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Write Now: Different Stickers, Same Great Laughs

The products that were parodied included but were not limited to toys, soap, food, clothing, drink mixes, shaving cream, potato chips, candy, and even gum.

I loved them as a kid.

And still I love them today.

I guess as a 10-year-old boy, the allure may have been the wide, flat, stick of gum that was inside. Also, the allure may have been the artwork that closely resembled the product that was parodied. What attracted me the most were the words.

I laughed hard when I opened a single of Wacky Packages. I laughed even harder when I knew some background of a product. The words are where I made my connection. Being a fourth-grader, I was becoming aware of how certain words carried different weight than other words. And so every time I would get a package of Wacky Packages, I would research the products unknown to me. And sometimes, that was a lot for a fourth-grader to take on.

In the fourth grade, at the former Persell Elementary School, is where my love of words began, and I can thank in part Wacky Packages. Probably noone would admit it back then, but those silly stickers helped my reading comprehension, spelling, and pronunciation.

In order to understand the silly stickers, you had to be able to read, and if I couldn’t read some of the words, I would ask someone like a teacher or friend, to help me with the pronunciation. I would then go to the dictionary and find the definition.

I know what you’re thinking.

A fourth-grader who actually used the dictionary. It may have seemed uncommon or out of place, but I assure you, I used the dictionary back then and continue to use it today. It’s a great tool.

When I went grocery shopping with my parents, I would often look for some of the products. You guessed it. I brought some of my stickers with me to see if I could find the real product on the shelves of the grocery store. Most of the time I could find the products and I studied the differences. Some of the products were hard to find because they were not sold in this region of the United State. The products that were parodied included but were not limited to toys, soap, food, clothing, drink mixes, shaving cream, potato chips, candy, and even gum.

The Wacky Packages fell out of favor and production was stopped, so they were hard to find in my teen years.

I had a good collection, but being a 10-year-old, I didn’t keep a hold of my stickers. But then Topps, the company which first started making the stickers back in the 1960s, brought them back in the 2000s.

I purchased a set from 2014, and I had an awesome time seeing the updated products. The stickers are in the same format, but missing was the stick of gum. I didn’t really miss the gum. I remember, as a 10-year-old, the gum losing its flavor literally after one minute of chewing.

Now as an adult, I rediscovered the fun I enjoyed in my youth. Who knew, those packages that were deemed wacky and silly, would help me with my reading comprehension, spelling, and pronunciation?

And back then the packages, I think, were only 15-cents. They were cheaper than a tutor. Some people may agree that mid 70s was a simpler period of time. What did I know? I was only 10.

In all seriousness, these stickers, as silly as they may be, could be deemed offensive to some people. Some would say the stickers are crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. But if people are offended, then they are missing the point of the parodies.

Remember the stickers are imitations of products with deliberate exaggerations to draw readers in for a laugh.

If you don’t laugh, then you are missing the intent.

It’s that easy.

It’s that hard.

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