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Staring Down Disillusionment
by Mark Graham
produced by The Puff

(Editor's Note - This "piece" was originally constructed for a fledgling website called Toast.com that was never launched. The "piece" was never completed, so please don't scoff at its overall lack of quality. Thank you)

At the risk of sounding trite, the 90s are worst ever. Grunge and email. Bagel wars. Nouveau gangster films and DirectTV. Doom and frappamochajavachinos (with lowfat skim milk, of course). Cell phones and cigar chic. All of these things just scream "90s". The 1990s are bland to a fault; at least the 80s had some audacity and boldness. But before you go and grab your gas siphoning gear, salvation is upon us. Redemption, thy name is Dippin' Dots.

Sitting on my couch writing this, I'm envisioning YOUR reaction to the last sentence...you're sitting there goin' "What the fuck!?! Dippin' Dots? First of all, what are they? Secondly, what does any of this have to do with the 90s being worst ever?" As a student of life, I realize that visionaries such as Galileo, Van Gogh and myself can never be truly appreciated during their lifetimes. But to paraphrase the great Leonard Cohen, "I seen the future baby, it is Dippin' Dots."

For those not in-the-know, Dippin' Dots are the self-proclaimed "Future of Ice Cream." As far as I can tell, they're only available at the Mecca of Movies, the Star Southfield Theater. Purchasing and consuming Dippin' Dots is an event that can and will change the way you live your life. For three lousy George Washingtons, you can indulge yourself in sheer dairy bliss (albeit artificial dairy bliss). The experience is breathtaking. It is as wonderous as the duck phone on "Silver Spoons," as inspiring as Rocky's victory over Ivan Drago, and better than recess on your birthday.

Closing in on the vending machine, I envisioned the apes of Kubrick's "2001" approaching the monolith which granted them the power of higher thought, and consequently, evolutionary greatness. This comparison is in no means a mockery or an overstatement; my life has truly changed since this pivotal moment. Advised by my younger brother that I've "gotta try them Dippin' Dots," I found myself on the way out of the theater with a couple of extra bucks burning a hole in my pocket. I somewhat skeptically made my way over to the vending machine and inserted my three dollars. Instead of your standard rotating ring that conveniently drops your Twix onto hard metal (effectively reducing your beloved Twix to cookie crumble), this machine is all about technology. With a Darth Vader-esque whoosh, a trap-door opens to reveal Dippin' Dots in all their marvel and glory, not unlike the pods of the "Alien" series. A robotic arm appears, and with a vacuum rush, the Dippin' Dots defy gravity, shooting skyward to attach themselves to the Robot Arm. Moments later, Robot Arm delivers the goods onto a soft, styrofoam pad and the real fun begins.

With complimentary plastic spoon in-tow, I hesitantly opened the polyeurethane package. The hesitancy I felt, in retrospect, was largely caused by fear of the unknown; the non-descript packaging leaves a lot to the imagination. You have to understand that, at this point, I haven't even seen what the actual physical product looks like. The package shows what look to be miniscule (were talking 5mm diameter max) spheres resting on the face of the moon. Retro packaging, to be sure, but I think the Retro-nod was constructed purposefully. Minds could easily implode if the good folks at Dippin' Dots spent as much time marketing as they did in R&D. But I digress. Peering into the package, hundreds of miniature vanilla spheres glistened in the flourescent lighting, bearing a slight resemblance to the interior contents of a bean bag chair. I plunged my spoon into the package with fervor and began to eat.

The initial moments of Dippin' Dot consumption are admittedly underwhelming. Your taste buds register the flavor as mere ice, lacking any special zest entirely. Fear not, loyal readers, for this sensation lasts no more than 2 seconds before exploding with frenzied intensity. The freezing sensation on your tongue transforms strangely into warmth. The ice taste magically morphs into the taste of ice cream. And this is not your run of the mill generic ice cream taste, either. It is richer and creamier than even Haagen-Daaz can boast. I hadn't felt this much excitement with a food product since my discovery of Candy Coated Tart 'N' Tinies. As good as the first bite was, the jubilant feeling lasted throughout every bite. The life expectancy of Dippin' Dots (pre-meltage) is, at most, 5 minutes, so you have your work cut out for you. But like Pringles (or crack, for that matter), once you pop, you just can't stop. You're hooked, and your life is forever altered.

Any writer knows that the difficulty of formulating the beginning of a story can only be topped by the difficulty of devising a proper ending to his or her story. I candidly admit to you that I'm at a loss for words. I was convinced that living in the 90s was a bland and mostly meaningless existence. The feelings of wonder, excitement and anticipation of the future I experienced growing up in the 80s was being crowded out by the disillusionment and ennui that only post-college life can offer. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" had turned into "Black Hole Sun." As Moby once said, "Everything is wrong today." I was beginning to agree with Mr. Moby, then I saw the light. Dippin' Dots have shown me that all technology does not contribute to the destruction of interpersonal communication. Who would've ever thought that something produced at 320dF below zero could bring so much happiness to so many people? If there is any justice in the world, Dippin' Dots vending machines will soon replace the local McDonald's as the place for people to meet and greet, to talk and to love. And you know what? After Dippin' Dots, I'm beginning to think anything is possible.


Any writer worth his salt does investigative research before printing an article, only most do it before writing the article. In the quest to make my article seem poorly thought out (as well as obviously poorly written), I discovered Dippin' Dots has a website. For more information, check out Dippindots.com. Swear To God.