"Simple Goodness!" the box proclaims with Bob Evans-esque sincerity. "This snack is boring," the plain yellow box seems to be saying, "but it's a pure and wholly comforting brand of boring that you'll be glad to raise your children on." It shows a pile of the little golden ellipses, with one frozen in the act of being dropped from a great height into a glass of milk.

Nabisco has changed these tasty little morsels of flour, sugar, and vanilla extract very little in the last two decades, which is as far back as I can remember. To me they have the air of something ancient and time honored, though, as something simple enough that they could've been around as long as people knew how to get vanilla flavoring into food and could get ahold of sugar from the local dry-goods store. The packaging has been a bit updated, but not by much. A nicer font, shading in the background that gives the impression of sunlight peeking through venetian blinds on a warm summer evening. The box that inspired this node is garishly emblazoned with a WIN INSTANTLY insert, slapped on as an afterthought, proclaiming Nilla Wafers as "an Official Cookie of NASCAR" and showing a picture of a 2002 Monte Carlo SS. To me, it seems an affront to the simplicity inherrent in Nillas... they don't need to be the offical cookie of anything. They trancend. The idea of a trancendent cookie is a little odd, but what better candidate for that strange title than Nillas?

Nillas are good. They remind me of my childhood. Why do I get the feeling that they remind everybody of their childhood?

They don't remind me of my childhood. They remind me of my stonerhood.

Although not a well-known fact, the humble Nilla Wafer hides a profound secret ability within the seductive curves of its crisp, comforting pastry edges. It is an ability desired by many; gained by few, and when coupled with the fact that Nilla Wafers always come in a box with several dozen of their kind, happy and together, makes the Nilla Wafer an absolute essential at collegiate sporting events.

Haven't figured it out yet? I'll give you a hint. Take a Nilla Wafer and look at it directly edge-on. Look at the edges of the little wundercookie. Yes, that's right. They curve down to the flat bottom in a seductive manner. They look almost...aerodynamic. Yes! This cookie wants to fly!

Yes, that's it! They're nearly perfect little frangible airfoils. Why is this important? I will tell you by way of example. At the very moment this epiphany of Cookie Greatness came to me, I was sitting perhaps fifteen rows from the back edge of the Bowl at the University of Michigan, during a Michigan/Michigan State game. Nearly a hundred thousand people, all packed into the arena, all screaming "KILL!" at the tops of their respective voices, with eager slavering cameras there to capture it all. It was almost enough to allow me to understand if not share the appeal of Naziism in large groups. Since the first PSA of the night had been a half-hearted and obviously pro forma plea for students to please not throw anything in the stands and especially not onto the field, the home 'student admission' corner of the bowl could only be seen imperfectly through the inversion layer of in-flight marshmallows and other foodstuffs that lay over it, a constantly rising, falling, impacting and floating cloud of junk food. Slowly, over the course of the game, the corner of the field nearest this debauchery began to whiten, to the point where the grounds crew on ATVs avoided it like the plague, and so it was - a creeping plague of puffed-air and sugar larvae as the marshmallows rained down.

I, unfortunately, did not have the foresight to purchase and bring these little aerial pillows of perfection delight and stickiness. Possibly this is due to the extremely large set of drinks I'd had. In any case, all I had was a box of the most Boring Snack Food Known to Man: The humble Nilla Wafer.

I recall clearly as I removed perhaps the twentieth wafer from the box. Some impulse, some streak of destiny and fate, maybe some trace of the nausea that had lurked for hours beneath my eyes caused me to look carefully at it, instead of at the seething suger-packed fat-laced cyclone that lay before me, or (God forbid) the game itself which lay beyond. No; I looked at the cookie.

Look at the cookie.

Hmm. Airfoil. Must fly. How?

Several valiant Nilla Wafer Test Subjects perished ignominiously as I attempted to throw them like small Frisbees. No go. I sat there, game forgotten, until suddenly the vision of a particular Frisbee trick throw hit me, and the joy upon my face was the softly dawning paradise of the warm sun over an ocean of calm, calm water.

I placed the Nilla Wafer edge-on against the web between my right thumb and forefinger, and curled the forefinger around the rim to hold it there. I then stood up, barely able to restrain from trumpeting my brilliance to the uncaring smog-filled heavens, and whipped my hand down in a throw, wafer held vertical, uncurling my finger just as my hand began to descend.

- grand pause -

The small brown aviator zipped outwards for perhaps a second and forty feet, and then - with a sudden click of serendipity shown only to the privileged few, it snapped over to a horizontal position, and flew on.

And flew on.

And on.

I strained as I watched, nearly losing sight of it as it rushed over the heads of the cheapest seats. Then the cheaper seats; then the not-so-bad seats, over the access tunnel (still in the air, and definitely not following a ballistic arc but clearly generating lift), over the box seats, and then - with an accuracy that the Lord God Herself could not have duplicated with as much THC in hir system as was in mine -


...it struck the ABC cameraman directly in the back of the head, where it promptly disintegrated into a cloud of crumby yummy stuff.

There was a sudden drop in ambient noise, as the perhaps fifteen percent of the people in the section who witnessed this miraculous event struggled to reclaim control of their lower jaws. That silence, in turn, cause the other eighty-five percent to eventually turn to the silent ones near them, go silent themselves, and follow the stares to the front of the seating area-

...Where an extremely irate cameraman with a bloody nose (!) finished turning from the viewfinder he'd reflexively jumped against at the impact to look out over us, and yelled "FUCK!"

- even grander pause -

...and then, with a primal roar of approval that would have sent tears to the eyes and blood to the groin of any healthy American politician as though they had been asked to give a motivational speech to the entire opposite sexed intern incoming class during the swimming hour changing session, the entire student section rose to its feet and shouted defiance to the heavens before an enormous hail of snackfood began to rain down on the hapless media drone, covering his camera and self in a delicious pastiche of polysorbates, ascorbic acids, fatty acids, coconut oil, wheat flour, dextrose, sucrose, maltose and as many kinds of -ose as there are.

No one knew it had been me. They had not turned around.

But I knew. And I will treasure it to the end of my days.

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