Many years ago, as a somewhat naive first time parent, I shook my head in disbelief when I first heard that Goldfish were fast becoming a favorite snack food for kids. I knew that swallowing goldfish was some kinda fad for college kids in the 40's or 50's and thought that maybe it had re-kindled itself along the way. After a few months of trepidation and wonderment I decided to join the burgeoning herd and let my kids try ‘em. I think it was when they started kindergarten or something that I decided to pack a few of them in their lunch box along with the proverbial peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple or a banana.

So I ran off to my local pet store and purchased about a dozen or so. I got them home and decided my best course of action was to refrigerate them overnight so they wouldn’t reek of that fish smell in the morning. Sure enough, when the time came to pack their lunch, the little suckers were dead enough but they still felt a little slimy and I had a bit of a problem getting them into one of those zip lock bags. I think that a few might’ve even hit the floor but since nobody was around I decided to invoke the five second rule and nobody would be any the wiser.

So I dropped my little darling off at school and we exchanged our ritual peck on the cheek and good wishes for the day. I felt good, the sun was shining, the traffic was light and I made it to work without experiencing any road rage. It had all the makings of a great day.

I think it was around noon. I was sitting at my desk munching on the last remnants of a pastrami on rye when the phone rang. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered to answer it and would just let it go to voice mail but I saw the number on caller ID and recognized it as my kids school. Fearing that sickness or injury had befallen my little one, I immediately answered the phone and tried to hide the panic in my voice.

”Hello Mr. Borgo, this is little borgo’s teacher. I was just wondering if I might have a word with you?”

”Uhm sure, is everything all right? She’s not hurt or sick or anything? She didn’t hit anybody did she?”

”No, no, it’s nothing like that. It’s, uh, something else that we need to talk about. Specifically it’s what your daughter brought to lunch today.”

And then the truth was revealed to me! Man, let me tell you, I don’t know if there’s a shittier feeling in the world than that of discovering that you were a bad parent. You can plead ignorance all you want but the hollow feeling you feel at that moment in time can gnaw at you forever.

Since then I’ve learned that Goldfish are little snack type crackers made by the good folks at Campbell Soup Company. They’re sold under the brand name of Pepperidge Farm. Some of them have little smiley faces on them and other don’t. Why they all aren’t wearing the same face remains a mystery. Since they contain none of those dreaded trans fats and are baked instead of fried, they’re considered a much healthier option than something like your standard everyday potato chip. When the first hit the shelves of your local supermarket there was only one flavor available, the “original”.

Nowadays, due to their popularity, you can find them in about seven different varieties. They include cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, pretzel flavored, pizza flavored, reduced salt, calcium enriched and cheddar made with whole grain.

Well, I think there’s an old saying in the marketing world that a consumer can never get too much of a good thing. Campbell’s surely had this in mind when they later invent what they call a “flavor blasted” version of the tiny goldfish. Those include the following:

  • Xtra Cheddar
  • Xplosive Pizza
  • Nothin’ But Nacho
  • Burstin’ BBQ Cheddar
  • Jalapeño Cheese
  • Blazin’ Buffalo Wings
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • In closing, I’ve come along way since my early days of being a parent. I don’t think I’d ever make the same mistake or one similar to it that I made in those early days. As with most things, there’s always a bright side to look at.

    At least I knew what Animal Crackers were.

    (For Andromache01 and what she found behind her computer.)