will see the very face of God,' the next will say.

'I bet I'll find a decoder ring inside my box of Crackerjack,' the next Kid will say. This Kid will have made a realistic guess because today he really thinks it will be a decoder ring.

'I bet when the prize inside my box of Crackjack reveals itself, it will be a large bubbling bucket of tits,' the next will say. He will make his guess with utmost gravity and no one will laugh.

'My box of Crackerjack contains the name of my future wife,' the last Kid will say. 'That's my guess and I'm sticking to it.'

Then, if you managed to hide in the stall, you'll hear the Crackerjack Kids rip into their boxes and fish for their prizes. You won't be able to see what the prizes turned out to be. You'll just listen to them murmur little grunts of acknowledgement and disappointed 'Hm's'. Then they'll chomp into their caramel covered popcorn without speaking again. One of them will be weeping. You'll be pretty certain. The others will slap his back in comfort. Then, once all of the contents have been eaten, the Crackerjack Kids will drop the empty boxes to the floor where they're standing and they'll open the Men's room door and leave.

If you managed to hide in the stall, you'll walk out to where the Crackerjack Kids were and you'll see scattered among the boxes the little plastic-wrapped prizes that they each found. A toy car. A temporary tattoo. A superball. A mini-kaleidoscope. And sure enough, a decoder ring. You can only assume that the one who got the decoder ring was not the one who guessed it. But the assumption is unfounded. It's not likely that had any of them guessed right, they would have exclaimed or even acknowledged the premonition. The Crackerjack Kids don't do it for the sake of getting a guess right. They just wanna get together and hold a tradition tight.

Happy The Crackerjack Kids Day!