I got one of those e-mail surveys from a friend yesterday - the kind that asks what book you're currently reading, or the flavor of ice cream you prefer. One of the questions stuck with me: What is your favorite cereal? I gave a flip reply. I said "oats" not because I am so very fond of oats, but because I thought it would be good for a laugh.
This morning when I got out of bed, I started ruminating on just exactly what cereal I would be happy to find in my cupboard. My first impulse was King Vitamin, probably because there was never a less aptly named cereal in all creation. It reminded me of the apocryphal tale about how eating the cardboard of a box of Kix had more nutritional value than eating the contents. King Vitamin was for those of us who didn't find Cap'n Crunch sugary enough. I had a brief dalliance with Freakies, but that was mostly for the chance to collect all seven rubbery freaks before any other kid in my neighborhood. It was also remarkably similar to another childhood favorite, Quake. Unfortunately, Quake was always a poor second to Quisp, to whose fate Quake was inexorably fixed. Quisp was lighter and puffier, and shaped like flying saucers. Quake, on the other hand, were nuggets of super-sugary fried oats and corn. When it came time to pick cereals, my older brother got dibs on Quisp, so I took Quake - much in the same manner that he got Hot Wheels and I got Johnny Lightning, or when he chose the Beatles and I was stuck with the Monkees. I could complain more, but I know that when my younger brother came along, I got Count Chocula, and he had to make do with Frankenberry. I'm pretty sure he ended up making the dog eat Boo-berry.
As a grown-up, I keep my breakfasts simple: a glass of orange juice and a bowl of granola. Every so often, a novelty cereal will sneak its way into the cupboard, and I'll have a bowl or two - just to experience the raw feeling on my gums afterward, and the eventual sugar dip. On weekends or vacations I rarely have breakfast at all, preferring instead to build to hypoglycemic fever pitch by noon. That works for now, but if I ever need a little pick-me-up, I know it's just a bowlful away.