Think Outside The Box

This post is dedicated to all human beings who have less common sense than I. So far, I’ve found one.

Dear Readers,

Human being #1, who for purposes of insufficient anonymity will simply be referred to as Hana, decided one fine evening to bake up some cupcakes. So she headed to the grocery store and made her way to the baking aisle. There she feasted her eyes on a multitude of premade mixes, cake mixes of the chocolate, vanilla, and confetti varieties, brownie mixes, lemon bar mixes, and cheesecake mixes. The aisle was her oyster, and as she looked up, then down, and finally all around, she found herself truly perplexed by a single question:

“Where are the cupcake mixes?”

But not one to be easily deterred by a little foible like poor product placement, Hana went on a jaunt through the store, perusing the produce aisle (as her friend Troi has been arguing all these years that cupcakes are basically a fruit, being small and sweet and easy to eat without need for utensils), the candy aisle (as her friend Troi has been sneaking cupcakes into movies for years), the cereal aisle (as her friend Troi eats cupcakes for breakfast), the health food aisle (as her friend Troi says that when you frost a cupcake with green icing, it becomes a superfood, like kale), and the bread aisle (because her friend Troi makes sandwiches by putting deli slices between two cupcakes). Yet to her dismay Hana found the entire store to be bereft of cupcake mix.

So as the story always goes, Hana returned to the baking aisle, convinced that amongst the cake mixes she would discover the cupcake mixes. After all, what are cupcakes but mini-cakes, made from the exact same batter that would make a whole cake; a batter, in fact, that is made from the exact same pre-made mix….. and as Hana contemplated this an epiphany came to her.

I should let the store manager know that they are all out of cupcake mixes!

Thankfully, the manager was out that day, baking cupcakes, and so it was a trusted friend –- not Troi –- that gently broke the news to Hana that the origin of cupcakes was cake mix, and that cupcakes were not given their own mix.

Hana digested this information just a bit slower than the average person digests a cupcake. Eventually she accepted it, and bought a cake mix. And in the aftermath of this cupcake calamity, Hana, brimming with indignance over poor packaging and double-crossing designs, phoned a friend, this time Troi, and reported that she had an idea for Troi’s next blog post.

“Pictures on packages!” she exclaimed. “That should be your next post. About how there should be a picture on the front of the cake mix box that displays not only a cake, but also cupcakes, so that people recognize the diverse uses of the premade mix! What if people are visiting from another country, and they want to make cupcakes, and they don’t know how to find it!”

Troi considered the story of the cupcake underdog struggling to make a name for himself in the grocery store when he’s been robbed of his own identity separate from his bigger, tougher cousin the cake, and envisioned the hypothetical tourist from Canada and his hypothetical Canadian family on their first trip into an American Safeway, thinking to themselves, “This trip to America would be complete if only we could make some cupcakes, but we just can’t find the mix!” and the resulting discord as the family became divided on an acceptable alternate dessert item, eventually ending in divorce and sad little Canadian children being bussed back and forth on weekends and holidays between their mother who lived in the Undersea Gardens and their father who lived at the Wax Museum (because those are the only two places Troi has been to in Canada, and she lacks imagination), and she was definitely moved toward this compelling concept.

But since the cupcake isn’t sentient and common sense crosses cultures, in the end Troi was not sufficiently moved to miss the chance to take a decidedly different take on the story, one that finally featured, but in no way mocked, the travails of a person other than Troi.

So, Readers, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you can’t find what you need, remember to think outside the box, and there the solution will be. Unless you’re Troi. She’s still looking.

–Troi out

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