Peeps do not fare well when put to the test

Posted on April 24, 2006

Now that Easter has passed, it's safe to republish my Peeps column, circa. 1999 from the Crawfordsville Journal-Review.

Easter has come and gone like a gypsy caravan once again, but one thing still remains -- Easter candy. Checking expiration dates on bags and containers, 1999 Easter candy should last until 2450. People decide to buy candy following the holiday in hopes of big bargains.

A specific type of candy has intrigued many and plagued worldwide analysists with a simple question, "What is a Peep?"

It's supposed to be a marshmallow bird, according to Just Born, the Bethlehem, Pa., Peeps' proprietor. Two Emory University researchers set out to determine what makes a Peep chirp with a plethora of experiments. They wanted to make sure, though, each experiment was accomplished using "scientific methods."

I'm a fan of science, even when it lost to the 49ers in last year's playoffs. But do we really need to follow restrictions testing a sugar coated ball of gelatin?

I decided to undertake my own Peeps experiments, but instead of actually testing them, I am making up some results. Scientists are rarely in the guessing game, but columnists sometimes are.

The first test was a modulation test (Experiments, scientific or not, should still have scientific names. That theorem's basis is from the Law of Conservation of Energy and mission statements of most truck stops). The modulation test consisted of having a Peep listen to four different music types -- country, R&B, '80s music and bad '80s music.

The Peep displayed no emotion through most of it, until it heard "Man-eater" by Hall & Oates. The Peep showed goosebumps, but after hearing Gerardo's "Rico Suave," the Peep piped down.

The strength and fitness exam was the second test. Another Peep (the first was tired and hungry) played a volunteer in basketball. Although our volunteer held just a slight height advantage, the Peep was no match, losing 12-3.

The third test was a reflex test. What better way to examine the birds than to have a Peep play video games. Unfortunately, the little bird had troubles again, failing to even make it past the first board in Playstation's "Metal Gear."

Heat sensitivity was the final test. A Peep was exposed to a microwave. It expanded, so I placed it inside a microwavable container to see it explode. Instead, it melted the container, which gave a scent of roasted marshmallows and singed plastic. I lost Tupperware, a snack, and more importantly, a friend.

The fourth test was the only test I actually ran. But there are some striking revelations from the others anyway. Peeps tire easily. Peeps have trouble doing activities due to lack of digits and abnormal animal anatomy. Lastly, Peeps taste pretty good.

Just Born should do nothing to change their Peeps manufacturing. After all, these birds were made to taste, not test. Well, one of my Peep friends just invited me to a game of chicken. I'll have the results next year.