By Marty Russell
If you think the fates don’t have a wicked sense of humor, consider what has happened recently. This past election two states, Washington and Colorado, voted to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes, the first in the country to do so and challenge federal drug laws.
Then, shortly thereafter, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of munchies, the Hostess company, announces it’s filing for bankruptcy and shutting down production.
Couldn’t they have held out until the legalized marijuana laws kicked in in early December? Then they would have no doubt seen their profits soar, at least in Washington and Colorado.
Alas, poor Twinkie, you leave us too soon. That spongy, cream-filled treat that reportedly also can double as a personal floatation device has been a staple for lunchboxes, after-school snacks and late-night bouts of the munchies for as long as most of us can remember, not to mention its oddly named cousins the Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Snowballs and, of course, those yummy cupcakes with the squiggle across the top.
All gone. Literally. When word of the impending Twinkie-free era started circulating people started snatching them up like batteries and bottled water before a hurricane. Buyers grabbed whole boxes of the goodies to hoard for future use in case the Mayans were right about the coming apocalypse or their state decided to legalize pot.
It was a wise investment, of course, because they’ll keep. They’ve always been the butt of jokes about their longevity. Twinkies were never measured in shelf life. They always were measured in half-life, same as decaying nuclear material, and were estimated to have an even longer half-life than the 500 years it takes uranium to decay.
In fact, the supposition has always been that, in the event of an all-out nuclear war, the only survivors would be cockroaches and Twinkies. Now the poor roaches – the insects, not the marijuana kind – won’t have anything to eat when we’re all gone.
Since its initial announcement, Hostess has been said to be reconsidering shutting down primarily, I suspect, because of pleas from Washington and Colorado. What good is getting stoned if you can’t have a Twinkie or two or 10 after you smoke?
And the Twinkie-eating public isn’t taking this sitting down, even if the majority of them can’t get off the couch. A petition was posted on the White House website Friday asking President Barack Obama to step in and “nationalize” Twinkie production in much the same way that the auto industry was bailed out. Call it the Twinkie Stimulus Package. The petition needs 25,000 signatures before the White House can act on it and already battle lines are being drawn with Republicans vowing not to support it unless similar incentives are provided for the makers of Cheetos and pretzels.
Don’t laugh. This thing could snowball, no pun intended.
In the meantime, maybe it’s not the president we should be looking to buy our other friend, Little Debbie.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.