The other day, for the first time ever, I encountered a wrong-way Oreo. For those of you who don’t know, that’s an Oreo cookie that has one of its two dark chocolate wafers somehow turned around, so that its engraved outer side ends up on the inside, pressing inward to form a tell-tale impression, in perfect mirror-reverse, upon the snowy white cream filling.
I hadn’t been expecting it. In fact, I hadn’t even been aware that such a thing exists. Perhaps there are people who go around and speak of wrong-way Oreos, swapping tales of this arcane mystery in the same hushed and knowing tones they use when speaking of Bigfoot sightings or the alligators that dwell in the sewers of New York. Not that I have ever been in such a conversational group. Until now.
Today I asked various people if they had ever seen a wrong-way Oreo. My friend Charles said he saw one once, a few years back. Several other people reported having seen one as well. Charles has the theory that some part of the manufacturing process involves the chocolate wafer dropping downward, and that every once in great while a wafer lands the wrong way. He may very well be right.
But as I contemplated my oddball Oreo, I couldn’t help thinking there might be some deeper meaning here. Was this perhaps some sort of sign or omen? And if so, why was I chosen to get this cookie on this particular day? Would it still have counted if I had just eaten the cookie without ever looking at it? Or would fate then have conspired to place another wrong-way Oreo in my path?
And if fate were to deliver more wrong-way Oreos to me, what would happen if I were so oblivious that I just kept eating the darned things without ever noticing? Would fate then need to keep feeding me cookie after cookie, hoping against hope that one day I would become less oblivious? Would I one day find myself mysteriously eating entire boxes of Oreos, consuming vast quantities of the things until I became as round as – well – as an Oreo cookie?
These are metaphysical questions, far out of my league I am afraid. My feeble brain can contemplate only one wrong-way Oreo at a time. But even one cookie can have significance. Am I, perhaps, one of the few lucky humans, chosen by alien invaders, set apart by this secret sign from billions of less fortunate earthlings? I can envision a day dawning, after our planet’s ignominious defeat at the hands of the Lepusian space invasion force, perhaps sometime after the dust has settled, when the broken slag heaps of what had once been great earth cities lie smoking in ruins, and the once mighty suburbs of New Jersey have been reduced to desolate wastelands by beams of phase disruptor particles from the Lepusian imperial mothership. The few dazed remnants of a defeated human race slowly emerge, stunned, from out their hiding places, only to be picked off by precision laser fire from the dreaded roving lepudroids. On that day I shall stand triumphant, proud and free, ready to take my rightful place as a citizen of the galactic empire, holding my wrong-way Oreo cookie high for all to see, my ticket to a new world.
On the other hand, there is a chance that might not happen.
Weighing the promise of one day living a life of fabulous adventure roaming the galaxy far and wide in search of new civilizations, against the prospect of eating an Oreo cookie now, my internal struggle was brief.
Reader, I ate it.