Sprinkles For Dinner, Finding Jesus in Gumball Machines

I open the freezer, staring inside. A microwavable pasta–a Lean Cuisine–stares back, this block of flash-frozen fetticini with bits of broccoli. I close the freezer. I look in the fridge, but there is only milk, mustard, beer. Always beer. My stomach rumbles again. I give the freezer another try. I hope for another dinner option to spontaneously appear, but nothing does.

I was in the mood for nothing. In fact, I was a bit depressed, and it wasn’t just the fetticini haunting me. It was something about Michael Jackson being dead. It’s like they told me that there was no such thing as cake and ice cream anymore. The King of Pop is gone from this world, and cake and ice cream now tastes like vinegar and jelly. Get used to it, kid.

I decided to go to the grocery store, where I walked the aisles, up and down. Mist rained on the vegetables at intervals. When I was a kid, I wanted to stick my hands under the rain. I roamed past the meats, red on white Styrofoam. I stared at the canned goods, little cylinders of greens and beets and yams and things. I walked to the baked goods section. I passed a display of single hunks of cake. These hunks are mess-ups that can’t be sold as whole sheetcakes, so they divide it into hunks and sell ’em for $1.99. I’m thinking about the kind of person who would buy a single serving of cake. Someone who didn’t have a party. Someone who didn’t have a friend to bake them a cake. Someone who just wanted 900 extra calories to eat alone. Someone without a special occasion.

I’m thinking about a lot of stuff, thinking about the the first time I saw the white suit on the cover of Thriller. Thinking about that lean in Smooth Criminal. That stuff was bad ass. I wanted to be him. I wanted to know him. I’m thinking about how to break it gently to the kid inside of me that MJ is in Neverland now. Fighting pirates with Tinkerbell. Watching the tube with Elvis in the bunker below Graceland. I’m thinking about having that cake for dinner.


It has pearly orbs and red and blue stars. This makes it better. And for a buck ninety-nine, woooooweee. You can’t beat it. I just hope the frosting is thick. Some days, it’s all you can hope for.

But cake alone cannot suffice–for breakfast maybe–but not for dinner. I’m going to need an appropiate sidedish. That’s when I find a display of a new type of Cookie Crisp.


It’s becoming clear that God wants me to eat sprinkles for dinner. The world is going to be OK. Until they make the cereal, Little Frosted Balls of Pie, this is pretty much the next best thing. For health reasons, and because I am a responsible adult, I also choose a banana with my meal.


In Cookie Crisp tradition, they are nothing like actual cookies, and the “sprinkles” are just specks of food coloring.

On my way out of the grocery store, I stopped to check out where the gumball machines and toy machines gather, alongside the free magazines for apartment hunters and flyers that advertise working from home. I can feel some loose change jangling in my jeans. I think a small prize is in order here. I could use a little something. Let’s just see what we’ve got:


Mini Aliens are pretty freaking cool. That sign alone is awesome. Coming for YOU. And only for a quarter.

I got this guy:


He’s a rare silver mini-alien among a bunch of greens. He’s a special alien, and I think he’s dancing. I’ll consider him a friend of Michael’s. They must have met earlier, when Michael was flying spaceships with ET and ALF.

I survey the other machines. There’s the miscellaneous machine that boasts Spongebob digital watches in the display, but there isn’t a single watch to be found in the machine. Just a buncha bracelets and temporary tattoos. Until I notice something very special:


That is (I think) a wolf in an Indian headdress. And I’d give anything to have it–well, except the 45 dollars in quarters it would cost to get the Indian Wolf out. But anything, ANYTHING else, I WILL GIVE FOR INDIAN WOLF. Maybe there were other hidden gems inside the machine. I pulled out two quarters. I could hit the jackpot, or I could end up with a gimp bracelet. The suspense was worth fifty cents to me.

I got this crap–


I do love myself, but I wouldn’t wear a pink button proclaiming it. I have a shirt for that. It could also be I love Maine. Either way, I hate this button.

I was down to my last two quarters, and fortunately, there was another good piece of crap to buy. Glow crosses.


Again, Glow Crosses. Are they Creepy? Tasteless? Tacky? Jesus Campy? Nah, it’s just a glow stick in the shape of a cross. And it comes in a top secret, black plastic container:




Feel the power of that cross. I have nothing to say about it really, except that the world is going to be OK. Cake will still be cake. Thriller will still be Thriller. The sun is gone, but I have a glow cross.

And confidential to Mike–thanks for showing us how to Moonwalk.

5 thoughts on “Sprinkles For Dinner, Finding Jesus in Gumball Machines

  1. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit
    the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.

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