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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hungry? Try Some "Chips of Wisdom"

Some people live in Pennsylvania because they have to. Like, they work at the Piercing Pagoda at the King of Prussia Mall or something, and, pretty much-- if you work there, you live in Pennsylvania.

I'm proud to say that I live in Pennsylvania because I want to. And I like it. And maybe that doesn't make me worldly or cosmo or totally disease-free, but it's a pretty big part of who I am. Thought you wouldn't immediately think so, Pennsylvania is a great place for a Gilbert & Sullivan freak to live. Did you know that there are 7 amateur G&S societies in the southeastern corridor of Pennsylvania alone? That's the highest concentration of G&Sery in any one sector of the United States of America.

Highest quotient of bowties, awkward hairlines, crooked teeth, and Aspergers, too. No statistics necessary.

Another thing that's really great about living in Pennsylvania are all the super-cool field-trips that you can take as an approaching thirty rejuvenile.

Sesame Place

The Crayola Crayon Factory

The Nabisco Plant

The Martin Guitar Factory

The Pepsi Bottling Company

The Hershey Chocolate Factory

and, fasten those salty seatbelts, bitches:

The Herr's Potato Chip Factory.

Yum.

Maybe three years ago, my wife and I went down to quaint-sounding but not really actually quaint Nottingham, Pennsylvania to take our tour of the Herr's Potato Chip Factory. It's a tour designed for children. We were forced to watch a seven minute film starring "Chippy" the annoyingly cute potato chip on speed who would be second on my list of animated icons to murder after the fucking Microsoft Word paperclip.

After the tour's conclusion, my wife and I were adament that the best part of the tour was consuming hot-off-the-line potato chips-- but, after I went to the restroom to steel myself for the hour-or-so drive back to places normal people with lots of teeth live, my wife proved me wrong. Upon exiting the bathroom, I saw her, wearing a devilish grin (and a cute pair of patent leather Danskos) and holding in her hand a small blue book. I squinted to make out the writing on the cover as I approached her.

"Chips of Wisdom," the red text on the cover read and, underneath the punriffic title was the "Herr's" logo.

"What the fuck is that?" I asked, with my traditional eloquence. This is why I blog a lot and don't talk so much.

"Oh," she smirked, "you'll see."

What it was turned out to be sufficiently entertaining to sustain us for the entire car ride home. My wife read aloud to me as I pounded the steering wheel, cracking the hell up, and she struggled not to pee herself as she schooled me in the chiplicious wisdom and, dare I say, pathos.

You see-- Jim Herr, the founder of Herr Foods, Inc. wasn't just a purveyor of sodium-drenched food products-- he was a man of vision, and a deeply spiritual man, too. And so, when Jim Herr needed guidance, he just opened up a bronze, crinkly bag of Herr's BBQ-flavored potato chips and sought to extrapolate and elucidate lessons from the Book of Proverbs. So helpful were the offerings contained therein, that Herr, ever the marketing man, was moved to make them readily accessible to a greater portion of the population by creating a 94-page, paperback booklet called

"CHIPS OF WISDOM, or LIVING PROVERBS (paraphrased)"

And let us say, "Amen."

I have to say that one of the first things that struck me about this little book was that, for a man so deeply religious as Herr-- he seems to know an awful lot about prostitutes.

"Spurn the careless kiss of a prostitute. Stay far from her. Look straight ahead; don't even turn your head to look."

"The lips of a prostitute are as sweet as honey, and smooth flattery is her stock in trade."

"Lest afterwards you groan in anguish and in shame, when syphilis consumes your body and you say, 'Oh, if only I had listened!'"

"Why should I beget children with women of the street?"

Good question. Now that sounds like the advice of an experienced John.

What's very helpful in "Chips of Wisdom" is a list on page 17 of "six things the Lord hates-- no, seven:

Haughtiness
Lying
Murdering
Plotting evil
Eagerness to do wrong
A false witness
Sowing discord among brothers"

Actually, it's really nine things. They left off "Meredith Vieira" and "stretch pants."

There are the quaint little chiplettes, too, and one can't help but think that they somehow are insidious little marketing tools for Herr. Like, "Do you like honey? Don't eat too much of it, or it will make you sick!"

There's nothing in here, of course, about eating too many potato chips or cheese doodles.

I'm particular fond of some of the chips of widsom that have to do with parenting. My favorite of that particular set is probably, "A man who robs his parents and says, 'What's wrong with that?' is no better than a murderer."

I mean-- really?

Well, there goes my "at least he didn't kill them" defense.

Then again, maybe my favorite of the parenting/children set is, "A wise son makes his father happy, but a lad who hangs around with prostitutes disgraces him."

There you go again, Jim Herr. Jesus-- take a cold shower. And also, is the father disgraced if the son invites him to hang out with the pros?

There's also the very clever and timely, "Scolding and spanking a child helps him to learn. Left to himself, he brings shame to his mother." Especially if she's a prostitute.

Lastly on the parenting spectrum, this is not so much a chip of wisdom as a chip of warning:

"A man who mocks his father and despises his mother shall have his eye plucked out by ravens and eaten by vultures."

This is good to know. It's good I wear glasses.

If you're ever in southeastern Pennsylvania-- forget about visiting the Liberty Bell, or me for that matter-- get your asses inside your rented Chevy Malibu and head on down to Nottingham, PA. Come for the tour, stay for the chips of wisdom.

Because, remember, "The man who strays away from common sense will end up dead!"

Pass the chips.

4 comments:

  1. After living in Louisiana for months I finally found a place down here that sold small bags of Herrs potato chips. I swear to you the taste brought a homesick tear to my eye.

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  2. I grew up around the corner from the Nabisco (now Kraft) factory! My favorite days were the days they baked Nilla Wafers.

    I miss Pennsylvania and would choose to live there, but my husband's job doesn't exist in PA and I refuse to take another bar exam. So maybe we'll retire to an old colonial farmhouse in Wayne. That's my dream.

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  3. Well, Colleen, if you do-- just be careful of them prostitutes.

    They tend to hang out behind the Wayne Farmer's Market and tempt potential Johns with those delicious mini pretzel-dogs.

    Oh, God-- I'm so hungry...

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  4. MS Word Paperclip! I hate that bugger too! That's why I use MS-Word 2007.

    The Chips of Wisdom sounds interesting. That list on page 17 is not enough! We want more...like Reality TV Shows should be banned! ;p

    ReplyDelete

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