Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Legend of Spap Oop

Sometimes I forget that people who read me aren't directly in my head, or know the people I know, and don't quite get why I might do something like name a blog "Spap-Oop."

My friend Ed, a long-time tech industry insider, who, like me, remembers and Age Before the Information Age, when newsgroups were all the rage, and there were not nifty icons to click, or wisywigs to deal with, and computer screens were monochromatic, and the Internet was *only* dial-up....tells the Legend of Spap Oop much better than myself...but he's somewhere in Ireland with his family, so I've got to be the one to recount it.

If you lived in Central New Jersey sometime in the late 20th Century, and knew where the Sunshine Biscut Company factory was (in Sayerville), you inevitably knew someone who worked in the snack-food industry....who made Cheezits and Hydrox cookies....

and another strange snack called Doo-Dads. The word doodad is a synonym for odds and ends.

Doo-Dads was a combination of odds and ends from the runs of Cheezits and Mr. Salty pretzels, of broken bits of other snacks foods manufactured by Sunshine Biscut.

And sometimes when they shipped the big, cardboard cartons full of boxes of Doo-Dads, the boxes got turned upside down...and, subsequently the wording was not just upside down but also backwards.

Ed, myself, and some others were in some super-discount-market one very late night, and there was an upside-down, backwards box of Doo-Dads...

"oh, look, " Ed said "spap-oop."

and he was right. Take Doo-Dads, turn it upside down and backwards, and you got Spap-Oop.

I laughed so hard I tunred blue couldn't breathe. It would be only one of many times Ed would make me laugh so hard I turned blue and couldn't breathe.

So when I thought of doing a little blog that would be a collection of oddball things I came across in the crazy, upside-down and sometimes backward world of the Blogosphere, I thought, of course, of Spap-Oop.

And there you go. It's just that simple.



Tish Grier said...

Editor's note: just so I don't want Ed's head to get too big and have y'all believe that he was the first guy who thought of this, the true credit, I believe goes to comedian Rich Hall, who mentioned it, I think, in connection with Sniglets. Ed knows this part of the legend much better, and, hopefully, will fill the gap in when he returns

Chuck said...

Rich Hall did indeed introduce the world to Spap Oop, on Not Necessarily the News, which was a comedy show on HBO in the mid 80's.

After seeing the show, my friends and I took to turning the boxes upside down whenever we were at the grocery. Great fun in high school.

Tish Grier said...

thanks, Chuck! It's funny how, over the past two years, so many people come to this blog entry because of the reference. Apparently, there are a lot of us who very fondly remember "spap-oop" :-)

Ken Colangelo said...

I had the book Snigglets by Rich Hall which has a great photo of a convenience store owner, maybe just arrived in this country, smiling into the camera in front of a whole shelf stocked with Spap-Oop.

Ken Colangelo said...

Strike's titled Vanishing America. It's still by Rich Hall.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reviving this!
Thinking of my grandmother this holiday season...she used to bring us spap oops years ago when i was still a child....pre- Rich Hall...early 70's....but then again n, she was somewhat of a grammarian....thanks for keeping the memory someone call nabisco and bring 'em back!!!

Anonymous said...

When I saw that years ago in a supermarket, I kept on pushing the grocery cart, but thought: did I really see a cereal called 'spap-oop'? So I went back and sure enough, there it was.

The interesting thing was that they had deliberately designed the box so that it would look 'correct' if it was upside down.

I mean that instead of having DOO-DADS in big letters at the top, the had doo-dads in lower-case about two-thirds of the way down, so that if the box was upside down, the doo-dads part was near the top.

I guess it was a cereal maker's inside joke.

Prof. Bleen said...

Howdy! Found your 'blog looking for references to "Spap Oop." I couldn't find a picture of the original Doo-Dads box to flip over, so I tried to recreate it using the same font for the product name, here: