The Otis Spunkmeyer Conspiracy

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Anyone that has school-aged children knows that there is no greater risk to their immediate survival than the biohazard known as peanut dust. Judging by the degree of vigilance exercised by school officials, apparently 99 out of every 100 children these days have a “severe” peanut allergy, where even exposure to a molecule of peanut dust will cause death that is somehow both immediate and excruciating. (The other 1% possesses only a “heightened” peanut allergy.)

That’s right, peanuts don’t even need to be ingested to be highly lethal. Once the dust from a solitary shell is air-borne, it reaches a “weaponized” state and kills indiscriminately and in vast numbers.

Thankfully, at my kids’ school, they take every ridiculous precaution necessary to safeguard against peanuts entering the premises. For instance, kids are not allowed to bring in homemade treats on their birthdays, as it risks the cross contamination of a stray peanut molecule into a batch of cupcakes. At lunchtime, if a child brings a peanut butter sandwich to school, they are immediately quarantined at a specially designated table in the lunchroom. When finished with lunch, these children must sanitize their hands and rinse away any residue of the biological agent known as peanut dust before heading to the playground. All of this is 100% true.

At this point, some of you may be thinking that I am insensitive to those with “Peanut Lung” or other legume-specific genetic defects. (“Hasn’t the X-Men quintilogy taught us anything about acceptance!?!”)

On the contrary, my outrage stems from the peanut-related hypocrisy of school officials. Without a hint of irony, administrators will pause their expungement of George Washington Carver from the history books and burning the collective works of Charles M. Schulz only long enough to remind parents of the annual school fundraiser: Selling giant tubs of Otis Spunkmeyer peanut butter cookie dough throughout the community.

To help raise the funds for this elaborate peanut defense system and other school priorities, each child must sell five giant buckets of cookie dough. Since there is money at stake, the same children that cannot be exposed to a single peanut molecule at school are now schlepping buckets of this concentrated biological agent all over the neighborhood. Doing the rough math, if one dust molecule can incapacitate an elementary school, a whole bucket of dough could wipe out the entire human race several times over.

Every fall, I watch these kids dutifully show up to school with a pallet jack, load up their dough into their parent’s SUV, and hustle refined bioweapons all over town. And the administration is happy so long as the kids return to school the next day with fistfuls of cash, and not, say, a fresh homemade batch of Otis Spunkmeyer peanut butter cookies for their birthday celebration.

(As an aside, I have this fight twice a year with my wife: One of the kids’ birthday rolls around, and she brainwashedly buys licorice or Oreos or some other “safe” peanut-free treat for the class. I immediately start yelling that she should rip open one of the many, many Otis Spunkmeyer (“If that is his real name?!”) peanut butter cookie dough buckets clogging our freezer and make a huge batch for the class. I implore her to just walk in, and dare them to say these cookies are not permitted on school grounds. I would seriously love to take the day off work to confront the administration with this flawless exposition of their hypocrisy. Anyway, twice a year, I rant on this topic for 20 minutes or so, and concoct the perfect strategy to extract my comeuppance. My wife tunes me out completely, and shows up at the school the next day with Oreos. Standard.)

Of course, it could be worse. Peanuts aren’t the only thing prohibited at the school. And as evidenced above, if it meant a lucrative fundraising opportunity, school officials would happily send children door to door selling buckets of guns, pornography, alcohol, tobacco and other contraband.


Also published on Medium.

7 thoughts on “The Otis Spunkmeyer Conspiracy”

  1. We have the same thing here. I always just refuse to buy into the hypocrisy and am the only parent that refuses to purchase said cookie dough. I don’t even care if everyone that sells some dough gets to have pizza. It’s crap pizza anyway.

  2. Raw cookie dough? Really? That is just gross. It sounds like a bad prequel to the Girl Scout’s money-making empire. Maybe the Girl Scouts just cook Otis Spunkmeyer’s dough and rake in more money?

    And Otis Spunkmeyer? Let’s put the Zillionaire’s to work and come up with five suggestions of a better name for a cookie confectioner. I propose “Garry the Cookie Guy” and he is a spitting image of Larry the Cable Guy except he wears an apron and his catch phrase is “Git-Ur-Dough.”

  3. I like how they trick the kids into thinking they can win an XBox. Every year one of the kids decides this is his/her year and they will be top seller at 300+ items to get the xbox, the cash, a remote control car, etc. And, each year they end up with a pencil, a bookmark, and a big thank you note from the school! No XBox. And, I figured out that it would be cheaper to just buy them an xbox than to buy all the cookie dough so they can “win” an xbox.

  4. Being a parent of a child with a severe food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts, I am frustrated with this. I understand the frustration of school fundraising and totally agree that it can get out of hand. I also see you’re point, and agree with you about forbidding peanuts into the school and then turning around and selling cookie dough with nuts. That is crazy. However, don’t pretend it isn’t about the peanut ban when you made the comment, “Thankfully, at my kids’ school, they take every ridiculous precaution necessary to safeguard against peanuts entering the premises.” I am thankful for these exact safeguards you mentioned that my child’s school takes to ensure my his safety. I understand that precautions for severe food allergies may seem ridiculous to you, by your own admission, to a parent who has almost lost their child because their son barley touched peanut butter to his lips and nearly died, they are life saving. So I am thankful for your wife having the courtesy and respect for these children with severe food allergies and for the oreos. Have a great day.

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