Evolution of my *&*&# Potato Chips


My wife and I modernized our shopping strategy.  We purchased an Alexis unit that sits in our kitchen waiting for our daily directions, “Hey Alexis, add peanut butter to the shopping list.”  Alexis answers with a pleasant, “I’ve added peanut butter to your shopping list.”  We installed the app on our iphones which allows each of us to access the grocery list.  I go to the south end of the store while my wife heads north.  Place an item in your grocery cart, delete it from your app.  That’s the plan.

I’m in the south end of the store moving down the potato chip aisle looking for my favorite, “Cape Cod Whole Earth Collection 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chip.”  And then it strikes me, “Where in the hell are my potato chips?”  Standing in front of me is an entire aisle of different varieties of potato chips performing the “wave” as I walk by.  Standing beside me are two women who reside in my age bracket.  Okay, perhaps they’re younger than me.  “What is going on?”  I asked.  “There used to be plain and ruffle chips, and then we added Barbecue Chips.  This is insane.”  They added words of encouragement accompanied by an affirmative nod to support my frustration.  While they struggled to find their favorite chip, they finally grabbed a bag and moved on.  I waited for my wife to come south and pull our favorite Cape Cod chips from the shelf.

A couple of days passed and I’m still wrestling with my potato chip trauma; need to gain some perspective.  Google time.  Simply stated, a potato chip is a thin slice of potato deep fried or baked until crunchy.  The basic chip is cooked and salted.  Additional varieties are manufactured using various flavorings and ingredients including herbs, spices, cheeses, other natural and artificial flavors, and strange-sounding additives.

I remember when the early chips were challenged by the potato chips in a tube.  While I never cared for them, they did fit one at a time on the top of my tongue.  But I admit having an emotional rush as I experienced the disintegration of each chip as it dissolved in my mouth.  Still, they never measured up to the plain and ruffle chips.

According to taquitos.net there are 1698 types of potato chips classified into 312 categories.  We’ve got the Ruffles for the old folks like me, the Barbecue chips for anyone with a bounce in their step, and then we have so many flavors that I can never experience in my remaining lifetime.  Have you tried Archer’s Famous Macaroni and Cheese Thick-cut Potato Chip, Herr’s Chickie”s and Pete’s Famous Crabfries Seasoned Potato Chip With White Creamy Cheese Sauce, and we even have one called the Potato Chip.  If that’s not enough information, there were $7.5 billion spent on an assortment of potato chips in 2015.

Instead of protesting the evolution of my potato chips, I’ve decided to become a participant.  What the hell?  I’m retired.  I have nothing else to do.  It’s a known fact that I like to sip on an evening beer or two.  With that in mind, I pledge to buy a different bag of chips each week to accompany my evening beer/beers.  That’s 52 bags of chips each year with 52 to 104 evening beers in a year.  At that rate I will have eaten the 1698 bags of chips in about 32 1/2 years.  If modern medicine makes its anticipate strides I will accomplish my goal at age 106 1/2.  And then my wife added, “What if there are more potato chips added to the market over the next 32 1/2 years?”






Published by llfranklin12

Larry L Franklin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He performed in the U.S. Navy Band located in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1971. From 1972 to 1975, he taught music at Southern Illinois University. In 1976, he completed requirements for a certified financial planner designation and maintained a successful investment business until 2007 when he retired to devote his energies to writing. In 2003, he received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Franklin is the author of “Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory,” published by Xlibris; “The Rita Nitz Story: A Life without Parole,” published by Southern Illinois University Press; “Cherry Blossoms & Barron Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell,” published by Chipmunka Publishing Company; and “Supermax Prison: Controlling the most dangerous criminals,” published by History Publishing Company. He currently resides in southern Illinois with his wife, Paula.

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