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Does it just seem too weird to be tasty?
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Have you ever awakened and wondered if you had been dreaming or if what you had heard or experienced was actually something taking place?

I was in the recliner catching a few winks. Apparently, I was in that area of sleep where you are almost awake but you’re not quite there yet. I thought I was dreaming about a vending machine that dispensed mashed potatoes and gravy. So before I got the gravy all over my shirt, I forced myself to wake up.

But it wasn’t a dream at all. Someone on the radio was actually talking about this device. I went to the Internet and did some research, and sure enough this machine may soon be appearing in convenience stores around the nation.

This whole thing has caught me off guard. I didn’t know that mashed potatoes were in that much of a demand. I know they are good. It’s just that I never thought of them needing to be so easily at hand. It was experimented with in Singapore, and the stories I read about it said it was a big hit there.

Well, I’m not going to be buying mashed potatoes out of a vending machine just because the crowds in Singapore like it. What do those people know about mashed potatoes anyway?

I read a couple of reviews from stateside and those people said the potatoes were a bit too runny.

But hey, this may be a very successful marketing move on someone’s part. In marketing, you either take advantage of an existing market, or you create market. I’m guessing here these people are trying to create market, insisting that this is something we want and need.

After all, whoever knew you could sell worn-out jeans? And would you have ever thought we would be buying bottled water? And let’s face it, probably few of us knew we needed bigger drinking holes in soda and beer cans.

Now when I say this innovation may take off like Lindbergh, I’m not about to run out to the shop in parallel mode and invent a machine that dispenses boiled okra and expect to get rich off it.

But I admit — we need new inventions. How would we have ever survived if someone had not invented those electronic-eye toilet flushers? At first I joked about them, but I have been in restrooms where it appeared some people had never been taught to flush.

Now to me, being able to put a couple of bucks in a machine and get mashed potatoes and gravy is somewhat of a tease. I don’t think I’ve eaten just mashed potatoes and gravy. The process generally included pot roast or fried chicken and maybe some butter beans and peas. Just having mashed potatoes would be like owning a houseboat in Nebraska.

But some people have strange tastes and weird eating habits. On a recent trip to Florida, my wife and I stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch. There was this poster on the wall and my wife asked me if it was meant as a joke. It showed a sundae with a piece of fried bacon sticking out of it. The poster promoted a “new eating delight.”

No siree, it wasn’t a joke. You could order yourself a sundae/fried bacon combo. To me that couldn’t be more unfitting than putting whipped cream on a slice of country ham. What kind of taste buds would relish the thought of a cool vanilla treat with a slice of fried hog sticking out of it?

Then there were these congressmen representing both the Democratic and Republican parties sitting in rocking chairs on a big front porch. One of them said, “Gentlemen, we have several big problems facing our nation. Let’s all just sit back here, put aside our differences, and see if we can act like real statesmen and come up with some solutions.”

Guess what. I woke up and it was a dream.

Walden is the editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer.

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