HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Flava Aid, not KOOL AID. You did not notice when mom started buying cheaper meat or the off brand vanilla cream cookies or saltines instead of Ritz, but when you saw Flava Aid instead of Kool Aid you knew your family had some money problems.
That day you helped your mother with the groceries, you put the pork steaks instead of the usual pot roast in the freezer without a question. Grabbed the store brand loaf of bread out the bag, not once did you question where the Wonder or Sara Lee bread is at. But when you pulled out 50 packs of Flava Aid instead of the 20 packs of Kool Aid you became use to, you screamed out “Flava Aid… why you being so cheap? What you be doing with your money?” Learning two very important lessons at that moment, your mother has a serious left hook and don’t ever question her about how she spends her money. The next thing that crosses your mind, after you stop seeing stars, is that times is rough and how can this happen to your family. You go to church, you don’t steal anything other than your neighbors cable and they are tapped into their neighbor’s cable so the original sin is on them anyway.
The Flava Aid revelation now has you more than interested in stock market ticker at the bottom of that one boring channel you zoom by on your way to watch BET. Unfortunately you don’t know what Kool Aid’s ticker symbol is, so your theory that the cost of Kool Aid has sky rocketed will remain unfounded.
“WHY DID MOMMY NOT INVEST IN KOOL AID??? We would be rich; I would be belly deep in purple Kool Aid right now if she did.”
That’s okay the president speaks tonight to the nation, he will surely address the rising cost of high quality drink mixes. At 8:00 PM that night, you are in front of the television with an ice cold glass of water (you’re still not a hundred percent sure of that cheap stuff)…
“Mr. President, I could sure use your leadership right now. War? Crimes against humanity? The right thing to do? Man please… who elected this clown! My mommy can’t afford my drank, deal with the issues man! I can’t wait until I can vote.”
The next day you are at school, in English class your teacher asks you to draft a letter to someone you miss. Your letter to the “Hey Kool Aid Man” is heartfelt, emotional… you get a “B” on it, but your teacher writes a referral to the school social worker about possible ‘issues’. You do not have time to talk answer questions from a professional about ‘uncles’ and point at puppets, you have to get to Chemistry class. Dammit you will make your own Kool Aid! How hard can it be? Sugar, ground up Jolly Ranchers, and water… off you go!
Okay, that didn’t work out Kool Aid is not as easy as you thought it would be and while trying to ground up the Jolly Ranchers into a fine powdery substance, a piece broke off and hit that slow kid in his eye.
“Detention, I have to serve detention for trying to help financially challenged kids. Oh well, Martin Luther King went to jail for his beliefs, an hour in the library for mine is worth it if it means a better life for all.”
Heck, half your friends are in detention so not so bad. Plus, you all can kick it at your house after school, play Nintendo, and drink Kool… FUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGG. Now you have 4 thirsty and judgmental ‘friends’ on their way to your house and they keep asking if you have red or green Kool Aid in the fridge. You cannot stand privileged kids. The fear that you feel creeping up on you as you near your house is only trumped by your outrage at the government for allowing it’s citizens to reach such levels of poverty.
You arrive at home with 4 ‘rich kids’ following you, your mom meets you at the door. No company!!! Punishment??? Yes, I am on punishment! Awesome. I had to deal with a backhand left hand from mom and a possible concussion… but questioning where mom’s money was going has turned out to be an ego saving move.
“Bye… I gotta go clean my room and take out the garbage. Thank God!”
Next day at school you figure the need to take interest in history class for the first time. You want to know about the history of Kool Aid, which excites the class. Everybody wants to talk about Kool Aid. Who wouldn’t, until one kid asks the teacher if it is true that a man killed a bunch of people by poisoning their Kool Aid. WHAT??? The teacher tells the class that the incident was at Jonestown and adds an interesting note about what they were drinking, “people for years have said it was Kool Aid they mixed up, actually it was Flava Aid”… you’re definitely not drinking that shit now. And how stupid were those people to follow a broke cult. If you ever join a cult they will have a lot of money and if you ever notice them switching out the Kool Aid for Flava Aid you know what’s going down and that the guy next to you is welcome to your glass.
Eventually, your mom pulls into the driveway with a small bag of Kool Aid and all is well again. You’re not going to lose the house, you won’t have to spend your weekends walking around town with a stolen cart from the local Safeway collecting aluminum cans on the side of the road. You can sleep peacefully again, knowing that your family has survived a serious financial crisis. So on this 3rd day of Black History Month we salute Flava Aid, knock off drink mix, the drink of choice of deranged insecure cult leaders everywhere, and economic indicator for little Black kids.