I Am Feeling The Urge To Eat Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

I have to be honest with all of you.

Every time I get a package with something that I’ve ordered off the Internet, it usually comes packed in a huge fluffy blanket of white, stryofoam packing peanuts. They are squishy and soft to the touch, with an almost heaven-like consistency that often makes me think of what Cool Whip might have been if it had been frozen solid, divided up into little pieces and then used for packing items for long-term mailing processes. They are intriguing, mysterious…

…and I am feeling the urge to eat them right this minute.

I don’t know what it is — this human desire to eat stuff that we know very well we shouldn’t be eating. For over the course of my entire life I have held objects in my hand and thought to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I ate that? I wonder how it would taste? I wonder I wonder I wonder.”

From pennies to thumb tacks to Elmer’s glue… From cat food to pink fiberglass insulation to a piece of velcro. I have held in my hand a variety of objects that range from the stuff you fill up bean bags with to crumpled up pieces of note paper that contain secret messages from me to my friends — and I have had the urge to eat them all at once.

But today, it’s all about the styrofoam packing peanuts.

What makes styrofoam packing peanuts an intriguing and mysterious eating concept is the fact that I think if the world were to implode in a glorious nuclear explosion — that besides the cockroaches, only styrofoam packing peanuts would survive. And that makes me wonder — what would happen to those same very resilient packing peanuts if I were to eat them? And besides that nagging question, packing peanuts simply look like a food. In addition to reminding me of those old Lorna Doone S-shaped cookies that you used to dunk in coffee, a handful of them remind me of taffy and those orange taffy peanut chewy-things called Circus Peanuts.

What is this world’s fascination with making un-digestible food look appetizing?

Some of you will disagree. You will complain about the sound that packing peanuts make when you rub them between your fingers. You will site the smells and the crackling cacophonic sounds they make when you jump into a barrel of them. You will tell me I am crazy and you will make fun of me because I’m so forthcoming about my desire to eat them.

Well, you know what? I used to have a wall up around me (emotionally and figuratively, of course) when it came to being honest about my desire to try and eat a styrofoam packing peanut, but I’ve broken down these walls. I’m being completely honest and I’m being completely ME. And if you can’t accept me for who I am and my urge to eat styrofoam packing peanuts, then all I can say (in a very Shakespearean way) is begone!

People who eat pennies are stupid. I mean, it’s obvious what’s going to happen. Your body isn’t going to be able to digest a damn penny, okay? Same goes for shards of glass or thumbtacks or pieces of errant plastic or even little lego pieces. I’m past that. I’ve moved on. Matured. But when it comes to these damn packing peanuts they call out to me like they know what I’m thinking. They’re all “Pauly, don’t you want to try just one of us?”” and I’m all “No thanks Mr. Packing Peanut, I think you’ll just give me a stomach ache” and they’re all “Oh, c’mon — what’s the worst that could happen?” and I’m all “I could get sick” and they’re all “Sicker than when you got food poisoning from Pizza Hut?” and I’m all “How did you know about that?” and they’re all “We’re packing peanuts, Pauly — we know all.”

I think I’m going to have to do it. Just try it once. I mean, a tiny little tidbit. I’ll break off a corner and just taste it at first and if it doesn’t taste like poison or anything, I’ll chew on it a little bit and if I’m still feeling okay and I’m not woozy or dizzy or I lose my equilibrium, then I’ll go the whole way and swallow a huge single styrofoam packing peanut.

I’m feeling the urge. I have to do it. What about you?

I have some pink ones you might like to try.

37 comments on “I Am Feeling The Urge To Eat Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

  1. Jaclyn - January 25, 2006 at 8:34 am -

    Have you seen the ones that are biodegradable? They totally disintegrate in water and would melt in your mouth. I say you should sample them.

  2. H.F. Peterman - January 25, 2006 at 8:35 am -

    Sort of like M&M’s…only fluffier. Let me know if it tastes like chicken?

  3. H.F. Peterman - January 25, 2006 at 8:38 am -

    Or how about those candy orange circus peanuts. Is that orange dye #5

  4. H.F. Peterman - January 25, 2006 at 8:40 am -

    Ummm…I shut up now. I see you already mentioned the circus peanut thing.

  5. Pauly D - January 25, 2006 at 8:44 am -

    Peterman – Yeah, seriously H.F.. Read the whole post first. And THEN comment.

  6. Dave2 - January 25, 2006 at 8:48 am -

    I think they would be lovely in milk… kind of like a breakfast cereal with a squeaky polystyrene aftertaste. Delicious!

  7. hadashi - January 25, 2006 at 9:11 am -

    and then you could just wash ’em down with a swig of your coconut shampoo…

  8. dgm - January 25, 2006 at 9:14 am -

    i think you should cut a tiny hole in one, insert your pill, and swallow it all down at once.

