The Apotheosis of Corn

From mid-November through the Christmas season, the best food in the universe is popcorn. Not just any popcorn, but those squat, decorated cylinders that contain equal parts of the cheese, butter, and caramel-flavored varieties. These popcorn tins are, in fact, perfect. You would _think_ that the perfect bin would be two-thirds full of cheese popcorn, with each of the others only taking up one-sixth of the volume. That would certainly be a more appropriate proportion considering the relative tastiness of the three types — but it is precisely the scarcity of the cheese popcorn that makes each fistful of it the more delicious, and in turn forces you to take some time to appreciate the subtleties of the other two. (This argument works equally well for the unwashed hordes who actually prefer caramel or butter to cheese.)

Suanna and I were making a return ‘n’ exchange run earlier today, a dreadfully tedious errand that took us to Toys R Us, among other places. But it was there, standing at the customer service counter, that I happened to glance at a pile of familiarly-sized cylinders decorated with pictures of the Hulk and Spider-Man. A sign in front of them read:

Popcorn Tins
Normally $7.50
Now only $.50

That’s not a typo. Look in the dictionary under “serendipity,” and you will see a picture of me holding a Spider-Man popcorn tin with a goofy smile on my face. If you believe in God, “serendipity” is too weak a word — you must resort to the far more sinewy “Providence.” And if you don’t believe in God, an event like the Popcorn Tin Unlooked-For will change your mind for a day.

Exercising a monumental degree of self-restraint, I only bought one tin. We’re driving back to D.C. in a few days, and there won’t be any spare room in the car. I can finish one tin between now and Monday easily, but not two — that’s as sad a commentary on the limitations of these mortal shells we inhabit as I can think of just now.