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Monday, October 26, 2009


Crinkle crinkle little star...

I serve on the executive board of a couple of organizations and whenever we have a board meeting, a fast food meal is included. Usually something like Quiznos, Subway, McDonald's or any number of similar restaurants that serve "to go" meals wrapped in paper. As we eat, the meeting gets under way, and by the time we're all done eating, the president of the group is already delivering important information for us to consider, to take action on or to vote on. And as he's speaking, board members begin crumpling up the paper wrappers that their food came in. I think it's a special, high decibel, ultra-crinkly paper specially imported by fast food joints for the express purpose of drowning out speakers. Crinkle Drowning.

Maybe Crinkle Drowning is a Pavlovian response to quiet moments when someone is delivering a punchline or making a very important point. If there's a food wrapper in front of you and there's no food on it, it must be crumpled. Not later, not soon, but RIGHT NOW.

That inability to resist crunching sheets of food wrapper paper into as tiny a wad as possible is like a dog being told to sit and stay while a cat runs across his path. Or a kid being ordered not to scream in a horror movie. Impossible. Mother nature has a built in mechanism that automatically overrides all orders. People just can't resist crumpling up a food wrapper. They just can't leave it alone, flat on the table, until the speaker is finished. They GOTTA crumple that thing up RIGHT NOW!

Maybe it's a psychological holdover from childhood when you'd let mommy know you were done eating by clanking on the table with your spoon.

"Look at me, mommy. I'm done!" CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK.

"Ooh, good boy, Bobby. You belong to the Clean Plate Club. Now you can have some dessert."

Is this a universal trait or is it just an American obsession? Do executive board members in Mexico crumple their corn husks? Do board members in Asia do a drum roll with their chopsticks? In Switzerland do they toot their Alpenhorns?

"Elementary, my dear Watson. The murderer was..." CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE


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