The Secret Life of Corn Flakes

I was thirteen … the age when boys usually became “sexually aware” of their bodies.  Yep, “dat tang” suddenly was available for something other than peeing.

So I got my first, “The Doctor Says …” pamphlet from my mom, which she slipped under my pillow.

I dutifully read it, but what puzzled me even more was the box of Kellogg’s Cornflakes under my pillow beside the pamphlet.


Many mango seasons later, I finally “got it.”  Finally, I Googled just why she had placed the box of corn flakes under my pillow.

I don’t know why I waited this long to “solve the corn flakes mystery,” but I did … wait and solve it.

The “Krazy Kelloggs,” John H. and William K. were Seventh Day Adventists and started a sanitarium and health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan in the mid-1890s.  They took the issues of diet and personal health very seriously.

John H. was a tad more conscientious about the health issues than was his brother, WK.  In fact, some thought John was flat off his rocker when it came to human sexuality.


He and his wife believed in abstinence, sleeping apart so as not to fall into the hands of the Devil.

As if that weren’t tough enough, good old John H. also believed that the practice of “onanism” was a mortal sin and led a man directly down the path of ill health and ultimate ruin.

According to the writings of John H., there are 39 different symptoms of a person plagued by hand-to-gland combat, including general infirmity, defective development, mood swings, fickleness, bashfulness, boldness, bad posture, stiff joints, fondness for spicy foods, acne, palpitations, and epilepsy.

And here, I just thought it would make me blind.


John H. thought that the male sex drive was fed by spicy hardy foods and that bland tasteless foods lessened that drive.  He and brother WK fiddled (not with each other) in the kitchen and viola came up with a mushy, flattened, bland, corn batter which they oven-baked and broke into flakes.

Enter … quite possibly the worst tasting cereal in the entire 30-yard cereal aisle in your local supermarket.


There are three salient points from this legend:

John H. died a miserable unhappy man.

As proof of how horrible cornflakes taste, just ask “Tony the Tiger” what a bit of sugar did for the wretched cereal.  And …

since childhood I have steadfastly refused cornflakes.

Just sayin’ …

8 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Corn Flakes

  1. Ah-ha! Now we know why there’s still some Snap Crackle and Pop in your step….and in your columns!

    What Mama Huss was trying to tell you with the box of corn flakes under your pillow remains a tad unclear.

    Maybe she saw a future for you as a “cereal” wang whacker… Maybe she thought a bed full of (corn flake) crumbs would keep “evil” from between the sheets…But I suspect she REALLY thought you might enjoy the seriously absurd irony that despite J.H. and W.K.’s stance on sex, they chose to put a big multi-colored cock on the front of the box.

    • Hey TL … Bang, boom it cleared the fence … what a great blurb you write, my man. Outta the park!

      Cock-on-the-box sure “beats” cock-in-the box! Oh to be young again and enjoy each and every God given appendage. My AM’s are now kicked off with oatmeal … wait a sec… is that Wilford Brimley holding a turkey? No, he can’t be doing what I think he’s doing with that turkey!

  2. Tom’s response to this really funny post is so good! I was somewhat the “nutrition nut” from a young age, being obsessed with weighing as little as I could. I did run across the Kellogg story and found it appalling. Cornflakes are good for one thing, breading freshly killed haddock from the North Sea. Had that once in Scotland, and other than that, cornflakes? I’d rather starve. Wonderful tale, Richard!!

    • Hey PMartha … Thanks for your support. Yep, Tom knocked that one outta the park! Cornflakes better be good for something ’cause they’re sure as shit not good for cereal. Maybe that’s what Squanto planted the Pilgrim’s struggling corn stalks with … crushed cornflakes flash fried haddock from the the North Atlantic!

  3. Always knew you lived (and thought) outside the box, Richard! No one could ever call you flaky.

    • Hey NBR … Thanks for reading and posting a comment. Flaky is as Flaky gets … just don’t pour any milk on us … I hate soggy flakes! Thanks for all your support.

  4. Your mother had to have had something up her sleeve to save her son from blindness. But cornflakes? Perhaps the cereal box had a warning for boys like you that you were too busy to read. Just saying.

    • JDF … Thanks for reading … I knew I should read the entire box … remember when the cereal box had cartoons, sayings and bits of daily wisdom printed on them … no ingredients, but lots of entertainment! At an early age, my eyesight dropped to 20:400 … hmmm … probably should have kept on with the Cornflakes!

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