Touch of Death: Five Things I Loved That Were Abruptly Discontinued

The second I make something a part of my life, it’s abducted in the dead of night, never to be seen again.


Corn on one side, rice on the other!
Corn on one side, rice on the other! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the sad effects of our supply and demand free market is that things come and go without warning. Now, change is good, and if things didn’t get discontinued, we wouldn’t have E-bay, or the term ‘vintage.’ Sometimes, though, products vanish before their time, without saying goodbye. Here are five things that have gone missing from my life without even leaving a note:

Breakfast Cereals – It’s pretty common for boxed cereals to get discontinued, but it’s happened to me at least four times, so I’m pretty sure someone put a gluten-related hex on me. Breakfast is not usually my meal, but I love to snack on cereals during the day, and the minute I get hooked on one, it disappears from the shelves. From Cinnamon Crunch Crispix, to Chocolate Chex (before they changed the recipe), to the Target knock-off Golden Grahams (the real stuff tastes like plastic), the cereal companies keep stealing my crunchy, not-too-sugary, afternoon nosh, like they’d rather see it dead than let me have it. I think I am officially a cereal killer. (Bah dum bum.)

Sketchers Shape-Ups – Unlike the stereotypical woman I do not view shoes as a type of wearable candy. I just want to be comfortable, and once I find some acceptable footwear, I tend to wear them until they die. For a long time, Sketchers was my go-to shoe store, and I bought variations on the same pairs of shoes for more than a decade, usually more practical than attractive. At least their line of Shape-Ups made me feel like I was toning my calves as I walked down to the Baskin Robbins. Then they had to go and shake things up, possibly because Shape-Ups were the target of some lawsuits, and now I feel like a low-rent Cinderella whose prince decided to melt down the glass slipper and fashion it into something else, like an ashtray.

Paint Brush Cleaner – This doesn’t sound like much, I know, but when you spend hours a day bent over a crafts table inhaling fumes that singe the inside of your nostrils, you pine for an odorless alternative. I thought I had one, but when I went to buy more… I’m sure you can figure out how this story ends. With me, using a respirator.

See’s Chocolate Bars – When I was in elementary school, the candy drive was the big one. None of my classmates or I used the wrapping paper we hawked, but we all loved to eat chocolate. See’s still produces bars, but they’re half the size and formulated differently, so the love just isn’t there. This is probably good for me, but it has sent me on an epic quest to find a replacement go-to chocolate bar. The search continues.

Melanie Rawn‘s Exiles Series – When I was in high school I stumbled across The Ruins of Ambrai, a dense high fantasy with a matriarchal society that reminds me of an inverted Jewish orthodoxy. I loved this book, particularly the characters of Sarra and Collan and their constant bickering. The second book ends in a rather devastating manner, but worst of all, it was published seventeen years ago, and there’s currently no sign of the third, with so many things unresolved. Though the first two books haven’t technically vanished, I occasionally climb to the widow’s walk to look for The Captal’s Tower.

In crafting this post, it occurs to me that instead of hanging onto the past (something my generation is highly prone to doing), I should treat each disappearance as a new challenge. There will be mis-steps, but ultimately, the absence of something I’ve come to count on forces me out of my comfort zone, bit by bit, to find new loves that will, one random day, be impossible to find, too. I will remember them fondly, but need to keep moving forward.

Though I really, really miss Cinnamon Crunch Crispix.

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