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A generation’s childhood may be sold in bankruptcy court.
Twinkies represent misplaced childhood simplicity, the familiar joy of knowing with absolute certainty that you’re about to bite into soft yellow cake with an ooey, gooey creamy core.
Dependable. Safe. Comforting.
A food that establishes security when none can be found.
Staring over the edge toward the future— the so-called fiscal cliff, day-to-day economic woes and even endless Thanksgiving preparations — can be a scary prospect.
Before things inevitably fall apart, munching on a Twinkie can’t hurt, right?
But the apparent immortality of the 82-year-old dessert is in jeopardy, as I am sure many of you are aware.
Though Hostess Brands Inc., and Twinkies will part ways, there’s a good chance another food conglomerate will snatch up the dessert brand (and by extension, the Twinkie faithful who purportedly produce $2.5 billion in revenue for Hostess buying the snack cake each year.)
And as of Monday afternoon, Hostess and the bakers union have agreed to a mediation on Tuesday.
Since news broke of Hostess’ decision to go out of business, people suddenly remembered how much they liked Twinkies, and how sad and shocked they were to see them go.
Twinkies were supposed to last forever, even in the aftermath of nuclear fallout.
Individually-wrapped nostalgia, Twinkies were a lunchbox staple to swap with less appetizing sandwiches with lunchroom peers over the years.
Twinkies and I have no such relationship.
I look at Twinkies, and feel practically nothing.
Dare I say, I consider Twinkies as inedible tubes I’d only savor if the pastries were the only sustenance to be found post-apocalypse or zombie invasion.
I don’t eat Twinkies and recall a happier, less-complicated time.
Now, I think about 18,500 jobs that may be lost the week before Thanksgiving. Thirty-three Hostess factories potentially shuttered.
The handful of executives who, according to the Associated Press, received an 80 percent pay hike last year.
The 30 percent of the company’s workforce who rejected contract negotiations and went on strike.
The $100 million spent in pensions, and the 17 percent cut in employee health benefits to shoulder that expense.
Unfortunately, I fail to look at a Twinkie and just see a Twinkie.
I see a Twinkie, and I see numbers and loss.
And I fear others think the same way I do.
We exist in a brave new world in which dessert cakes are symbolic ammunition for the evils or virtues of unions or the 1 percent, depending on your perspective of how Hostess’ breakdown occurred.
Where something like Sesame Street’s Big Bird simplifies the needed conversation about federal funding for public broadcasting, communication and media into a topical campaign joke.
I know it’s impossible to look at a Twinkie and see only one definition of what it is, what it represents.
We’re humans, and I guess it’s understandable when we prescribe multiple meanings for practically everything we touch.
A cigar, after all says Sigmund Freud, is really never just a cigar.
But I’m afraid a new tradition has been born, where a Twinkie can never just a Twinkie; something that was once used to instill comfort and safety and now manipulated for conversations where it doesn’t belong.
Deep down, I understand this type of symbol manipulation isn’t a new tradition at all.
Twinkies, may your no-strings-attached innocence rest in peace among the other rosy-tinted relics.