  9. Flower Girl - January 25, 2006 at 9:44 am -

    Just one won’t hurt you…I say go for it. Just be sure to chew it up completely.

  10. Pauly D - January 25, 2006 at 9:53 am -

    DGM – That’s a great idea. What’s even better is how you commented on this post, combined the subject matter of the newer post, and sort of did the kind of special event comment they do when like the characters of The Practice show up on Boston Public. Synergy, DGM. Way to go.

    Flower Girl – Can I send you the doctor’s bill?

  11. Flower Girl - January 25, 2006 at 10:00 am -

    “My cat” (the stray I can’t get rid of who I am allergic to but too nice to turn out in the cold) eats them and it doesn’t seem to have harmful affects.

    Note: Given this, you should also be able to safely consume cat food, gummy bears, toilet water and paper wads. (You should also be using a litter box. )

  12. Amber - January 25, 2006 at 10:17 am -

    I have had the urge to eat creme brulee scented lotion, hot chocolate scented body wash, various plastic products (but mostly just for the chewing, not the actual swallowing) and birdseed on a stick because it had honey on it and it smelled good. But never plastic peanuts. I think I can say that you are alone in this. Because I am qualified to judge,seeing as I’m totally normal in every possible way. Now excuse me while I go to the mall and touch all the clothes in the stores because I just have to know what they feel like.

  13. Rachel - January 25, 2006 at 10:23 am -

    That’s called pica, Pauly. I would like to take a big bite out of my vanilla-pear-scented candle, though.

  14. better safe than sorry - January 25, 2006 at 11:19 am -

    if you’re not sure if you’re going to like them or not, try eating rice cakes first, cuz rice cakes taste just styrofoam, with articial flavouring on them. and wash them down with some of that delicious soya milk.

  15. meme - January 25, 2006 at 11:24 am -

    i think you may be pregnant…they say pregnancy causes odd cravings likes plaster and wood chips. well, i’m not sure about the wood chip thing, i think that was only me. and actually it’s not wood chips but scrabble pieces, no wonder we get along so well.

    WFME makes me hungry!

  16. Virenda - January 25, 2006 at 12:29 pm -

    I am so glad I’m not the only one…

    And please don’t judge me, but I can tell you honestly that packaging peanuts don’t taste very good. Nope, they are far to chewy and they kinda remind me of stale dust. Who knows maybe the orangie ones taste better?

    I have a few weird tendencies (hey I said “few”) one is to eat/chew on weird things, which I’m glad to say I have almost conquered and the other is to break/smash things. No, no NOT in a violent way, in a, this ice is so thin I want to crack it way, Or I really want to just squish this egg, kind of way.

    So go for it Pauly, maybe once you give it a shot you will over come your desire for packaging peanuts, thus beating your desire and never having to deal with it again. YOU WILL BE CURED..

    Go head…Do it…

  17. susan - January 25, 2006 at 12:31 pm -

    It’s a conspiracy – “they” have not only made a non-food item appetizing, “they” have given it the name of an actual food – peanuts!

  18. Figs - January 25, 2006 at 3:33 pm -

    ARGH!!!! You know that sensation some people get from nails on a blackboard? I get it thinking of eating squeaky things: fresh green beans, styrofoam, paper towels…

    Now I’m all goose-bumpy and squidgy-feeling, and not in the good ways!

  19. Pauly D - January 25, 2006 at 5:11 pm -

    BSTS – See, that’s the thing. I like rice cakes. And if I like those, how different could styrofoam packing peanuts really be? And then, at least, if I live through it…I would be the guy who ate the styrofoam packing peanuts. That’s gotta be great for small talk at parties and funerals, don’t you think?

    Meme – What pregnant woman craves wood chips? Seriously.

    Virenda – I would worry about the ice, and you know why. I know people who like to chew on plastic margarine tops. That’s a unique one, as well.

    Susan – I don’t have anything to say, but I don’t want you to feel left out here.

    Figs – Fresh green beans? Those are squeaky?

  20. Jaclyn - January 25, 2006 at 5:17 pm -

    I saw a pregnant woman on “A Baby Story” on TLC who had cravings for toilet paper. No lie! Not only did she chew on a piece when she was pregnant with the first kid, she munched on another piece when she got pregnant a second time. Supposedly, it only smelled like it would taste good…

  21. Virenda - January 25, 2006 at 6:01 pm -

    I’m not trying to over-ride your comment board, but when I was pregnant I had an unhealthy obsession with soap, soap of any kind. I even slept with a bar of soap on my night stand. Does that make me weird? (I’d like to point out that I no longer sleep with soap.)

  22. Adri - January 25, 2006 at 6:01 pm -

    Would you have to talk to the packing peanuts before you eat them?

