Monday, June 18, 2012

Bar Hopping: PayDay vs. Whatchamacallit

One of the quirkiest books in my library was purchased last year at Dollar Tree for a fee too obvious to reveal.  The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything (edited by Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir) uses familiar draw sheets from the popular NCAA tourney for purposes other than collegiate hoops.  Sure, an obligatory nod is given to the best March Madness Moments with the initial pairings (In the final "game," Christian Laettner's last-second dagger against Kentucky in 1992 triumphs over Texas Western's historic all-black squad defeating a different group of UK Wildcats in 1966), but other topics are put through the same round-by-round ringer.  American beers (Abita Turbodog makes it to Monday night), baseball myths ("Chemistry creates winning teams" hoists the championship banner), indie rock albums (How many overtimes to decide the Pixies' Surfer Rosa versus Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation?), sidekicks (Eventual finalist Jimmy Olsen dribbles past Scottie Pippen in the opening frame) and video games (Tetris incessantly blocks The Legend Of Zelda's arrows en route to a title) contain just enough shock and awe to warrant several hours' worth of debate amongst fellow prognosticators. 

The subject that turned me into an armchair referee?  Candy bars.  Swear to Gobstoppers, I'd always wanted to construct a list pitting favorite treats against one another in bracket form.  Of course, many of my choices parrot those found in TEB:  Mr. Goodbar, Butterfinger, Skor, Snickers and Mars.  Whatchamacallit's omission from the 32-team dance, however, is an injustice greater than last Saturday's controversial Bradley-over-Pacquiao decision.  Seriously, Milk Duds and Rasinets make it into the field at the expense of an all-time great?  What a Goober!  Another treasured bar I'd sneak into a theater is the chocolate-deprived PayDay.  The peanut 'n' caramel concoction tastes elimination during its Thursday tilt with Twix in TEB's mouth.  Rather than penning a fresh draw on the provided blank sheet, I'm going to expedite my tournament by skipping directly to the finals.  For years and years, PayDay and Whatchamacallit have traded places on the top line.  Tonight, only one will cut down the nets and join Arby's Sauce in The Rung's Hall of Champions.  In lieu of Francis Scott Key's hit single, we're gonna crank up The Strangeloves' "I Want Candy" at full volume.  Both combatants have stepped out of their wrappers.  It's crunch time!

Can a candy bar sans chocolate stand alongside the rim rockers from the Hershey's factory?  In 2007, the PayDay Chocolatey Avalanche joined its beloved grandfather in the snack-stocked racks.  I don't ever recall seeing the Avalanche (or other variants like the PAYDAY PRO energy bar and the Honey-Roasted limited edition) in grocery and convenience stores, so I'm not able to vouch for its enjoyability.  Forget about such reservations with the O.G. PD, though.  If you're loopy for legumes like myself, every bite of a PayDay (King Size, of course) will turn your taste buds into salty escapees from shelled asylums.  With a tightly wound center of caramel covered by plentiful peanuts, a living representation of this beautiful bar would make the Mr. Peanut statue in Downtown Suffolk blush in admiration.  Thank Goodbar I don't suffer from nut allergies, 'cause I'd totally risk asphyxiation by clocking out for the final time via the "poisonous" PayDay.  Beats sucking down Fiero fumes in a locked garage, huh?  Back among the living, the miniature versions are perfect for Halloween bags and homemade Dairy Queen Blizzard experiments.  If Edy's or Blue Bunny were to offer PayDay ice cream in merchants' freezers, I'd gladly flash my old-fashioned scooper and dip like a stupid stick.  For a period in the 1980s, PayDays were packed with individually wrapped nickels.  Why the bribery?  Even Charlie Brown and Lucy would love the "brittle for babes" without an endorsement advance.  After all, they are Peanuts.

The wonder that is Whatchamacallit was first brought to my attention in the semi-classic advertisement featuring two Little Leaguers circa 1980.  ("What do you call it?")  Shortly after seeing the spot, I made tracks in the direction of the 7-Eleven on Portsmouth Blvd.  Taking a siesta from the usual Big Wheel ice cream sandwich, I placed a handful of coins on the counter and secured the latest Hershey's confection.  Strolling back to the wasp-infested Cherokee Park apartment building, I couldn't resist a bite of the chocolate-covered block.  Finally reaching my doorstep, I almost double-backed to the 7-Eleven for another Whatchamacallit fix.  With a delicious blend of peanut crisps, caramel and milk chocolate coating, I desperately wanted to spoil my dinner in the best way.  Maybe I could've given a bit to the intimidating insects as a peace offering.  Thirty-two years later, Whatchamacallit remains on the A-list for sugar rushes.  Recently, I began a tradition of gifting a fellow candy lover with King Size bars at rock shows and such.  Thanks to "Lil' Beth," I was able to swap my favorite Hershey's product for another gem from adolescence -- Chunky.  If I win Powerball or come into an inheritance, I'll point the GPS system at Brooklyn and meet three former Norfolk acquaintances at Chip Shop Pub.  While engaging in a roundtable discussion on all things rock 'n' roll, Unger, Larry, Idle and I would feast on crunchy fish and other accoutrements.  Post-meal, four Whatchamacallits would be placed in the deep fryer and presented at our table in altered states.  What would I call it?  How about an idea that needs to happen?

Judging by the looks of the PayDay and Whatchamacallit die-cast vehicles (Cool, huh?), I'd say the El Camino is packing more peanut power under the hood.  Since drag races aren't the worst ways to settle debates, PayDay edges out the pickup at the line and gets Whatchamacallit's pink slip.    


  1. TurboDog would make it to my Elite 8 at least. Surfer Rosa v. Daydream Nation? Too close to call!

  2. In my draw, Daydream would prevail in an OT squeaker.

  3. Awesome Gunther! Maybe that's what you can call the deep fried whatchamacallits. Awesome. And thanks for the the nod to my chunky fixation. We are over due for candy swapping!

  4. Whatchamacallit? VICTORY!

    as for Surfer Rosa vs. Daydream Nation.... See you in the BAG with that one.

    Gunny, anothet stellar piece.

  5. Beth, have you ever been to Chip Shop? Tidewater really needs a kick-ass fish 'n' chips place. The plate from the Scottish restaurant featured in yesterday's paper looked good, but I want something less proper. See you at the next candy swap!