The Blazing Pop-Tart Inferno

November 19th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 9: 13-18 (NLT)

 13 The woman named Folly is brash.
      She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14 She sits in her doorway
      on the heights overlooking the city.
15 She calls out to men going by
      who are minding their own business.
16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
      To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17 “Stolen water is refreshing;
      food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there.
      Her guests are in the depths of the grave.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I’ve been ignorant before.  For that matter, I may be ignorant right now.  Oddly enough, one of the most ignorant experiences of my life came while I was away at college in Knoxville.  Now, I know that our time in college is supposed to be full of self-discovery and educational breakthroughs; and indeed, it was all these things for me and more.  However, there are a few things that they don’t offer classes on.

One such subject is the science of Pop-Tarts.

My sophomore year at the University of Tennessee found me sharing a campus apartment with three other guys.  We lived on the eleventh floor in a room that was luxuriously spacious compared to the Freshmen dorms.  Industrial-style laminate tile, no doubt tread upon by our predecessors some thirty years before, lined the floor in every room of the small apartment.  There were several computer stations with ports to the campus intranet network . . . which never worked correctly.  It was what it was and we loved it.

One feature of the campus apartments that was vastly different from the dorms was the addition of a full-size kitchen.  Dorm life consisted of as much Taco Bell and campus cafeteria as possible and what rare leftovers there were might find their way into a hundred dollar Wal-mart mini-fridge.  The apartments, however, smacked of sophistication.  A full-size refrigerator.  A stove.  Running water . . . man, they were really spoiling us.  

The ample counter space in the kitchen just begged for another luxury virtually unseen in dorm life: a toaster.  Toasters, to college students, are simply remnants of their past life . . . a time when things were simpler and bread was toasted by parents before school.  For a sophomore, the reintroduction of the toaster into one’s life only serves to strengthen the illusion that one is maturing.  Today . . . toasters; tomorrow . . . the world!

However, to ensure that one doesn’t grow up too fast into adulthood, I found myself toasting items other than boring old bread . . . bread is so “last decade.”  No, a true college adult finds the perfect conglomeration of youth and experience in the form of a popular pastry: the Pop-Tart.  Packed with vitamins and minerals . . . I’m just kidding . . . I doubt that any vitamins have ever made their way into this rectangular piece of preserved sugar.  Indeed, Pop-Tarts are heavenly for more reasons than just their taste; like the Word of God, they will last forever . . . but for completely different reasons.

Thus, one morning I arose for an early class and shrugged off the idea of joining the other “childish” students in the cafeteria, choosing instead the more sophisticated option of preparing my own breakfast as any titan of industry would do.  Hey, this is America!  Land of the free . . . home of the Whopper. Anyhoo, I “popped” said “tart” into my very impressive toaster and walked into the other room while my breakfast feast was warming itself for consumption.

What happened next will seem exaggerated, but I assure you is the truth.

Upon my return to fetch my culinary treasure, I beheld a “hellish” sight!  For low and behold, a three-foot high bright blue flame of destruction was shooting out from the top of the toaster, threatening to burn not only our apartment building to the ground, but possibly the whole world as we knew it as well.  I panicked . . . as any mature adult would . . . and I grabbed a glass of water and doused my beloved electric baker of bread.  The blaze subsided and a nation was saved that day.  But a terrible price was paid . . . I think it was around $27.99 to be exact . . . for our old toaster would never again warm bread nor bagel.  A moment of silence please.

My ignorant ignorance (that’s when you’re ignorant but you don’t realize it) had to do with the flammability of pop-tarts.  As it turns out, Pop-Tarts are like one molecule away from jet fuel.  They are like napalm . . . with sprinkles.  During the recent gas crisis, more than a few times I pondered the idea of pureeing a few Pop-Tarts for some extra giddy-up and go in the old gas tank.  My only prayer is that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Ignorance is common.  In fact, it’s not something to be ashamed of; well, at first.  Let me explain.

Just as the last several chapters has personified Wisdom (with a capital W) as a “she”, now Solomon personifies her nemesis with another name: Folly (with a capital F).  Folly is the Anti-Wisdom.  Notice that the root letters in “folly” are similar to “fool” or “foolish.”  That’s who Folly is– a foolish person.  Now, although these verses definitely refer again to the temptress we’ve encountered several times so far, it also paints the picture of what Wisdom’s opposite is like apart from the context of sexual temptation.

She’s more than just ignorant . . . she’s ignorant of her ignorance.  That’s why this passage says that “She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.”  In adult terms that we all understand, this means that she has no idea that Pop-Tarts are like edible molitof cocktails.  That’s the beginning of Folly’s description, but upon further reading we learn that she’s much more than just ignorant.  She spends her time trying to deceive those who pass by her way . . . even when they are “minding their own business.”  We can’t let Folly off the hook.

So here’s the bottom line: as much as we have learned that Wisdom is crying out to everyone, so is Folly. Each person must decide which voice they will listen to.  When we initially listen to Folly out of ignorance, there is still ample opportunity to turn back to Wisdom.  That’s like the first time I set off the atomic Pop-Tart bomb.  It was an accident.

However, the next time I set it off, I’m in cahoots with Folly.  Why?  Because I’m no longer ignorant.  The goal is not ever to be foolish, it’s to learn from our folly and turn away from deadly Pop-Tarts to run after wisdom.

So, whatever flames you’ve inadvertently set off in your life, I encourage you to learn from your prior ignorance.  Sacrifice your toaster if you have to . . . spiritually, of course . . . and pay attention to what you’re cooking.  To make friends with Wisdom, you’ve got to act like her friend and you’ve got to give Folly the cold shoulder.


~ by johndriver on November 19, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Blazing Pop-Tart Inferno”

  1. Aside from the fact that this is a very well written and informative thread with a powerful message…what kind of an idiot pours WATER on an ELECTRIC fire? Apparently, there were a few other things you didn’t learn in college!
    P.S. The fire extinguisher is under the sink….in case you need it! 🙂

  2. My mom has actually burnt a Pop-Tart in the toaster before, it just didn’t go to the extreme of blue flames. Haha. I often find myself falling into Folly’s traps, and being ignorant to what the consequences are most of the time. The good thing is that we can learn from our mistakes and ensure that we won’t make the same mistake in the future. Just stick close to Wisdom knowing that she won’t let you make the same mistakes, and even a mistake you haven’t made before. We just have to learn to ignore the cries of Folly and her foolishness; no irony intended. =]

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