The untrue history of ramen noodles

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Like most guys, I like to eat.

And like a large percentage of those guys, I like to eat cheap.

Now that I'm in college, that latter statement is a given since most male college students' weekly lunch budget consists of the $2.84 they found in an empty box of generic-brand Count Chocula (called Chocolate Vampire Stuff) lying on their bedroom floor and a small piece of damp cardboard roughly made to look like a dollar bill.

Unfortunately, most restaurants these days do not accept damp pieces of cardboard portraying George Washington as a morbidly drawn stick-figure, so that leaves us with very few choices.

But we are in luck. The following two words have saved many a guy from the brink of starvation: ramen noodles.

This heavenly invention was created by a person (most likely male) who realized that boiling water, when used correctly, could eventually turn glass shards made of petrified dog feces into something appetizing to the typical college man.

Lucky for us, the stock market crash of '29 rendered the Petrified Dog Feces Glass Co. useless, and society, as it recovered, later introduced us to the Dry Noodles with Seasoning Co.

This is when our Hero began planning his genius creation for the next few decades. It wasn't until his inventor friend, Carlito (who later invented Chocolate Vampire Stuff), mentioned that the dry noodles he had with seasoning the other day made him extremely thirsty.

All of a sudden it struck our Hero! How could he have been so blind?

Thus began ramen noodles.

And although Carlito claims to have been the brains behind the operation, he received no money, no recognition, and, to his ultimate horror, no teriyaki seasoning packets. Due to his extreme jealousy, he ended their friendship and fiercely competed with our Hero when Chocolate Vampire Stuff finally began taking off.

So here we are today. Had it not been for our Hero (and maybe Carlito), I wouldn't have seen that glorious display of ramen noodles staring at me in the aisle of a local store as rays of hallelujah-ish sunshine poured through the skylight and splashed across the sign that might as well have read, "Sam, we're practically free, we love you, and your 11 a.m. class will be canceled tomorrow."

Not to say that ramen noodles are the only thing I eat. I also frequent a fast-food restaurant which, for legal reasons, can only be referred to as "That Place That Serves Mexican Food and has Two Words to Describe a BELL Made Out of Nothing but TACOs."

In fact, it's gotten so bad that I feel embarrassed to see the same people working every time I go there. Pretty soon, they should have my order memorized.

"Should I just introduce myself?" I think as I hold out the exact amount of money it will take to purchase my food before they even tell me what it's going to cost.

I'm just glad our Hero gave me a back-up plan for those days when Bob Reeves says it's too dangerous to drive to "That Place That Serves Mexican Food and has Two Words to Describe a BELL Made Out of Nothing but TACOs."

Because then I can partake in the cherished tradition of college guys around the world by enjoying a nice warm bowl of ramen noodles. And as a special treat and tribute to Carlito, Chocolate Vampire Stuff for dessert.

Sam DeReign is a sophomore at Southeast Missouri State University. Contact him at sdereign@semissourian.com.

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