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  • Paul Davidson

The Future of Oatmeal

I recently attended the Quaker Oatmeal World Convention here in Los Angeles. Sort of.

I was not invited. I was not informed of it ahead of time. I just randomly got lost in downtown Los Angeles and found myself stuck in a traffic jam that facilitated parking at a parking lot to get out and grab some lunch. When I got out to grab some lunch I found myself walking with a group of suit-laden executives who were talking the oatmeal.

#1: Apples and cinnamon is over, buddy. Totally over.

#2: No way is apples and cinnamon over. Maple and brown sugar, sure. But it’ll be a cold day in Hell when apples and cinnamon goes away.

#1: There are bigger and better oatmeals being created. Apples and cinnamon represents what once was. A time of innocence that can no longer be sustained by society.

#2: How do you feel about peaches and cream?

#1: Underdog. Totally ahead of its time.

#2: See, that’s what I think too…

Upon following the executives to the front door of the convention hall, I immediately filled out a registration form to get inside. I was, for all intents and purposes the Lead Executive Super-Dooper Marketing Head Managerial Support System Director for Oatmeal, Inc..

Me: Oatmeal, Inc. is the leading distributor of oatmeal in the continental United States.

Convention Guard #1: They say they’ve never heard of Oatmeal, Inc.

Me: Well, that’s strange. I mean, we are the leading distributor of oatmeal.

Convention Guard #2: Well, if they say you’re not legitimate, we can’t do anything about it.

Me: This is an outrage. Haven’t you ever heard of Cinnamon, Raisin and Walnut Oatmeal!?

Convention Guard #1: Mmm, sounds good.

Convention Guard #2: Which has no bearing on the fact that we cannot let you into the convention if the directors of the convention say you are not from a legitimate company. Registration deadlines were weeks ago. You cannot just walk in today without a registration placard.

Me: This is extremely disturbing. Father’s going to kill me and remove me from the will.

Convention Guard #2: Well, if it was that important to you, maybe you would have registered early like everyone else.

The guards at the golden doors to the world of oatmeal would not let me in that day. But I would continue to hang around the outside patio of the convention center where executives whose lives are surrounded by oatmeal brokered oatmeal deals and talked about oatmeal trends. Where people tasted and talked about the future of oatmeal.

The passion in their eyes about those little oat-buddies was both intriguing and disturbing. A throng of people whose nights and days were all about our little grey-hot-wet-sticky paper-encased friends. A business dependent on people’s beliefs that oat is better than bran is better than seven-grain is better than wheat is better than corn is better than rice is better than tofu.

These people are gung-ho oatmeal fools.

But, as far as I’m concerned, if there’s a big convention in one of America’s largest cities all about oatmeal, then there’s either a really great future for oatmeal or everyone’s so desperately trying to sustain a future of a hot cereal whose day has passed.

I say oatmeal lives on. But that’s just me.

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