Moving right along with the investigation of my birthday gift from the Gawds, the
next thing that stood out was food. Junk Food!
That’s a fucking huge container of Cheese Balls. It filled up approximately 60%
of the space in The Ominous Black Birthday Gift Bag—maybe even more. I wasn’t very
scientific in calculating that 60% number, but it sounded more observant that 50%.
Plus, the word “approximately” is a multisyllabic Get Out Of Jail Free card for
being imprecise. I am certain that the Cheese Ball container fills up over half
the bag, though, so I’m sticking with 60%.
The back of the Cheese Ball bin begs you to reuse it for storing things and even
suggests building blocks or crayons. I vote condoms, which occupy a layer of my
Three-Tiered strategy to never spawn a mini-Zenestex. It would literally take the
Immaculate Conception for that to happen. But, like Dr. Ian Malcom says, “Life,
uh…finds a way.” So, until my wife’s DNA mixes with a frog’s, causing her to grow
a crank and accidently impregnate herself, my family can stop asking when it’s going
to happen because the answer is never. Never-ever-ever-ever-never-ever.
The Cheese Balls are delicious. There’s nothing special about them, but what more
do you want from generic Cheese Balls? You buy them for cheap, empty calorie, snacking
goodness suitable for get-togethers that involve beer (video games and UFC fights
immediately come to mind).
Life is full of simple pleasures: the small victory of popping bubble wrap with
a satisfying burst, the soothing warmth of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie,
the effortless launch of a tennis ball across the net with a perfect swing of a
racket. The Cheese Balls succeed in delivering another of life’s great pleasures,
which is sucking on a cheese ball and crushing it into dust using your tongue and
the roof of your mouth. Oh, and I won’t get into the existential complications that
arise from my utter hatred of cheese, but crack-whore lust for cheesy snacks.
Free food is always appreciated in the Zenestex household, which explains the 30
boxes of Cheez-Its sitting in our pantry. My wife’s grandfather buys us a box or
two every time he finds them on sale while grocery shopping. It is my belief that
the grocery store never actually has Cheez-Its on sale, but instead just advertises
the normal price as a sale. I may eventually conduct a sting operation on this Fleecing
of America. For us, though, the Cheez-Its are free and the first thing I learned
in college is that you never turn down offerings of free junk food or pizza. As
a result, we now have enough Cheez-Its to survive a nuclear winter.
My posts occasionally lead to some confession that I wouldn’t otherwise own up to
and this one is no exception. Here it goes: I’ve never eaten Crunch ‘n Munch. I
have seen this package on store shelves probably my entire life. I have even heard
the name awkwardly mixed into Eminem’s lyrics. I somehow have never felt the urge
to buy them. I never even gave them much thought beyond musing that I already know
how to fucking eat and don’t need a label to explain the process to me.
Crunch ‘n Munch is similar to Cracker Jacks, but without the shitty prizes. The
idea of caramel coated popcorn is only appealing in Christmas popcorn tins, which
are one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Even with those, I scoff down the cheese
and butter flavors, while Mrs. Zenestex devours the sweet stuff. Crunch ‘n Munch
tastes just like the caramel popcorn from popcorn tins except there is a hint of
peanuts in there and the candy coating is richer. By rich, I mean it rivals Cadbury
Crème Egg richness. I ate two corns before I felt sick, fed a few to my noisy mutt,
and closed the box. I pondered the consequences of eating a whole box. Is eating
a box of Crunch ‘n Munch in one sitting like drinking a gallon of milk, which is
supposedly impossible to do without puking? Tonite will not be the night that I
test either hypothesis. Yet another reason why I can’t have a kid. That is a science
project that I would lobby for.
The last of the foodstuffs packed in my Ominous Black Birthday Gift Bag, was a box
of Hawaiian Punch freezer pops. I would review them, but my man, The Pizza, already
did a classic summer write-up on freezer pops. So, I’ll just freeze them and enjoy
them some December afternoon when it’s sunny and 80 degrees outside. I love you,
The main event—the highlight of the Ominous Black Birthday Gift Bag—was the HexBug.
I eyeballed this toy set every time I went shopping at Target, but I never mentioned
it to anyone except maybe my wife. Unless there is some vast network of knowledge
sharing going on behind my back, kudos to the Gawds for picking out the HexBug amongst
the masses of cool toys. I have been dying to see what this thing is all about.
The packaging is gorgeous. It’s no wonder that I stood in the toy aisle mesmerized
by its beauty on more than one occasion. It looks so scientific and futuristic.
I imagined the little robot bug leaping from the test tube the instant I opened
it, latching onto the side of my head, and becoming a bio-mod implant. I play too
many video games.
After opening the package and playing with the toy for a few minutes I was overcome
with the same disappointment I had when I bought the Guess Who? board game only
to discover that the pieces don’t actually talk. Yup, the commercial fooled me.
I was one of the stupid kids partly to blame for the necessity of a disclaimer on
the box stating that game pieces do not actually talk.
The HexBug is a tiny, bug-ish, vibrator that randomly stumbles its way through whatever
maze you concoct. My own maze came with a hexagon and a loop, which my blind bug
managed to circle about 20 times. HexBugs are an inverse version of the tabletop
football games that vibrate the little players across the field.
I dreamed of a toy that would intelligently traverse the hexagon maze and
maybe even interact
with other HexBugs. Instead, the HexBug was closer to the leftover parts of a weird sex toy. I
was sad. Dejected. Heartbroken from excessive expectations for an eight dollar toy.
Then, it happened. I fell in love with the HexBug. I can’t even really explain why.
I literally woke up the next morning eager to turn the bug on and watch it tumble.
I entertained the thought of buying more tracks, but instead I bought him a friend,
the Original HexBug. This six-legged walking bug has sensors that detect if it runs
into something and cause it to turn around. This new HexBug also forced me to rethink
the gender of the blue guy, who I absentmindedly referred to as “him.”
Anytime I put the two bugs in the hexagon together, it would take mere seconds for
the orange one to mount the blue one. I think they’re mating. Breeding HexBugs may
be my life’s calling. Or this could where Judgment Day originates. No T-800’s have
shown up to kill me or squash my HexBugs, so I think we’re all safe for now.
It looks like this birthday gift post is going to become a trilogy. Next time, the
ping pong balls. I promise.
In case you missed the first part, here's The Birthday Gift From The Gawd's Part