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The Neverending Battle against the Thristies

I love me some Kool-Aid. Can I get real about that folks? Always have, always will. Like some sort of Jim Jones cultist, I have drank the Kool-Aid and its a tasty beverage.

Now, I don’t know if there’s enough content on my love of Kool-Aid to fill an entire blog, but I’m damn sure going to try.

First, here’s some back story on how Kool-Aid for those of you not blessed with such knowledge. Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. Hastings still celebrates a yearly summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August, in honor of their city’s claim to fame. In additional, Kool-Aid is known as Nebraska’s official soft drink.

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a state adopting a diabetic coma inducing glass of greatness as a state beverage, but it definitely made Nebraska jump a couple pegs up in my “States with awesome street cred” book.

It started life as a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack, which to any kid that’s drank Kool-Aid can attest its an apt name for the sugar loaded concoction seeing that it makes you crave glass after glass like some sort of smack addict.  To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder.Later, when it was discovered that Kool-aid by itself is about as tasty as licking a dirty carburetor, it was suggested that you add a heaping amount of sugar with your Kool-aid packet, as well as some cold water.

Another suggested serving idea was to pour it out of some sort of round glass pitcher, in order to best capture the essence of the drink, i.e. The Kool-Aid Man effect.

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Ah, yes, the lovable Kool-Aid man. What truly separates this beverage from the inferior knockoffs like Flavor Aid, is that jolly old anthropomorphic piece of kitchen glass wear.

Although The Kool-Aid Man started life as mascot as far back as 1954, it wasn’t until the aid campaigns of the mid-70s that the character took on his larger than life mojo. It was about this time that Kool-Aid Man was introduced as a walking/talking 6-foot-tall pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid voiced by the undeniable greatness that is Richard Berg. Yep, thanks to old Richard’s signature trademark “Oh YEAH!”, the Kool-Aid Man became a pop culture icon, smashing through fences, walls, shopping centers, old growth forests, anything and everything just to deliver some ice cold Kool-Aid to the masses.

So popular was Kool-Aid man, that by the early 80s, he was the star of two really crappy video games for both the Atari 2600 and the Intellivision. These games are pretty god awful when it comes down to it, but hey, I don’t see you being a star of two games released on two competing video game consoles, so don’t knock that kind of power.

He also went on to have his own comic book, released by none other that Marvel comics. Yes, Marvel comics was willing to print all kinds of shiteolla back then for anyone that had the coin to pay them too, unlike today in which they just print shiteolla for the hell of it.

Although it only ran for 3 issues, and had such thrilling stories as Kool Aid man going back in time to quench Ben Franklin’s thirst, fighting the villainous Compu-TERROR, and replacing Tang as the preferred beverage of Outer space, again it’s power should not be knocked.

After all, as a wee lad of 4, I still forced my older brother Dave, to pick me up issue 1 of this fantastic epic back in 1983 along with the rest of his comic book purchases. To this day, that cover of Kool-Aid breaching a space ship wall in order to do battle with the Thristies for the love of those laughing kids still sends a chill down my spine.

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On an independent note, how Kool-Aid Man can live in the harsh environment of outer space without any special clothing or equipment is bizarre, as is the fact that no one seems to care that the overgrown jug of sugar just breached the hull and that everyone should be sucked out into the unforgiving vacuum by massive depressurization….but I digress.

What I also loved about Kool-Aid growing up is that you could save Kool-Aid points off the back of packets or quart jugs or whatever and use it by all kinds of cheap Kool-Aid brand crap. I personally didn’t do this seeing that I was all of 5 years old, but I had a great Aunt who did this for me.

 

Yep, my Aunt Helen, God rest her soul, always had a special place in my heart, as she not only served as my second Grandma growing up, but she went out of her way to collect these Kool-Aid points and use them to surprise me with all kinds of junk. And she went all out, saving huge chunks of points and turning them in all at once for those big ticket items.

Like the time, she surprised me with an inflatable Kool-Aid Man…thingie. I don’t know if it was a toy, or a pillow, or a balloon..but as it says in the ad as long as you aren’t stupid enough to us it as a life preserver, you can do whatever the hell you want with it.

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45 points, which was probably only like 6 or 7 bucks in 80s money to get, bought this little boy so much joy. I remember going to the post office that day and there was that little letter in the box which was the signal you had a package. I couldn’t guess what it was until later when my Aunt Helen opened it and handed me that old Kool-Aid man. My eyes lit up and I was so happy.  I can still remember bits and pieces of that memory despite the years of booze that killed so many brain cells. Good Times.

To this day, I wish they still had that Kool-Aid points club just so I could give my own boy some miscellaneous garbage that he would probably play with for a half an hour before losing interest.

Oh well…they still make the drink which says a lot for its staying power. I think I’ll go have a glass now…of Purple. No vitamins..just sugar, water, and magic memories.

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