“Mikey doesn’t like it very much, anymore,” said The Times, referring to that kid from the Quaker Life commercial and not this Mikey, who still likes his cereal very much, thank you.
“For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning,” read the story by Stephanie Strom. “And the drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options, even if Cheerios and some other brands come in whole-grain varieties fortified with protein now.”
Hmm. I should have figured those millennials were behind this somehow.
(Just kidding, millennials. Enjoy your drive-through.)
I guess it’s just another way to mark the passage of time for baby boomers like myself. For us, cereal was one of the main food groups (along with bologna, Velveeta and Wonder bread). And while I can understand the latter three falling out of favor, it’s kind of sad to me to see cereal declining. It’s taking a big part of my kidhood with it.
Who among us – or at least, those of us of a certain vintage – didn’t pad into the living room on a Saturday morning, cereal bowl overflowing, milk sloshing over the sides, for hours of sugar-frosted cartoon fun? Somehow, eating a granola bar and watching the news just doesn’t have the same cachet.
Who didn’t reach a grimy hand into the brand-new batch of honey smackin’ whoopee flakes to seize the plastic submarine (or frogman) included in every box? Try that with a tub of yogurt. Eeuw.
The drive-through breakfast, I think, is the saddest alternative to cereal. For one thing, most of them aren’t very good, although I will admit to an occasional fondness for an egg sandwich on an English muffin. You know the McName. Mostly it says to me that we’re too busy in the morning to take the five minutes it might require to shovel in the Wheaties. Instead, we grab something – and isn’t that always how we say it? – and wolf it down in traffic, which is a bad idea on two fronts, digestive and transportation safety.
I try to eat breakfast every morning, and as often as not, it’s cereal. While I’d sometimes like to return to my kidhood and go for something frosted or fruity or chocolately, I know myself well enough to know it’s a bad idea for me. I never stopped at one bowl when I was a kid and I doubt I’d be able to now. Most of the time I go for something I once would have dismissed as dull – Shredded Wheat, for instance. As cereals go, it is a yawn. Kind of the price you pay for being a grownup.
Inside, though, I’m screaming for Apple Jacks. Or Cap’n Crunch. Or Frosted Flakes. I want my Cocoa Krispies and my Sugar Smacks. I want my Alpha-Bits or my Honeycomb (same cereal, different shapes), my Kix, my Trix and my Cocoa Puffs.
What I am not screaming for is bologna and Velveeta, speaking of drive-through breakfasts. Saw that one advertised the other day. Gag. Eat up, millennials.
Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com.