A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath and David Shimomura, who add any typos or factual errors that might appear within.
“Crunch of the Day” has lately become a very popular breakfast-time game in our house. I’m going to explain how we play it, but please feel free to amend the rules in any way you’d like.
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Equipment: Two bowls. Two spoons. Milk. Many boxes of multiple brands of cereal; Honey Bunches of Oats preferred.
Contestants: No. 1: Jacob, 6; No. 2: Peter, 3.
Crunchmaster: Me, 43.
How the game works: Crunchmaster commentates as contestants eat cereal and attempt to make loud crunches with each bite. Contestants are disqualified if their mouths are open while crunching. Contestants try, but are not permitted, to disqualify other contestants for doing same. Contestants are encouraged not to choke themselves by putting too much cereal on their spoons and shoveling all it into their mouths at once. Crunchmaster listens as contestants crunch and, ultimately, determines the Crunch of the Day. All decisions are final. The hearing in his left ear can – and has been – compared to his right to make sure there is no bias toward one side of the table.
Brief history of the game: Crunchmaster, desperate to get Contestant No. 2 out of his crib for school one morning, improvised by asking him enthusiastically, “Don’t you want to be crunch champion at breakfast today?!?” A tradition was born.
Prizes: This is the most important part of the game, obviously. Beyond brotherly bragging rights, Crunchmaster has established several award tiers.
Note that contestants typically tie for first place and/or only a first-place winner is declared. However, Contestant No. 1, bitterly disappointed upon finding out what one gets for first place, asked a cackling Crunchmaster what he would have won had he finished 2nd instead, or 3rd … and so on. Thus:
First place: All-expenses-paid trip to school!
Second place: All-expenses-paid trip to sunny Italy! Fly Alitalia to Rome to see the historic sights. Take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice – and more!
Third place: You’re now an astronaut! And you’re going to the moon!
Fourth place: Free Krispy Kreme donuts for life! Just go to any Krispy Kreme location and they will give you a donut!
“Do you get to pick the donut?”
“What if they don’t have it?”
“They’ll make it. Or you can design a new donut which they’ll also make.”
Fifth place: A super-fast red Lamborghini sports car! That you can drive even if you don’t have a license!
100th place: No prize.
101st place: $1 million!
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If you’re wondering why you’d ever play this game, I get it. But I will say this: On the first morning that we played, Contestant No. 2, for whom, you’ll recall, the game was created to rouse out of bed, looked up at Crunchmaster, smiling, as he enjoyed his all-expenses-paid trip to school:
“Today,” Peter said, “is a good day.”
Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at ESPN.com. He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.