Tom Stangl

If you discovered you had access to a time machine, what would you do first?

Would you witness the big bang, the creation of the universe? How about meeting Jesus Christ? Perhaps you would like to change history by saving Abraham Lincoln, hopefully advancing the civil rights movement by a century. How about killing Adolph Hitler before he came to power, saving millions? What about saving John F. Kennedy from an assassin’s bullet, possibly ending the Vietnam War a decade earlier, again saving untold thousands of lives?

All of these are noble uses for a time machine, in my opinion. If you weren’t so noble, perhaps you could win the lottery numerous times or cash in on the Super Bowl.

You get the idea, there’s a lot of different ways to go with this whole “time machine” thing.

I bring this up because last week a co-worker started a conversation about what he would do first with a time machine.

“I would go back in time to find the first person who used raisins in a cookie and kill them,” my co-worker said. He noted that some might feel he was a savage animal for doing this, but hoped that, in time, people would see the wisdom of his actions. He would spare countless people the trauma of biting into a cookie, expecting a chocolate chip and instead striking a gooey raisin.

I must confess, I am not a fan of the raisin. Never have been. In fact, this very theoretical discussion of time travel to eliminate raisins as an add-in to cookies and other baked goods would have eliminated an experience in my past that has come to be known as the “Toll House Pie” incident.

My late mother would nearly always bake a pie when her children came for dinner on the weekends. Mom made lemon meringue pies and when she discovered the Toll House pie, it became the “go to” pie, partially because of its decadent nature, partly because of its ease of preparation.

The Toll House pie is a creation of the Nestle company. It’s basically a chocolate chip cookie in a pie- crust. Not for the feint of heart or those who have issues with control when it comes to eating cookies.

I loved it, and my mother enjoyed making it, until “the incident.”

We had finished dinner and my mother cut me a piece of the pie and put a dollop of whipped cream on top, because everyone knows it is better with whipped cream.

I took my first bite and bit into something very chewy. This was disturbing because I didn’t know what I was eating. I had a decision to make: would I continue eating the foreign substance or risk the wrath of my mother?

I’m a big boy, I simply stopped eating the pie.

A discussion ensued about what was in the pie and it turns out that my mother had purchased Nestle’s chocolate covered raisins by mistake. My mom was very unhappy that the corporate whiz kids in packaging had used a green stripe instead of the red stripe to differentiate the very different morsels.

I withstood the ribbing about being too picky to eat chocolate covered raisins.

But if my co-worker could get the person who used raisins, no one would have been harmed.

Maybe he’s right, after all…

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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