When I was 19, on my first day at my first post-secondary institution, I formed an instant and profound friendship with Cindy. Cindy was a smokin’ hot, hilariously funny, warm, wild, wonderful woman. Cindy was obsessed with two things: Cheez Whiz and bar bands.
One or two evenings a week she’d drag me down to one of the local beverage and entertainment establishments, very early, so she could watch the band set up. She’d chat and flirt and we’d usually get a free drink or two. Once the band started playing Cindy would dance front and centre as close to the band as she could get. She’d stay there all night while I went about the usual beverage and entertainment establishment activities with other friends who would come in at a more reasonable hour.
Cindy would stay until the last song and then come find me. Sometimes, she was ready to go home, sometimes she wanted to hang around a bit longer to chat and flirt and have one more drink with the boys in the band. That’s as far as it ever went. There were never any green-room or equipment-truck visits.
Eventually we’d head home, either to her place or mine, whichever was closer. If we went to my place we’d make a Chef Boyardee pizza-in-a-box. If we went to hers we’d make a stack of buttery toast with Cheez Whiz. Those were the good old days when I could snarf down a mountain of junk food in the middle of the night without any adverse effects.
Cindy was never without Cheez Whiz. She ate Cheez Whiz with everything: bread, crackers, burgers, hot dogs, noodles, soup, chips, on a spoon, on Kraft Dinner for that extra bit of fat & salt, and, of course, she never had a vegetable, cooked or raw, without Cheez Whiz.
My daughter, who has led a pseudofood-sheltered life, always “throws a spaz” when she sees a Cheez Whiz ad on TV. “Oh. My. Gawd!” she’ll snort pretentiously. “What the hell is that stuff? And who would actually eat it?” She was completely appalled when I told her I used to engage in Cheez Whiz orgies in my youth. I remind her of this every time she mocks the Whiz.
She also takes great delight in reading Cheez Whiz (pasteurized process cheese sauce) ingredients out loud to me sometimes when we’re grocery shopping and then pointing at me and laughing. Teenagers are so easily amused.
My Cheez Whiz adventures lasted just a little over six months. It was a week after spring break. Cindy had gone home the week before to whatever godforsaken burg her family hailed from, so she had a lot of dancing to make up for. We were out late Saturday night; had the usual toast and Cheez Whiz feast at her place and conked out near day-break. I stumbled off home early Sunday afternoon after we’d polished off a couple Cheez Whiz omelettes and a gallon or two of tea.
I never had Cheez Whiz again. Cindy didn’t come to school the next day. I called her. No answer. I went by her place. Nobody home. Days went by. The school couldn’t tell me anything.
I finally tracked down her family (which wasn’t that easy in the pre-computer days). I called. I spoke to her Dad who was gruff and would only tell me that Cindy wasn’t coming back to school and that no, she couldn’t come to the phone because she was working and yes, he’d take a message, but she wouldn’t be calling me back.
I wrote a couple of letters. I never heard a thing.
Anyway, this post was supposed to be about Cheez Whiz, not vanishing friends, but the two are forever and irrecoverably tied together in my psyche.
 Milk And Part-Skim Milk, Water, Whey, Milkfat, Sodium Phosphate, Contains Less Than 2% Of Dried Corn Syrup, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce (Vinegar, Water, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Sugar, Caramel Color, Dried Garlic, Spice, Anchovies, Tamarino, Natural Preservative, Annatto (Color), Oleoresin Paprika, Enzymes