Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Orange Nut Roll R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

"In his house at R'lyeh the Orange Nut Roll waits dreaming." From H.P. Lovecraft, The Cult of C-Rat.

Where ever armies have marched and where ever crazed survivalist rednecks have squatted there remains behind scenes of devastation and horror. One of those horrors is the Orange Nut Roll.

A variety of nut rolls have long been a part of the soldier's meal while on the march. Historically they were a tasty treat to consume after eating the giant can of beef stew offered in C-Rations. The nut rolls were favored enough that they largely made a successful transition from the larger canned military rations to the lighter and more compact MRE or Meal, Ready-To-Eat of modern field supplies.

Anywhere a group of soldiers have gathered the evidence of their meals is left behind and used by the local population. The MRE was designed to be 100% useful in the field. The boxes, filled with sand or dirt, are packed tightly in a case and can slide into a sleeve. The packaging is water-resistant and filled with sand can be used to make bunkers, furniture and in some places in the world entire living quarters. The plastic pouches are used for storage and shingles on a roof. The cans are used for cooking or beaten down into knives or other useful items.

The exception being the Orange Nut Roll. The ONG is dry and has the consistency of a shoe. The taste resembles not so much an orange, but the wooden crate the oranges may have originally been shipped in. Fire that melts an 81mm mortar leaves the Orange Nut Roll unharmed. Insects, vultures and other opportunistic scavengers ignore and treat a found Orange Nut Roll as they would a piece of slate or length of bark they came across while wandering the forest. In places where the local population eagerly, desperately receives the leftovers of a soldier's meal either in food to feed their families or the useful packaging to build shelters the Orange Nut Roll is thrown away or refused. Entire rebellions have arisen in native populations because all they are given to win their hearts and minds are Orange Nut Roll packages from visiting soldiers. Give an Orange Nut Roll to a starving homeless person in any metropolitan city and they will sneer and possibly assault you.

There are beaches in Subic Bay covered in slowly rusting cans of discarded Orange Nut Rolls. Oddly shaped, orange hued rocks cover the sand and ocean floor in the region as Orange Nut Rolls tumble free from cans that disintegrate against the forces of nature. But the eternal majesty of the sea and wind are unable to breakdown the Orange Nut Roll. Like lava builds new land off the shores of Hawaiian islands so do Orange Nut Rolls serve as the foundation for reefs and future land bridges across the water. So imagine what one of those things, either in the old rounded or newer yet still inedible flat toaster pastry forms will do to the insides of a human.

Future archeologists will undoubtedly use as provenance of ancient battlefields the layers of uneaten Orange Nut Rolls that like ancient honey found in Egyptian tombs, will show no signs of rot or decomposition. Unlike 5000 year old honey though, the Orange Nut Roll is largely inedible as it comes fresh off the production line.

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