Some things obviously belong together, plain as day at first sight – corn flakes and milk, ice cream and cherries, scotch and coconut water. Some things should never even touch – fish and pizza, ketchup and biscuits, blue cheese and… the world.
And then there are some totally unrelated things ordained by the universe, star crossed lovers from origins so distant that no crystal ball or guru or fortune cookie could have ever foretold of a destiny to intersect and never again shall they be apart.
You’d never guess this one.
Let’s Hop to a Small Island
Once I took a vacation with my family to St Martin (Sint Maarten??). One morning we checked out the country’s capital Philipsburg. The place screamed homey colloquial design of cobbled streets and squat, colourful buildings, all perched by a beautiful beach you could just dive in.
What really stuck out about the city is just how damn clean it was. I can’t remember seeing garbage anywhere, not even in the public toilets, as compared to the dirty streets of my own Caribbean island Trinidad (not Tobago as it’s also cleaner).
We walked into this candy shop of sweets and chocolates and other crud that’s not good for the body but oh so good for the mind. Among all the sugary delights I couldn’t help but stare at one in particular – chocolate covered bacon.
I had to read the sign several times over, my eyes flitting to the dark strips in the glass case below, unable to believe that someone actually took meat, covered it in chocolate, and had the audacity to sell it.
Convinced this was some other type of food that was also called bacon for whatever reason, I just had to ask despite the label. “Is this real bacon covered in chocolate?”
The attendant nodded.
“And does it taste good?”
“Oh very good,” agreed the attendant, as if he would say otherwise, even insisting the bacon was crunchy too (which happens to be just the way I like em). “Have a sample.” To which he proceeded to use a tongs to pry a piece free from the others.
I extended a hand, pinched between two cautious fingers, took the smallest of nibbles, and was blown away by what should have been impossible. That sweet chocolate taste, followed by that chewy salt of bacon, along with just enough oily fat, was like a fete in full swing on my tongue, complete with drinks in hand and rags in air.
We left the store with several boxes.
Let’s call it the sweet-and-sour syndrome. The fruits-and-nuts paradox. The peanut-butter-and-jelly diplomacy. At first glance you never would have guessed, but some mad scientist evil genius went ahead and put them together anyway.
When It Comes to Science Fiction Fantasy
To me in no way is this more klaxon blaring than in the incredibly odd mix of facts and animals: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I remember the first time I witnessed this phenomena, during that period in the late 80’s when Saturday morning cartoons were at their prime. Sitting with my eyes glued to the old tv (fun fact, it was huge as a table and made out of wood, yet with a screen smaller than your average 32″), I gazed at that cool intro of the dark night sky between buildings, then a zooming down to street level where four little turtles are blasted out a sewer in glowing light to mutate into the ninjas we all know and love today.
In a sudden impulse of the sweet-and-sour syndrome, when comic book artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird threw together a parody of things over laughs one night, they looked upon what they created and realized it was actually good (another fun fact, the original comic was a dark, violent and grim tale compared to the children cartoons and movies that followed). The story goes that they used their tax returns and an uncle to print three thousand copies and an ad in a magazine.
And their mad mixture was absolutely loved by the public.
Fast forward several decades and iterations and TMNT is still going strong, the latest being a 2018 reboot from their new home at Nickelodeon. But personally, nothing beats the original cartoon, the original movie, and the original Nintendo games.
Here’s a reminder of the 1987 animated intro awesomeness, in German haha
What’s your favourite fruits-and-nuts paradox? Let me know.