John Carlson: Zap Some Happiness

Yippee! A culinary miracle is at hand! Photo by: Nancy CarlsonYippee! A culinary miracle is at hand! Photo by: Nancy Carlson

By: John Carlson—

With the recent ringing of our front door bell I found my dear friend Jimmy Hayes standing on my porch, tears of joy splashing from his eyes and a package in his hands giving off an angelic, heavenly light.

Now, if I may digress a moment, for years I’ve heard folks credit Martin Luther with saying beer is proof God loves us. Ben Franklin, in turn, has been credited with saying wine is proof God loves us. Finally, some fella named Old Grandad – or maybe it was Pappy VanWinkle – has been credited with saying bourbon is proof God loves us.

But as Jimmy held out the treasure cupped in his hands, I knew it was he, my musclebound buddy, who revealed that the proof God loves us was actually a sack of Willie’s Hog Dust Microwave Sweet BBQ Pork Rind Pellets.

“It’s a miracle,” Jimmy announced with awe.

Reading the words microwave pork rind pellets on the package, all I could think was, “You got that right, brother!”

Well, that and, “It’s about time!”

Yes, Jimmy and his lovely wife Cathy brought me these pork rind pellets from a trip down South to see their equally lovely daughter Heather. They delivered them about the time I was entering the depressed throes of a low-carbohydrate diet, reminding me that pork rinds, bless their puffy little hearts, have practically no carbs.

And these pork rind pellets? Let’s just say their inventor, Willie’s Rubbins, LLC, better be in the running for next year’s Nobel Prize for Snack Advancements or somebody’s gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do.

Having awaited Nan’s return home so I wouldn’t screw up anything, I watched her measure out a small portion of these dark little wood-chippy things, lift them into the microwave and set the timer for two minutes. As the seconds ticked off and the scent of fresh pork rinds began filling the kitchen, my face took on the sweetly radiant look of a youngster waiting for Santa to slide down the chimney. Then the micro’s buzzer buzzed and what to my wondering eyes should appear but …

Pork rinds!

Like a child, I cried, “God bless us every one!” After that, I snatched the rinds and grabbed myself a six-pack of cold Budweisers to wash them down.

So yeah, that’s what I wanted to share with you today. Oh sure, some naysayers, some nabobs of negativism, would say we’re living in troubled times. But we also now live in the kind of brave new beautiful world in which microwaveable pork rinds exist. Which, naturally, makes me think, if they can make microwaveable pork rinds, why can’t they make microwaveable Pringles, Doritos and Cheez Doodles? As for the future, who knows? Can little round no-carb microwaveable onion ring pellets that puff up into fat, greasy onion rings be too far off?

We can only pray.

The space savings alone would be tremendous!  See, Willie’s microwaveable pork rinds come in a smallish bag of a size more commonly filled with almonds. Say this little bag holds the makings of ten bags of rinds. So let’s also say about the beginning of November when Hoosier weather starts turning crappy, you’re wondering what special thing can you do to surprise your wife and bring unmitigated joy to her life?

Then it hits you! Slipping away to South Carolina with that month’s’ grocery money, you buy 200 bags of Willie’s microwaveable pork rind pellets, truck them home, then tuck them out of sight in one of her kitchen cabinets.

Next thing you know, it’s a snow day. “Oh, no!” she exclaims, staring into the barren fridge. “Didn’t I tell you to get milk and bread for the children?!?!”

“Looks like I forgot, baby cakes!” you admit with a grin, throwing open the cabinet door. “But we do have the equivalent of 2,000 bags of pork rinds!”

Or is that 20,000 bags of pork rinds? I dunno. I suck at math. Either way, just think how delighted she will be with you!

The point is, with this astonishing new culinary development, I’d say microwaveable pork rind-wise, these are the good old days we’re always so fond of reminiscing about.

So, where can you get ‘em around here? Beats me, but please, don’t bother knocking at my door.


A former longtime feature writer and columnist for The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, John Carlson is a storyteller with an unflagging appreciation for the wonderful people of East Central Indiana and the tales of their lives, be they funny, poignant, inspirational or all three.