Oh Cap’n! My Cap’n!


For years I’ve been good. I pass you by and select a brand like Barbara’s or Kashi or Nature’s Own – all bona fide low sugar. But then the pandemic hit. I needed comfort – and there you were, as you’ve always been. Waiting for my return, as you must have known I would. 

You are the best cereal in the world.  There are few things in life as reliably satisfying as your crunch – even with milk, you stay crunchy for a long time. In fact you crunch so loud that I worry other people might wake up and hear me eating you, especially those times I find myself at some o’clock in the morning,  standing over the sink looking contemplatively into the back yard and bathed in a solitary light while trying to sneak the last bowl…or two.

I always think I can stop at one bowl, but then I see the leftover puddle of milk and picture your little golden nuggets piled up invitingly and I go for bowl number two.

You are more than just a breakfast cereal. You are a first rate spackler, filling the cracks between my teeth.  You fill me with the crazy energy of childhood, especially if I’ve eaten your Crunchberries version. 

You make for excellent cocktail party conversation.  I once slept with a man purely on the strength of the fact that we both liked to eat all the Crunchberries first not last. The norm as you know, is to eat them last.  Something about pink milk. Whatever.

I am sorry for that brief period when I thought I should have outgrown you.  I kept buying you, but not very often, and I always tried to hide you, as if I were ashamed of you.  When in fact, I wanted to hold you in both hands over my head in proud declaration to everyone in line at the grocery store, even the checker. 

I wanted to shout “Oh Cap’n! My Cap’n!” But instead I buried you beneath produce and rolls of paper towels, thinking, somehow, that I should be over you, and want something flaky and twiggy instead.  Forgive me! Forgive me and I promise to love you not just at night in the dark, but in the morning too, and in the clear light of day! How good it will be to declare our love at last.

I once ate three bowls of you and went for a ten mile run. The first three miles were some of the most fun I’ve ever had.  I sang along to my iPod out loud and did a little jiggie thing whenever I had an energy surge.  The last three miles weren’t so great, but I forgive you.  It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. I abused your trust – I didn’t have to eat that third bowl – third and a half, if truth be told.

Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries Breakfast Cereal - 13ozI love how you try to keep up with the trends, you silly thing.  The peanut butter – remember that? And the Choco crunch, like crunch berries but brown. And who can forget the crazy Christmas crunch?  Some scoffed, said you were getting arrogant, too big, forgetting where you came from.  But you never lost your center (except for that brief Just Crunchberries thing – we all have our missteps..but not all are as delicious as yours).  Robert Frost said nothing gold can stay, but you did, my Cap’n. You did.

Remember how mom let us kids each pick out a box of cereal for our own? I always picked you. My brother went for Count Chocula or Lucky Charms, my sister went for Honeycomb and Super Sugar Crisp (now known as “Golden Crisp” or something weird like that).  But for me, it’s always been you.  Your little epaulets, your mustache, your wavering old man’s voice, your sweet golden corn crunchy pillow-shaped goodness.   Trix might be for kids, but the Cap’n is forever!

Oh Cap’n, my Cap’n,
they tried to take you from me
and give me Kashi instead
but I declared I’d eat you
’til the day I’m cold and dead!

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