The Joy of Crunch

A secret just for you.

There are a couple of interesting things happening right around now. First off, turned six months old last week. Six months is just about nothing in the real world. If Crunchable was a little kid, we’d have just about nailed down the whole sitting upright thing but still be throwing food at you every morning.

But six months is a sizeable chunk of time on the Internet. If we were doomed to failure, as evidently every other Web site is, it would’ve happened by now (or so I pray to the gods of editation every night). And so now naturally would be time to thank everybody — my co-editors, all of the writers, and of course there’d be a big hunk of text convincing you that you’re the best people on earth because you read Crunchable.

But everybody already knows all that (come on, you know in your heart that you’re a sexy bitch), and we already had the Academy Awards besides, so instead I’m going to tell you a secret.

It’s been a secret for kind of a while now.

Remember how I mentioned interesting things happening around now up in the first sentence? What makes it interesting, and possibly coincidental, is that next week is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Really it’s a ploy by peanut farmers around the U.S. to try to convince people to buy more peanut butter, or perhaps to celebrate their ancient peanut-growing tradition.

But let’s forget commerce for a moment and talk about peanut butter. It’s one of the most controversial topics of conversation in the United States and nobody realizes it. Just ask one question.

Creamy or crunchy?

I did an informal survey a while ago (which is to say I asked people at lunch because I didn’t have anything cooler to say), and it seemed that most people go for creamy. There were a lot of reasons why, but most of them seemed mostly because the crunchy kind rubbed them the wrong way.

Crunchy’s a word that a lot of people think can be used to describe messy situations; a lot of information that needs to be processed before it means anything; or even something just barely edible.

They’re wrong, and so are the people who think creamy peanut butter is better.

It’s really simple, actually. Creamy peanut butter is alright, of course, but it’s nothing compared to crunchy. Those little bits of peanut make a huge difference. With creamy, you’re eating a processed piece of foodstuff. It’s peanuts ground up with butter and about 15 other weird chemicals to create this entirely other thing: peanut butter. If someone gave you peanut butter before you ate peanuts or butter, you probably couldn’t guess what it was made from.

Creamy peanut butter is also entirely homogeneous. Entirely the same thing all through it.

Crunchy isn’t. It’s anachronistic: half old, half new. It’s altogether weird. Crunchy also carries another connotation to me: something you can sink your teeth into.

That’s why, when I was faced with long boring class evaluation forms that we had to fill out each semester in college, I just wrote, “This class was crunchy.”

It also has to do with the Web. I’m a weirdo when it comes to that. There’s nothing that makes me happier than to see the scroll bar of my browser shrink to a tiny nubbin as all kinds of words fill up the screen. Finding stuff like that — where halfway through you think to yourself, “I hope this never ends because it’s so damn interesting just to be here, inside this story” — is my holy grail.

This is more or less why, when we were first working out what to do with this site, I came up with Crunchable for a code name. I learned the hard way a while back that you should never come up with names for things you make until they’re done. And we never really came up with a new (or dare I say it, a better) name.

This site is called because in an incredibly unbelievable twist of fate, had already been registered. The hosers who’d bought up the name offered to sell it to us for a couple hundred bucks. We had to take a pass on this incredible marketing opportunity.

And so was born.

You’ll have to wait ’til we turn one year old to hear the full story of how your parents met. It’s probably a lot more interesting than this one. At the center of everything worth doing is a kernel of heartbreak.

But smile.

You’ve got a new secret now.

Article © 2002 by Chris Klimas