Syd Lexia vs. Bill & Ted Cereal: A Most Awesome Breakfast Adventure
I would like, if I may, to take you on a journey through history. January 25, 1756: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. 1761: Mozart, only five years old, began composing. 1773: Mozart wrote his first piano concerto. 1791: Mozart composed The Magic Flute; he died in December of that same year. Then, nothing interesting or socially relevant happened for a very long time. Nothing at all. Then, after 194 years of despair, brilliance shone through the darkness. 1985: Austrian born rock singer Falco recorded "Rock Me Amadeus". Suddenly, there we stood, on the cusp of what cultural analysts predicted would be the Super Renaissance. It never came.
The world would quickly grow weary of Falco. By 1987, he was all but forgotten; Tiffany had taken his place. Once again, darkness engulfed the land. Fortunately, this darkness would not last long. In 1989, the world would be forever changed by the release of one of the greatest movies ever: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. The movie was an instant hit and has stood the test of time. Not only that, but it spawned a cartoon series that ran from 1990-1991, a 1991 sequel, and a short-lived 1992 live action TV series that no one cares about. From 1990-1991, during the cartoon's run, there was also a Ralston breakfast cereal. And today, I will be eating that.
This is Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal as it arrived to me. The box is slightly caved in, likely because the phone booth applied pressure on it due to the way it was stored. When I reviewed Batman Cereal back in 2005, it was much easier to obtain expired foodstuffs. Back then, eBay was much more lax about what they'd let people sell. Now, sellers have to creatively title their auctions if they want to get away with it. Basically, you have to sell it as a mint in box collectible. And if the cereal came shrink-wrapped with some sort of bonus item attached, that makes it a lot easier to get away with. As a result, cereals like this one and Batman are the easiest to come by. But don't worry loyal readers, the June of Doom will contain a couple of more rare cereals. Still, I miss those more liberal days. One of my biggest disappointments from that era was being outbid on an unopened box of Giggles cookies by some annoying cunt who threw out the cookies and scanned the box for her stupid little online refrigerator magnet business. When she dies, I will dance on her grave. This I swear.
This is the plastic phone booth that you saw in the previous photograph. This is the bonus prize that was attached to the cereal when it debuted in 1990. As best as I can remember, the "cheap piece of plastic wrapped to the box" was a phenomena that was almost entirely exclusive to Ralston. I imagine that it was a double-edged sword. On the plus side, it caught kids' attention. Parents probably also liked it, because they wouldn't have to worry about their children digging through the cereal box with dirty hands to try and get at the prize on the bottom. On the other hand, retailers must have hated this shit. The phone booth is the exact same width as the cereal box itself, thus cutting the number of boxes of cereal that you could fit on the shelf in half. Luckily for them, the phone booth would not stick around as long as the cereal; it would eventually be replaced by a personal phone directory and later, luggage tags. As crappy as these later prizes were, they were accompanied by cool contests. The phone directory was accompanied by a contest to win your very own actual phone booth, while the luggage tags were paired with a chance to win a trip around the world. But even with those one-in-a-million shots at glory attached to them, those prizes still fall extremely short of comparing to the little blue phone booth. Why? Because the phone booth was a cassette tape carrying case. Back in 1990, the Walkman was still the most ubiquitous portable music device on the market, making the cassette case a pretty cool freebie. As best as I can tell, the case can hold 4-5 tapes. I can't say definitively, because I currently own exactly one cassette tape, Poison's Flesh & Blood. The rest were wiped out in the great "Why In The Hell Do I Need Cassette Tapes?" fire of 2008. An alternate version of the phone booth, featuring George Washington and Christoper Columbus, was also produced.
The first run of Bill & Ted cereal came with a second premium, in the form of one of four self-proclaimed "hysterical" postcards. Personally, I'm not a fan of these. Anything that you have to cut off the box automatically fails as a premium, because it's made from incredibly cheap cardboard and the effort that it takes to separate such an item from the rest of the box is almost never worth the effort. On top of that, the damn thing is one-sided. A normal postcard has a picture on the front and a divided back split between the mailing address and the main body of text. The Bill & Ted postcards force all three parts of the postcard onto one side, leaving the ugly brown cardboard color on the reverse side. Theoretically, you could write your message on the blank side, but who wants to do that? Of course, it doesn't really matter that the postcards are one-sided, because they're so incredibly lame and unfunny that few people would ever consider using them. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that none of these postcards were ever actually mailed. Call me crazy, but sending someone a "Greetings From 1492" postcard seems like a good way to get a personalized response in the form of their fist up your ass. And the odds are pretty good that you wouldn't enjoy that.
