Sunday, October 26, 2008
JSH's Supermarket Finds: "Self Heating Cocoa"
I happened to spy this here cocoa on a big endcap display at the Wally-mart t'other day. It was a cold crisp morning, a hot cocoa sounded good, and I grabbed it without even looking closely at it.
Then I realized it said "Self Heating Cocoa."
Self heating?? So, how does THAT work? Hmmm. Then I realized that one full fourth of the can was devoted to disclaimers and warnings...
Do not microwave. Okay. Do not pour out. Well, that's kind of strange, isn't it? Why can't I pour it out if I want to? I mean, it's my cocoa, Goddamnit. Place on heat-proof surface. Wow, how hot does this thing get? If it gets so hot that the bottom of it could burn something, how I am supposed to hold the ding-dang thang? Tampering with container may result in accidental contact with heating materials. Okay, now you're just getting scary, Mr. Can. So there's both cocoa and some kind of corrosive substance sharing a can, like the night, together? That's just wrong.
And then there's the mysterious "pink spot". It says here that the tamper-proof cap will not turn unless the pink spot has turned white. Even more spookily oracular is the warning "If pink spot stays pink, do not drink". Uh-oh. Is this cocoa or a pregnancy test?
Then there's the actual instructions on how to operate this here crazy steampunk Interzone cocoa. First, you turn it upside down and pull off the foil from the bottom. Check. Second, while upside down, "drain green water from heating chamber by firmly pushing white button into can". Wait, what?
Then you shake it gently for five seconds, and then you monitor the pink spot closely. When the pink spot turns white, your cocoa is safe to drink. Then it repeats the admonition not to drink the cocoa - not to even open the can - if the pink spot does not turn white.
On the lid, we have another urgent warning that you must NOT pour the cocoa out. This is still the most troubling aspect of this Star Trek hot chocolate for me. What happens if you do pour it out? Does it explode? Will you upset the green water, or offend the pink spot?
By the time I'd read the whole owner's manual for the damn beverage, I was convinced there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell I was going to mess with this stuff. But I bought it anyway, and keep it on a shelf in my kitchen to serve as a constant reminder of John Titor's prediction that 2008 was roughly the year in which people would start to realize that the world we are living in is not the one in which we thought we were living in.
- - JSH