Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I walked into a Hershey bar
And ordered up a shot
I thought they’d serve me whiskey, but
Hot chocolate’s what I got

The first thing you notice is the color scheme. It’s brown, of course... and it is everywhere.

It is as though a rabid UPS-crazed mob of painters had run amok through the town, shambling and gibbering, slopping paint over each stick of wood, every speck of masonry while the incessant chant of “What can brown do for yoooouuuu?” echoed in the streets.

The town, of course, is Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Hershey was named (in a fit of unwarranted modesty, no doubt) for its founder, one Milton S. Hershey, who built a world-spanning chocolate business beginning in the waning years of the nineteenth century. Milton was a visionary who believed in exploiting a happy, well educated, conveniently located workforce, an unusually progressive attitude for the time. He built a school for orphans that continues to operate unto this very day, funded by a stream of profits from the chocolate company.

In turn, research conducted at the Milton Hershey School has been a boon to the Hershey Company. The skilled genetic engineers that first honed their talents on enhancements to the notoriously finicky cacao tree eventually directed their efforts towards subtle modifications to the human genome, with the infamous Oompa-Loompa labor force being the result. The orange-skinned gnomes who toil in the chocolate works are not, as popular opinion holds, slaves: Technically, they are indentured servants to the corporation, working off the price of their “genetic enhancements.” Their coloration makes them easy to spot should any attempt an escape.

“Sepia... wouldn’t want to be ya.”

Hershey has plenty of activities and amusements for vacationing families. There’s the Hershey World of Chocolate, a hands-on experience that offers nothing less than a total immersion in the world of chocolate manufacturing, where (for a modest fee) visitors are able to work alongside a team of Oompa-Loompas as they crank out the day’s quota of Hershey products. There’s The Hershey Story (pictured above), a museum featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool of tepid semisweet chocolate. There is Hersheypark, a chocolatized version of Six Flags featuring thrill rides and similar attractions. There are also world-class restaurants and golf courses available, for those who have had their fill of Brown Goods.

And it’s easy enough to get there. Just fly or drive to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and head east for thirteen miles on the Hershey Highway.

*N. B. - The above post is mostly bullshit, but the bit about Milton Hershey creating a school for orphans is no joke. The Milton Hershey School is funded with 30% of the Company’s annual profits and thus has a sizeable trust fund with which to educate its population of some ~2,000 students. Admission is no longer restricted to orphans, but the school’s mission is to serve lower-income families: It is cost-free. As the School puts it, “We believe all children deserve the very best education regardless of their financial circumstances. A family’s income should not determine a child’s outcome.” Amen to that.

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