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When you think of me (as you so often do), it is pretty safe to assume you immediately think the same thing I think about myself: “Cool.”  And yet, sometimes I feel lacking in this innate quality.  I know it’s there, just in slightly diminished form.


As luck would have it, I was in the Country Store of Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.  I was staying there; I didn’t just happen to stumble into the store.  Although I did stumble in there a couple times, since a good portion of time spent in Vermont is spent drinking bottles of wine.  But that’s beside the point.


While in there, I was looking at their awesome candy section.  It had a huge selection of those $.79 or 2/$1 bagged candies, which are great because they tend to have random candy like Bit O’ Honey.  While browsing, I came upon a section of themed collections.  There was a Kid’s Pack, filled with toys and candy; a Girl’s Night Out Pack, filled with fake nails and such; a Boy’s Night Out Pack, filled with gin and lies; and a Cool Pack, filled with toys and candy.


What is the difference between the Kid’s Pack and the Cool Pack?  Duh. The Cool Pack is cool. So I bought it, much to the disdain of those around me.  I didn’t initially set out to buy this solely to discuss here, although the thought did enter my mind.  I have enough trouble maintaining my façade of somewhat normality; I can’t start mentioning buying things just to type about.


I was hesitant to even open it.  I just liked having something named “Cool Pack” laying around, like some sort of emergency kit.


And, yet, here we are.


Besides Cool Pack in huge letters, one of the things you notice right away is “Fat Free”.  You also notice it appears to be just a bag of toys.  This makes the claim of Fat Free a perplexing statement, almost sinister.  Upon closer inspection you see the few pieces of candy.  So the Fat Free claim seems to be somewhat appropriate, although it seems like a strange thing to use as the subtitle.  I would have gone with Kool Toys 4 Kool Kidz.


I looked at the nutritional facts, since I do that with pretty much everything, including bottled water, paper towels, and cat food.  One thing immediately grabbed my attention: FAT!  One gram of fat, not fat free.  Lying about being fat free?  That isn’t Cool.  Not that one gram is a back breaker or anything, it’s just bizarre, given their boasting.  And the ingredient list states it “May contain one or more of the following” ingredients.  It’s that kind of obscurity that we need more of.  Society has become possibly a bit too informed about food (not that it stops us from being fat, Quik drinking slobs), and this Choose Your Own Adventure style of ingredient listing makes reading packaging more exciting.


And now, onto to the important stuff.


The Cool stuff.


I decided to eat the candy first.  There were two pieces of Flintstones candy, which I just hoped weren’t Bronto Burger flavored.  Or Fred flavored, I guess.  Betty flavored would be acceptable.


They turned out to be basically hard, less flavored Starbursts.  And surprisingly, were more enjoyable.  Trying to chew the super tough taffy made it seem like I really was earning the little flavor they were offering.  It was strange… the less-sweetened candy was a nice change.  I guess I just liked being able to actually taste the rubber and gelatin.  So, Flintstones candy: Thumbs Up.


Next up was the lollipop, which has one of the best candy names in a long time:  Bon Bon Bum.  It was basically a cheap Blow Pop, which was fine with me.  However, what brought this ordinary lollipop into full fledged Cool territory was the stick.  It was a stiff plastic straw.  Not the paper sticks that get all weird once it comes in contact with your saliva soaked lips, but smooth, durable plastic.  Bravo, Bon Bon Bum.


I didn’t even realize the last pieces of candy were candy.  I thought they were oars, but when I didn’t see a canoe, I looked into them further, and realized they were Pixie Stix-like candy.  These sticks differed in that they were encased in a plastic package, which is just strange.  I couldn’t open it with my teeth or hands; I had to resort to scissors.  And the sugar inside was all crystallized and chunky.  Not cool.


Candy consumed, I moved onto the toys.  Of course, the first thing I did was put the vampire teeth in my mouth, and proceeded to leave them in for the next hour or so.  Vampire teeth are always cool. 


Next were the fake bugs: definitely cool.  A garish red dragonfly and a pretty realistic cockroach made for a dynamic duo.  There were also two toy men.  One on a motorcycle that has wheels with removable rubber tires (!), and an uncomfortably sticky man that stretches.  Finishing up the organic-related toys was a fake finger complete with a red fingernail/claw.  There is a rubber ball which isn’t really that cool, but at least you can throw it at someone.  And last but definitely not least was a radical skateboard keychain.


I almost feel like a summary would be unnecessary.  By now, we all know that this package has more than backed up its claims of coolness.  Vampire teeth, Flintstones candy, motorcycles, skateboards… COME ON.  If this isn’t cool enough for you, I really don’t know what to say.  At the same time, if this isn’t cool enough for you, you’re at a level of coolness most people can only dream of.  And if you truly are at that level, you sure as hell wouldn’t be wasting your time here.