9.19.2010

Faygo away

First off, please enjoy my punny title. I’m not typically a huge fan of puns, but I was cracking myself up with that one.

Now. There is serious business to see to.

At the board game shop in which I work, we sell a soda called Faygo. Specifically, we carry Faygo root beer (there are many dozens of flavors of Faygo, apparently). It’s essentially a cheap soft drink that somehow manages the seemingly impossible task of tasting both a little too syrupy and a little too watery. How this mean feat is achieved, I will never know. But I have to give credit where credit is due.


It tastes about as good as that knockoff brand of ginger ale you’ve never heard of that your uncle brings to the family gathering. You surmise that he purchased the 2-liter bottle of piss-tasting tonic water and syrup at the local Dollar Tree, and make a mental note to steer clear of it.

It’s like if you took a bottle of expired maple syrup and poured it down the toilet, then decided against it and scooped it back into the bottle.

That’s basically Faygo.

But what truly brings my attention to Faygo tonight has nothing to do with the soda’s less-than-awesome taste or humble Detroit roots. It does, however, have everything to do with the soda’s primary consumer — the juggalos.

I will not attempt to concretely define the juggalo, its inexplicable existence, or its origins (no, perhaps I will save that for a later post). What I will cover is the juggalo’s magnet-like attraction to a mediocre soft drink, and why it ruins my day.

For the unaware, juggalos (or juggalettes — yes, the word is even gendered) are die hard fans of the mysteriously popular hip hop group, Insane Clown Posse (ICP). From Wikipedia: ”Juggalos have compared themselves to a family. Common characteristics include drinking the inexpensive soft drink Faygo and wearing face paint. They view the lyrics of Psychopathic Records artists (which are often violent in nature) as a catharsis for aggression. According to ICP founding member Joseph Utsler, “[Juggalos come] from all walks of life—from poverty, from rich, from all religions, all colors. It doesn’t matter if you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or a crack rock in your mouth.”


Ustler’s words confuse me, because my experience with juggalos has predominantly been with young, heterosexual, lower-class, white males with inferiority complexes and unemployment checks burning holes in their shorts. They travel in pairs or packs, wear ICP merchandise like school colors, and strut around being generally unpleasant, loud, and unshaven.

But unraveling the mysteries of juggalos is hardly my intention. What I seek to understand is why juggalos are drawn to Faygo like sailors to the sirens.

Faygo is produced in Michigan, and was apparently enjoyed by the ICP members when they were growing up in Detroit (Rock City). Nostalgia. Alright, I get that. I do. It would make sense that even those crazy, mixed-up clowns would still enjoy Faygo even today, as the syrupy taste likely drudges up memories of their childhoods, however dismal and depressing they may have been. But why have the juggalos, their fans, taken to it so readily, when the soda likely has no meaning to them whatsoever?

When my store first started carrying Faygo, word spread quickly amongst the local juggalos, and before long, hordes of them came sidling in, asking “Where the Faygo at?” and nearly starting full-scale riots when the machine jammed. If the machine was out, they’d take it warm just as readily. And if there was a case available, they’d buy the lot of it (presumably to bring home to their juggalettes and juggaloos for dinner).

I mean, I’m a huge Metallica fan, and would likely take a bullet or missile for James Hetfield, but you won’t find me running out to buy a truckload of his favorite breakfast cereal in a vain attempt to eke some of his awesome. But juggalos don’t seem to see it that way — and in fact, this crazy little pocket community of America’s white trash has claimed Faygo for their own in a sort of turf war that nobody else is participating in.

You guys want Faygo? It’s all yours. You can have it. It tastes like fountain drink runoff anyway. I’ll keep my literacy and dignity in exchange for it, and you can be on your merry, insane way.

Now, I have several theories as to why juggalos need to drink of the Faygo. Please enjoy them, because they're extremely scientific and just as plausible.

Theory One: Juggalos are sort of like vampires. Only instead of blood, they thirst for crappy root beer. If they don't get Faygo every few days, they get paler and scrawnier than they already are. 

Theory Two: Juggalos are a hive collective (like an ant colony) and must drink Faygo to appease their overlords, the great Insane Clown Posse.

Theory Three: They're a bunch of misguided idiots who think they have to drink Faygo because some crappy hip-hop duo they've based their entire lives around happens to also drink the stuff.

That last theory seems a little far fetched to me.

3 comments:

  1. Love this post and will be forwarding it to the teacher of my;Inside gang culture class. They are considered a gang and actually pose quite a threat to everyone as there is no rhyme or reason to anything they do. So, it would make perfect sense they would have no real reason to love drinking sweet toilet water.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow its funy how you dis people that you dont no about a juggalo can be anyone it dont matter holla whoop whoop and youl no there a juggalo im a juggalo and i like faygo cuz i grew up with it and your scientific mumble aint nuthin but bull

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the best comment ever.

      Delete

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