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GOLDFISH: A LYRIC ESSAY (WITH RANKINGS)

GOLDFISH: A LYRIC ESSAY (WITH RANKINGS)

These little fishies can swim into my mouthies. Excuse me, sir. Give me that goldfishes box. You can have it back when you can appreciate them.

In fact, the longevity of the peculiar fish-shaped snack owes much to its popularity among miniature humans who cannot yet manage sustenance implements. “Toddlers,” as they are occasionally known, spill milk-sludged sippy cups and slobber over these bite-sized delicacies as they drop them on the floor. And then offer you a grimy handful. Some say there is something adorable about this charade, their fingers like slimy miniature flesh-colored sausages, their mouths dribbling forth like gurgling fountains of saliva and up-sauce.

Well I think it’s gross. And it’s not a good example for those of us perfectly capable of eating goldfishes without making a big ole mess. How many toothsome crackers are wasted each year on these doddering monkeys?

Let me tell you something else, there is no such thing as this “resealable bag.” If you do not buy the carton you are condemned to actually eat all of them in one sitting. That bag does not reseal and it is not meant to reseal and it is basically like having a thousand actual goldfish in a napkin. The carton is the ocean and the fishes wants to be in it.

Anything else? No, let’s rank them.

THE DEFINITIVE LIST THAT RANKS MOST GOLDFISH SNACK CRACKERS

Cheeseburger. Really does exist. Nauseating, clearly.

Mix: Chocolate Mint and Pretzel. This is fine if you are four and came up with it on your own. If you’re an adult and chose to spend money on this, run for Congress. You’d be amazing.

Whole Grain Cheddar. These are suitable for learning to juggle, even if you have no hands.

Saltine. What’s wrong with a regular-ass Saltine. And why are they made with organic wheat. Saltines are supposed to be flour, baking soda, yeast, and salt. If you want to shape THAT like a goldfishes, okay.

Princess Cheddar. Oh, you’re a princess now? Will you with your dainty princess fingers demurely select three goldfishes? Will you bite them halfways between your front teeth as if an entire goldfish would suffocate your sensitive palate? Get over yourself. Also, these are cheddar flavored but somehow pink. What fresh sorcery is this, to make pink what nature intended to be neon orange? Have fun storming this castle, jackasses.

“Goldfish Grahams.” I’m not taking the quotation marks away. These are in the shape of goldfishes but otherwise bear little resemblance. They come in Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla Cupcake, Fudge Brownie, Cookies & Cream, and S’mores.

Here’s how you make the “Goldfish Grahams” good: you take a double fistful of each kind and funnel them into an oversized mason jar. Securely attach a ten-inch string to the bottle’s inner lip. Pour it halfway full with gasoline and another quarterway with motor oil and then stuff a rag in its mouth. You can probably blow up the habitable zone of Trappist-1 with this, but you will have done those goldfishes a favor.

Teddy Grahams. Oh hey look guys, Teddy Grahams, right effing here next to these “Goldfish Grahams.” They were here first and they had commercials.

Colors. This is not an acceptable use of food coloring.

Original. The sad truth is that these aren’t any good. The etymology of “original” implies that these were created a long time ago before flavoring had been invented. Remember in Downton Abbey when embattled footman Thomas Barrow invests all his money in some “high-quality” foodstuffs that turn out to be watered down with old flour and sawdust and concrete mix and whatever else? He goes crazy and starts thrashing about the room. Yeah, don’t buy the original ones.

Tap Water. For scale.   

Parmesan. Now we’re getting somewhere. Delectability, functionality, mild-mannered personality. The parmesan goldfishes are ideal for long roadtrips. If you are not paying attention, some charlaton with a moon in scorpio will swap some of his original goldfishes for your parmesan ones. This is another downside of selecting the smaller bag.

I recently saw a tiny-fingered 6-year old holding the 6.6. oz. bag and I am, obviously, deeply concerned about what this portends. The huge cartons, which open like grade school milks, are actually hard to put your hand in. Which can be an effective security system. However, it will not protect you from child burglers or adults with shrimpy Trump-hands, though such disfigured bandits are typically also slight of brain.

Pretzel.
These have huge salt crystals, making them very unattractive as fish. As snacks, however, they are scrumptious.

Cheddar. This is what should be called the “original” flavor. The others may go now. Cheddar goldfishes is classic, and delightfully ubiquitous. Stuck in a gas station in rural China? This is the one flavor they have.

Pizza. The fuck is this, a pizza? Calm down, it’s not. It’s some kind of magic that happens when you combine FD&C Blue #14, Red #45, and Yellow #13B, annato coloring, copper arsenite, and used gunpowder. These goldfishes taste nothing like pizza, but it doesn’t matter. You might as well eat them on toast because I’m sure that’s good as well. They probably cure colon cancer.

Flavor Blasted. In general, this is just a very, very good idea. If it’s cheddar, it’s more cheddar. You should be concerned about their sour cream & onion flavor. Lo but I began to tremble mightily as I reached for them! I couldn’t go through with it. The Xplosive Pizza flavor, despite the name, poses no discernable gastrointestinal problems.

Here’s a subranking, worst to first:

    Slammin’ Sour Cream & Abomination
    Burstin’ BBQ (Burstin’ what exactly?)
    Nacho Cheese
    Wild White Cheddar
    Xplosive Pizza
    Xtreme Cheddar

Carton of Flavor Blasted Xtreme Cheddar. In fulfillment of the prophecy.

Gregg Murray

Gregg Murray

Gregg Murray is an Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University and the editor for Muse /A Journal. Having received his Ph.D. in English from University of Minnesota, Gregg has published scholarship and reviews in various magazines and journals. He is also a poet and the author of “Ceviche.”
Gregg Murray

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