The cereal box is now open, and the bag of cereal removed. Upon first glance, things don't look so bad. However, a closer look will show that this is absolutely not the case...
The box features musical note marshmallows in four bright colors: green, yellow, pink, and orange. However, when I open the bag, I discover that the marshmallows now come in one color: brown. While they look disgusting, they actually might not taste that bad. The two main ingredients in cereal marshmallows are gelatin and sugar, neither of which spoil when kept in dry, airtight containers. So it is very likely that the marshmallows themselves are fine and the dyes have just deteriorated over the last twenty years. Whether or not the marshmallows have kept their original shape is debatable. They look more or less like musical notes, and cereal marshmallows never look as nice as they do on the box or in the commercials. Still, despite all this rationalizing, they don't look very appetizing. As for the cinnamon-flavored oat squares, they look pretty much exactly like they do on the box. So maybe they'll be mostly okay, like the Batman Cereal was. Or maybe I'll die. Onward, to the flavor adventure!
I know I normally try and eat expired food products a couple of different ways so that my overall word count is higher, but fuck it, I don't feel like it this time. So I'm just going to consume Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal the way it was meant to be consumed, with milk. After filling my bowl with milk and cereal, it took me about ten minutes to work up the courage to attempt to eat it. The last cereal I ate wasn't so terrible, but the last expired food product I ate, the box of 1983 Star Wars cookies, was completely awful. The Star Wars cookies gave every indication they were going to be terrible, though. They emitted a terrible chemical smell that decisively warned any sane person not to put them in their mouth. The Bill & Ted cereal, on the other hand, smells like cinnamon. Just like advertised! It is looking like this is not going to be so bad...
The cereal turns out to be surprisingly not bad. The cinnamon oat squares are a little softer than they would have been 20 years ago, but they taste fine. The cereal is really, really sweet. I can't really taste the cinnamon, but Jesus Christ, I sure can taste the sugar. I am able to down my modest bowl of the cereal very quickly without any problem. It's kind of scary just how good this stuff tasted, and I'm almost tempted to keep the remainder of the cereal and eat it all.
But I don't. After I finished my bowl of Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal, I decided it was time to throw out the remaining product; I have enough goddam junk strewn all over the place. I also decided that I didn't want that stuff in my fucking house, so I brought it to the outside trash. As I was about to throw it out, I noticed some ants swarming around a popsicle stick that some douchebag passerby had thrown on my fucking walkway. When I saw the ants, I got an amazing idea: I decided to secretly replace their
regular coffee sticky treat with new Folger's Crystals some pieces of vintage cereal. Let's see if they noticed...
Um, yeah, they did. Big time. The ants wanted absolutely nothing to do with Bill & Ted's Expired Cereal, and they quickly ran away in terror. I found this to be more than a little disconcerting. The cereal tasted fine to me, but if scavenging insects were unwilling to fucking touch it, then there was probably something wrong with it. At this point, I began to get a little nervous, and my stomach started to feel queasy.
As it turned out, I got all worked up for nothing. The cereal sat in my stomach for hours without incident, then exited in a timely and orderly fashion; those fucking ants don't know nothing about nothing. I was so happy that I wasn't dead, I decided to celebrate by indulging in generous amounts of Taco Bell doused in their Fire sauce. My stomach was less than pleased with this additional turn of events, but it survived this ordeal as well. So I guess the moral of the story is this: I'm completely fucking invincible. Or maybe not. For those of you keeping score, that's one expired cereal down, three to go. See you next time, when I attempt to kill myself with another duly licensed and duly expired cereal. Until then, please keep me in your thoughts, prayers, and death pools. At least one of those should pay off in a big way.
Posted by: Syd Lexia
CINNAMON OAT SQUARES AND MARSHMALLOW NOTES!