Sunday, January 17, 2010

An open letter to the makers of Fiber One bars

Dear Fiber One bars,

First of all, I need to apologize. I would normally address this letter to the company that manufactures you. However, since experiencing The Force That Is You, I'm afraid to handle the box long enough to see who makes you. So I'll just have to send this to you directly.

You may be a little uneasy, since when I post open letters like this one, I tend to share some constructive criticism, as I did in my letter to Pepperidge Farm concerning their Double Chocolate Milano cookies. Or, I simply demand restitution for what I deem criminal injustice, as I did in my letter to the universe concerning the Taco Cabana taco so-called "salad." But this time, I assure you, I have a different agenda for writing. This time, I'd like to recognize a job well done. Perhaps done TOO well, one might argue. FROM THE BATHROOM.

You see, pregnancy has a not-uncommon effect on me: Some bodily processes tend to ... slow down. Way down. To the point of discomfort. In the past, I've tried upping my water consumption, adding more vegetable- and fruit-based fiber to my diet, and even the use of daily stool softeners. Any effect was short-lived, though. For a while, I despaired of ever finding relief from my new, pregnant, and backed-up state of being. Then I tried a Fiber One bar.

To say that the effect was powerful is an understatement. I was at the grocery store with my then-22-month-old son the day after consuming my first Fiber One bar when I was aware of what the "Seinfeld" writers have referred to as a major "intestinal requirement." Standing in the aisle contemplating (appropriately) my toilet paper choices, I broke out in a cold sweat. I looked at my son and realized that he was going to slow down my progress to the ladies' room considerably, and for a split second I tried to convince myself that my issue wasn't as urgent as I had originally thought it to be. Then my guts reached forward, grabbed my belly button and tried to lasso my appendix with it. That's when I ran for it.

Thank God for family restrooms at grocery stores. No one else had to be a party to the scene that resulted, except for boy. I'm fairly sure he's already blocked it from his memory. I wish I could do the same. It wasn't pretty.

I left that family restroom a wiser woman. Note to self, I thought. Don't plan to be away from home the day after eating a Fiber One bar. The effect you achieved, you see, could be best described by the phrase "a brick through Jello."

I approach you with much more caution and respect, now, Fiber One bars. I've learned that I will be most comfortable if I consume you as a bedtime snack, and allow you to work your digestive machinations while I sleep. I then plan to be at home through my son's nap the next day, and by then, you have usually finished your dramatic work, and I can sally forth with the reasonable expectation that no public restroom will cringe to see me approaching, white-faced and desperate. I've learned my lesson.

And so I salute you, Fiber One bars. You do what your name implies -- you give One a dose of Fiber. Or perhaps, you suggest that you give someone all the Fiber they will ever need, in One bar. Either way, nice work. I don't know how you achieve it -- your ingredient list includes "chicory root extract," but I'm more inclined to believe that it's angry microscopic gnomes with hammers, chisels and steel-toed boots -- but you know what you're doing.

Good job.

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