M&M's were invented, believe it or not, for the U.S.Navy
as energy rations for those in dress uniform
. During the first
and Second World Wars
was much in demand as the ultimate energy ration
, combining caffeine
, and sugar
, all considered wellsprings of health and happiness (this, from the same mind-set that made tranquilizers
a staple of Governmental workers...your tax dollars hard at work
!). By using the same sugar-coating as the abovementioned pills, they were able to produce a dime
-sized brown "pill
" that could be conveniently slipped into a pocket and eaten without removing one's gloves, even in the most torrid of weather conditions. In their smaller, multi-color civilian form, this characteristic of daintiness has endeared them to many early hackers
, who were often disallowed food in computer installations due to problems with moisture and crumbs, and it's this that keeps them in a fond place in the collective heart of computing even today.
Much folklore accrues to the various colors of M&M's: the red ones disappeared for a while, when their coloring was found to be unhealthy, greenies are supposed to be a potent aphrodisiac. For a few dollars more than their usual price per pound, you can have made up a bag with whatever color combination you choose.
About the best story I know of concerning M&M's has to do with Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger's daughter Jade. Seems as if Andy was Jade's favorite babysitter, and one night she refused to go to bed.
"I need my medicine!" she pouted.
Andy didn't remember any instructions about medicine, and so asked "What medicine is that?"
"We-ellll...don't tell Daddy...he gets upset."she remarked coyly.
Totally mystified, he swore to secrecy, wondering whether or how to tell her parents that their six-year-old might have a habit.
With a patrician gesture, she pulled out a small box that would have otherwise held small electronic components, trout flies, or earrings. Inside were several colors of M&M's, neatly sorted in their various compartments. "I usually take three green ones and four brown ones....but I'm running out. Could you get some for me?"