I wrote this back in college circa 1988 during my younger and dumber days. Well, younger anyway. I wouldn’t publish these now except that my friend Dave thinks they’re all right. I think Dave might have been “younger” then, too. Regardless, Cornflakes is about the steady decline of the country from the perspective of someone who remembers how it used to be. Clearly, that’s not me, but lack of experience has never stopped me before, and it sure didn’t here either.

Once upon a time America was pure. Nuclear weapons hadn’t been invented, people knew right from wrong, and no one had any big problems with the way things were going. Or if they did, at least they didn’t talk about them. Oh, what has happened to the land I knew?

Can you remember back to the time when Coke was it, and no one had any clue what the hell a Pepsi Generation was? I can. Fondly. The year was 1960-something and although the Russians were preparing to put missiles in Cuba, we were none to worried about it. The good ol’ US of A knew how to handle those Commies. Nowadays we’re a-makin’ treaties with’em. Oh, what has happened to the land I knew?

I can still picture the days before that Elvis shook his pelvis. Look what that malcontent started! Now everyone dances like that. And they shake more than just their pelvises, too. I went with my grandson to see Dirty Dancing and damn near lost my bladder control. Why can’t we go back to the good ol’ days when square dancing was as close as people would get in public? Gosh I miss those times.

Don’t misunderstand me now. I like this era too. High technology, fer example, has been good fer America. I cherish my ability to cut through an empty beer can with a Ginsu knife. But I’m starting to think we’ve had too much of a good thing. My other grandson went and bought me a V-C-R, some expensive toy that’s supposed to let you watch T-V shows after they happen. Is that natural? I’m not so sure. But it almost doesn’t matter, because the dang thing can’t even keep time. Heck, if I listened to it, I’d always be eating lunch, ’cause it keeps flashing “12:00” over and over. Nevermind that all I can record is “News at Noon.”

Now you know this wouldn’t have happened in old America, home of the free and land of the brave. What hath God wrought, that’s what I want to know. Now we’ve got supersonic jets, Coke machines that’ll talk to you, newfangled video games, men in outer space, and damned if we still can’t cure the common cold. And if that wasn’t bad enough, now we’ve got this thing called “AIDS.” They say if you just act normal you can’t get it. But old Millie down by the river says that she has a cousin who knows someone who got it from a rooster. Now if that ain’t a shame and obscene at the same time, I don’t know what is.

People have changed too, you know. I went down to Sam’s Drug Store the other day, and darned if these young whippersnappers weren’t trying to hold the place up. Thing was they didn’t even want Sam’s money. They wanted his drugs.

Now if that ain’t stupid. How many new cars do you think they’ll be able to buy with 6,000 tablets of Extra Strength Bayer? Damn few I should say. Silly young whippersnappers. Sam’s just lucky I was there to teach those young’uns a lesson with my cane. And I’ll have you know that Sam even gave me a free butterscotch candy as a reward.

I guess it’s just that I don’t understand what’s happened to America, that’s all. It used to be so easy, and now it’s confusing. I can’t even keep track of what Congress is doing with my Social Security. At least the damn politicians stayed the same. But the rest of the country has gone to hell in a hand basket.

You see, someday I’d like to again be able to wake up in the early morning and greet the sun. Then, as my parents and grandparents before me, I’d like to pour me a bowl of cereal from a box with some anonymous rooster on the front, sit back knowing that everything is going to be a-okay, and eat my Cornflakes.

Ty Davison is a freelance writer who pretends to be a senior citizen only when it allows him to get 10 percent off in restaurants and movie theaters. He quite thankfully has no kids, has never been a member of the Polar Bears, and, like Dan Quayle, has not yet acquired the skills or the brains to be vice president. Let us pray for George’s good health. Just coincidentally, or maybe not, this story is copyright 1988 by Ty Davison. Please don’t hold it against him, though, because he’s already in trouble with the law. If, perchance you wish to make a donation to the starving artist how wrote this story for your enjoyment, send cash, check or money order. If you do not wish to make a donation at this time, please call 9-1-1, ask for “Jane, the one with the full figure,” and make heavy breathing noises for approximately three minutes. Help will be with you shortly.