Throughout the years many multi-national corporations have been brought to their knee’s for producing products that have proven to be harmful to their long adoring consumers. The list is long and filled with infamous names like R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, Smith and Weston, and Zastava Koral (The Auto Company that gave the world the Yugo). Well today a new name can be added to this pantheon of amoral corporations who abused the public trust…Orville Redenbacher.
As a disclaimer I would like to offer that I myself, dear reader, am and have always been an unwavering admirer of microwave popcorn. And after extensive personal reading and research I believe that I may be a sufferer from the aliment described below.
It has been widely held that the sweet buttery flavoring chemical that has been used by the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Conglomerate in the production of their microwave popcorn lines has been linked to a lung aliment in popcorn workers known as Bronchiolitis Obliterans aka “Popcorn Lung.” The common belief in the scientific community has always been that the development of this disease is entirely limited to the likes of popcorn workers who are exposed to high levels of the chemical Diacetyl. A proud and noble people, popcorn workers have chosen a life of meticulous labor in the cavernous popcorn mines located largely in and around the North American Popcorn Belt which stretches like a subterranean labyrinth under most of Iowa and Nebraska. Much like their counterparts in the Coal Mining Industry who toil away for years in the coal mines only to find their retirement years mired by medical bills and hospital visits due to there contraction of the Black Lung; these popcorn workers have been devastated by the breathless buttery condition that is "Popcorn Lung.”
But now dear readers it is not only the long suffering popcorn workers who are susceptible to this destructive lung ailment; it is the American consumer as well. Today brings with it an announcement from scientists at a leading lung research hospital that warns federal regulators, long in the deep pockets of the Big Butter Lobby, that the American consumer is in grave danger from the sweet buttery fumes that are emanating from their microwaves perhaps at this very moment. These sweet buttery fumes, the scientists say, are laced with the highly destructive chemical Diacetyl which gives microwavable popcorn its intoxicating buttery flavoring. The scientist’s aim is quite simply to force the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Syndicate’s hand in removing this highly unstable chemical from their long enjoyed products and removing the man-made scourge it brings.
After the wave of public outrage that is sure to follow this news, the federal regulators’ path is all but preordained; they will surely begin their long march towards banning the sweet buttery additive. First they will label it with taglines that announce its possible harmful side affects for children, women who are or may become pregnant and men with pre-existing heart conditions. Then they will strip it from the shelves of supermarkets deeming the product dangerous to the American way of life and socially unacceptable. Finally when the regulators have almost reached their goal, the sweet buttery confection will be all but illegal; found only in a seedy underground world of microwave clubs where social pariahs meet to enjoy the sweet buttery fumes of their now distant youth, Wave Parties they may call them.
The future is a dark one for us all, one that no doubt has countless Diacetyl junkies forced to roam the streets of a not so distant American landscape in a zombie like trance seeking their butter additive fix. In this dangerous future the user will know his addiction only by its various street names: Yellow Fever, Corn Crank, Tummy Dust, Butter Glass, Margareen, Oil Smack, Grease, Kettle Crack.