“I need an ice cream flavor called Marvins Room,” our car ride began. “I am the big sad.”

The Patriots had just bowed out of the postseason, so we were driving to drown our sorrows in overpriced and exotically-named ice cream. We ordered quickly then retired to the car. Silence.

Admittedly, I am not a big football fan. I’ll watch the Super Bowl when the Patriots are playing—that is to say, most of the time—but my yearly football game viewing tally rarely exceeds one.

My friends, on the other hand, were outraged. After the plastic spoon slurping subsided, they went on and on about misplaced throws, our poor attack strategies, and something about a potentially wandering goat. Sprawled across the worn and familiar backseat, I tuned them out and began to fiddle with the now-empty ice cream cup in my hand.

But I too, it seemed, was the big sad.

I didn’t quite know why. I had ordered The Blueb, which was certainly not anything Sadboi Drake could’ve cooked up. It was a delightful family of all things true to its name: pie, crumble, ice cream, and fresh blueberries hidden in the most optimal of nooks and crannies. Certainly, each bite tugged the corners of my mouth upwards and conjured a haze of pleasant scenes from summers past. But this was not that feeling.

This isn't actually The Blueb, its another sundae called The Gannondorf, but close enough

Perhaps the sadness came from a place of empathy towards my friends. An allegiance to your local sports team is understandable; it provides lasting community, identity, and friendships. The energy of my friends rise and fall with the Patriots’ momentum in an eerie, tidal synchrony, matching every defeat and Super Bowl victory.

But no, it was even more personal still. This was some irrational loyalty coaxing me to take the Patriots’ loss as a personal injury, and I had obliged. Was the power of geographical association that intoxicating?

Before I could fully answer myself, however, my thoughts turned from the Patriots to a less savory topic: Extra-Toasty Cheez-Its.

In New England, we have a little adage that goes something like, “Do your job.” It’s a fairly simple concept. If you’re a receiver, you catch and do any other part you can to win; if you’re an ice cream scooper, well, that ice cream isn’t going to scoop itself. And if you’re a Cheez-It, you best be tasting GOOD.

I’m talking good like looming-deadlines-dissipate good, like puppy-cuddling good, like homework-free-weekend good. And so, I am utterly confused why anyone would buy a whole box of intentionally burnt Cheez-Its. Well, that’s not entirely true—I have a few theories.

Image from WikiCommons

Image from WikiCommons

How I'm trynna be/how I feel after eating Cheez-Its

1. Early Buddhism

In middle school, I learned that Buddha deprived himself of pleasure as a way to work towards Enlightenment. I suspect that Extra Toasty Cheez-It lovers are doing something similar. Asceticism, I suppose, is as good an explanation as any for why people would take a perfectly sunset-orange Cheez-It, rid it of all flavor, and then eat it. This makes a bit of sense, I suppose: regular Cheez-Its are far too luxurious and pleasurable for one attempting to lead a simple life.

Image from WikiCommons

Image from WikiCommons

Buddha would be this happy after eating regular Cheez-Its, I bet

The Burnt Cheez-It gang should note, however, that Buddha eventually renounced extreme asceticism (e.g., eating Extra Toasty Cheez-Its) probably because he couldn't eat things like regular Cheez-Its, and he still found Enlightenment anyway.

2. Dumbness

Okay, I’ll admit—that asceticism theory was a bit of a stretch. I think there is a much simpler explanation. Your taste buds are dumb. This isn’t exactly scientific, but it’s close, or at least it should be. Of course, if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment below telling me why because everyone is entitled to their own opinion*. One of my friends** suggested that burnt things are often good (I agreed with this), so one could compare regular Cheez-Its to bread and Extra Toasty Cheez-its to toast. This, of course, is false. Regular Cheez-Its are already a crunchy, solid foundation—they are toast, and Extra-Toasty Cheez-Its is the abomination that occurs when your sandwich bread falls into the fire and you're too lazy to fish it out.

I think it is important to establish an objective truth in this case. Regular Cheez-Its: cheesy, crispy, soul-filling, good. Extra Toasty Cheez-Its: overdramatic, brash, soot-like, bad. Let's be smart, folks.

*Sorry, typo—I meant: feel free to never speak to me again   

**someone I know

3. Patriots Syndrome

At this point, you may seriously question the nature of my introduction and how it connects. This is a fair question. I explored my seemingly confusing but powerful affinity for the Patriots, and there very well may be a similar attraction occurring with the poor souls insistent on purchasing Extra Toasty Cheez-Its. Through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I believe I will always support my hometown team. There is no real logic to my affiliation, it just simply is.

For those poor souls, however, there is no good or health, just bad and sickness. Whatever reason spurns their uncompromising devotion is beyond me and, I think, them as well. Then, I venture, they have come to a point where they’ve convinced themselves of some fake goodness in this snack, that maybe, just maybe, the Extra Toasty Cheez-Its will one day do their job. Sadly, there will never be a true Super Bowl victory for them, just endless days being the big sad. And that makes me the big sad.

So to all the Extra Toasty Cheez-It eaters: for your sake and mine, please stop.