  23. Pauly D - January 25, 2006 at 6:23 pm -

    Adri – No, silly. I don’t talk to the packing peanuts before I eat them. Who told you that? I mean, did someone tell you that I talk to inanimate objects before I eat them? Cause if someone did, they would have been totally wrong to say that. FYI. Not that someone did. But still, I want to be clear.

  24. Mark - January 25, 2006 at 7:40 pm -

    Circus Peanuts aren’t food either (and neither are Peeps, by god, but I digress), and if you can stomach those things, a packing peanut might actually be quite satisfying.

  25. Candide's Notebooks - January 26, 2006 at 7:21 am -

    We’ve excerpted this as our Featured Post in our Daily Bloggerback/Best of Blogs segment at Candide’s Notebooks (www.pierretristam.com)

  26. Jennifer Lankenau - January 26, 2006 at 1:00 pm -

    you shoulda told me. I got a cubic butt-ton of them from the box my XBOX!!!! came in.

  27. Rabbit - January 26, 2006 at 3:33 pm -

    Alright, Pauly, I just gave Poison Control the heads up. They’re sending an ambulance right over. Let’s see how many we can chow down before they get here.

  28. inky - January 28, 2006 at 11:26 pm -

    Once when I was a kid…. or maybe a few years ago, I can’t remember which… I chomped on one of these styrofoam peanuts just so I could feel (in my mouth) what it felt like and what it tasted like. It felt rubbery and it tasted like styrofoam 🙂

  29. nic - January 29, 2006 at 10:20 am -

    How, exactly, hungry are you? Would you like me to send you some cash, Pauly? Are you allright?

  30. maija - March 10, 2006 at 7:03 pm -

    I’m eating some right now!
    That’s how I found this site… I googled what I was doing. LOL.


  31. […] You know, there’s got to be some kind of cereal filler plant operating in the Midwest — and all they do is create these crappy filler cereal pieces to be thrown in and among the good cereal stuff. Cereal filler pieces are like the styro-foam packing peanuts of the breakfast world. […]

  32. […] Styrofoam Packing Peanuts (Pack of 3): $1.25 […]

  33. […] One blogger confessed he has always had an urge to eat them.  I’m not sure how that helps me, but there it is. In an article saying they can be broken down into biodegradable materials, one of the people commenting on his post wondered the same thing I did, but there were no answers. At Ask a Scientist, a web site of the U.S. Department of Energy, a kindred spirit asked about the R-value of packing peanuts and styrofoam, and here I got my most definitive answer: As a professional civil engineer, I recommend against using packing foam for building purposes in the strongest possible way.  This is a DANGEROUS idea. Foam panels sold for insulating buildings are treated with flame retardants while it is likely that foam peanuts are not.  Untreated Polystyrene foam is dangerously flammable and produces highly toxic fumes. […]

  34. thought I'd share « collecting tokens - May 6, 2007 at 7:07 pm -

    […] small corpus of 50 examples of this quotative, including some from blogs. Such as this excerpt from this one: People who eat pennies are stupid. I mean, it’s obvious what’s going to happen. Your body […]

  35. Worried - May 28, 2007 at 8:24 pm -

    just to let you know, I’m doing a report on Styrofoam and the chemicals in that sutff are nasty, like stuff that causes cancer (benzene) and death and memory loss and convolsions and fertility problems. there is also stuff that is is gasoline, car exhust and cigaretts(cough cough) yeah pretty much I think one will not hurt you but just in case… you might want to not eat Styrofoam peanuts ahm maija

  36. Your Momm - October 6, 2007 at 3:24 pm -

    i just ate some of the cornstarch kind a few inutes ago. wayyy tastier than the kind u want to try. And they are actually edible, meaning they wont give u cancer or poison you. try those.. and you might want to talk to yuor doctor about wanting to eat shards of glass, thats called pica.

  37. Angelo Nardozi - November 1, 2007 at 3:18 pm -

    Actually some are made of a corn base and they are able to be eaten. I know this because I tried and nothing happened to me. A friend of mine showed me the difference between the two and I have personallt ate the corn based ones. yes they do melt in your mouth. They taste nothing like stryofoam, if they did you ate the wrong one. I have absolutely no walls put up on tasting things. Most of my friends know better than to leave me alone with things that smell good, I’ll try them. Thus far I have eaten: too many lotions to count, sevral hundered sticks of chapstick and numerous tins of lip balm, a few different air fresheners, a citrus based adhesive remover, a huge variety of hair products, once even a stick of incense, those “decorative” cinnamon sticks, a few other potpouris, and I’m sure a lot more than that. I don’t suggest others try this, but my stomach can handle it, so I do it. Oh yeah a few live goldfish also.

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