Normally I talk about how awesome it is to try something new, but today, I’m here with a cautionary tale about trying something old. This is the tale of the Jumanji Twizzlers.

A quick refresher on what Jumanji is:

The rhyming cards, each read when flipped,

Suggest that Seuss wrote half the script.

A villainous board game (and Bonnie Hunt/Robin Williams “star vehicle”**), it waits for some unsuspecting person to find it, play it, and release the evil jungle magic within.

However, since I’m not as prone to opening mysterious board games that wash up on the beach***, the evil jungle magic had to bend itself to my weak spot:


Twizzlers. One of the huge resealable two-pound pouches that locks freshness in. Like we used to eat at Camp Anawanna.

Unfortunately, these Twizzlers DON’T make mouths happy.

Only this particular bag didn’t just lock in freshness. Let’s turn back the clock to November 2007, when I came down with an annoyingly persistent flu-like virus that completely floored me. My sister bought me a bag of resealable Twizzlers to cheer me up. No, not healthy for me, but hey, I was sick, and I wanted to feel better in some quantifiable way.

So I had some, sealed the bag, went back to cowering under the covers and, eventually, got better.

February 2008 came around, and, as I was straightening my landfill of a room****, I found –buried under clothes, DVDs, PSP games and comic books–

The Jumanji Twizzlers.

Oh, at the time, I didn’t think of them that way, but the effect was immediate: I ate a few, and a couple days later, I was going through boxes of tissue like… well, like Kleenex. And I was not in the mood for Twizzlers any more, so they got kneaded back into the bottom of the counter bread machine that was my room.

And then come July 2008, I was again sifting through piles of stuff I had recently tossed around (to be able to sleep on my bed again)*****, and there, innocent and sweet, sat…

THE JUMANJI TWIZZLERS. (I should have a stinger for that, shouldn’t I? Hold on…)



I carried them downstairs, having only an hour before discovered I had nothing but frozen meals and Pop-Tarts as immediate dining options******. I sat down in front of CSI: Miami Season 1, and I had several strawberry-flavored twists. Within hours, my head was pounding, my nose was gushing, and my throat constantly felt like I’d gargled with salt. Not salt water; salt.

So, of course, I threw the bag away as soon as I realized where the evil jungle magic had come from.

And that brings us to this week. I have been feeling awful all week: nose running, throat sore, voice gone, the kind of coughing fits that scare small children (and/or coworkers)… I actually went home early today at my boss’ prompting, stopped by the grocery store for lunch*******, and sat in my kitchen eating it, wondering what to have for dessert. That’s when I noticed a bag of resealed Starburst Jellybeans sitting there from a few months back that I’d found earlier this week and that I’d had a couple handfu… oh god. No. Not Again…!

Get thee behind me, foul spawn of Sweeten!********

Are the jellybeans really to blame? Who can say? All I know is the sound of jungle drums is pounding in my ears, I’m sweating profusely, and I have learned my lesson for SURE this time:

Always eat the whole bag of candy in one sitting.

Yes, I threw the bag away. Although, looking back, I now realize: I didn’t burn it; that was a mistake. Now it’s sitting in a trash bag somewhere, on its way to a dump, lurking, waiting, chock full of preservatives and malevolent patience…

The Jumanjellybeans are pristine inside.

And someday, someone will find them… and eat them… and the horror will live again.*********

** You remember, America’s sweethearts.
*** …as I used to be
**** It’s much better now…although, to be fair, I now have 3x the floor space of my old apartment
***** Seriously, my old apartment was messy.
****** Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
******* A Hungry-Man fried chicken meal. I said Plus ça change, didn’t I?
******** Definition of ‘Irony’: In order to make that crucifix, I had to eat 2 popsicles that have been sitting in the freezer since April.
********* Although, to be fair, they were probably asking for it, eating jellybeans they found at the dump.