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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Fluffernutter Lesson

For Mother's Day, here's a re-post of a story I wrote in 2006...

When I saw a story about a Fluffernutter lawsuit today, I was rocketed back to my boyhood when I learned a valuable lesson from my mother.

I must have been 7 or 8 years old and, like all kids that age, wanted my parents to buy me at least 50% of the things that were advertised on Saturday morning TV. Unfortunately, my parents were very good with the one word that can ruin a child's wish list: "No." It had even gotten to the point where I would start asking, "Mom, I saw this great commercial for...." but before I even mentioned the product, she would reject my request.

Of course, I was undeterred, absolutely sure that I could wear her down for something I wanted. One Saturday morning, I thought I noticed a crack in the armor, and I went for it. After seeing the Fluffernutter commercial for the umpteenth time, I begged Mom to please buy me some Marshmallow Fluff when she went to the supermarket later that morning. To my amazement, she said, "Okay."

I was so used to getting the other answer that I kept pleading my case, which consisted entirely of, "Aw, c'mon, Mom, pleeeeeeeze???" When she re-confirmed that she would add Fluff to her shopping list, I was as happy as a boy could be: There would be a Fluffernutter for lunch today!!!

If you're unfamiliar with the product, Marshmallow Fluff has been around for about 75 years. It's a marshmallow cream that comes in a nice big jar. I'd never known anyone who had actually tasted Fluff or had a Fluffernutter, but hearing that jingle over and over again had convinced me that it had to be the greatest taste anyone could ever imagine.

Several hours later, just about the time the cartoons were over, I heard Mom return to our apartment from the supermarket. I raced into the kitchen, tearing the paper bags apart, desperate to find that jar of white magic.

Somehow, Mom calmed me down and told me to sit at the table. Then she brought out the essential ingredients for a Fluffernutter: two pieces of white bread, a jar of peanut butter, and there it was, a wonderful jar of Marshmallow Fluff! You see, a Fluffernutter was just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with Fluff in place of the jelly.

Mom carefully spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread -- she knew just how to do it so she didn't tear the bread -- and then smeared some Fluff onto the other piece of bread. She put the two together, cut the sandwich in half and presented it to me.

Every muscle in my face formed a huge smile as I savored the moment. As far as I knew, I was about to become the first kid in our apartment building -- maybe even in the entire apartment complex -- to eat a Fluffernutter. This was a historic moment.

I reached out and brought the sandwich to my lips, took a big bite, and.....Yecch! Blech! Feh! Ack! It was terrible! I spit the mouthful of gooey dreck onto the plate as Mom asked, "What, you don't like it?"

That was an understatement. Like most kids, I couldn't stomach a lot of food my parents forced upon me, like brussel sprouts, lima beans, and (ugh!) liver -- but this was worse! This was a horrible taste plus major disappointment, because it was Fluff! All the kids in the TV commercials loved Fluffernutters! All of my friends knew the Fluffernutter jingle!

That's when I noticed a sly smile on Mom's face. She'd suspected all along that I wouldn't like a Fluffernutter, but she'd decided to teach me a lesson, a lesson about raised expectations for all those products I wanted from all those Saturday morning commercials. I started to cry.

Mom understood my disappointment as she took the rest of the Fluffernutter sandwich and threw it away, replacing it with a delicious, classic PBJ and a cold glass of milk. Ah, comfort food.

I learned my lesson that day. And it stuck with me, too. Nearly an entire week, until the next Saturday morning, when I saw these really cool new sneakers called PF Flyers. They were amazing! The kids in the commercials said they helped them run faster and jump higher! I ran into the kitchen to tell Mom how cool they were and beg her to buy me a pair.

She answered calmly, "Sure, honey, as soon as you finish the jar of Fluff. It's on the top shelf of the refrigerator."