When Ecto Cooler returned for a brief period last year it was nothing short of magical. Even though I wasn’t the hugest Ghostbusters fan as a kid (which, honestly, baffles me to this day) Ecto Cooler was THE flavor of Hi-C that I wanted in my school lunch. Tasting it again two decades later and immediately recognizing it, as if seeing an old friend, was something I’ll never forget.
It wasn’t the perfect relaunch, though. It was damn near impossible to find in stores which meant you had to fight the online crowds whenever the cans came in stock on Amazon. My wife was the MVP that one fateful day.
ECTO COOOOOOOOLER pic.twitter.com/4jAGV0mj2O
— Joe Walker 🍖 (@SpaceKappa) June 14, 2016
It was glorious. I was only able to get those three cases and I absolutely savored each and every sip. Who knew how long it’d be before Coca-Cola could be coerced into releasing this nectar of the gods again? I had to make each one count. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have any fun, though:
Yo, Ecto Cooler popsicle. pic.twitter.com/OgI7cmT2PX
— Joe Walker 🍖 (@SpaceKappa) July 2, 2016
I saved one can as well as one of the cardboard cases as keepsakes, and that was that. But remember, this article isn’t about Ecto Cooler then, it’s about Ecto Cooler now.
* * * * * * * * * *
I loved having Ecto Cooler in cans; it was a childhood favorite I could enjoy in a container that was actually sized for adults. As a human enslaved by earthly desires, though, it wasn’t enough. I still wanted the juice boxes for the real nostalgia bomb. Even though I can down a juice box in like three sips it was more about the experience than the actual amount of Ecto Cooler I’d be suckin’ down.
I was checking every place that sold food until about four months ago, hoping that by some Gozerian miracle they’d be on the shelf, waiting for me. I eventually gave up, accepting that it just wasn’t meant to be.
I was in my local Stop and Shop the other day after work to grab a couple of things and the store was in the middle of a heavy remodel. As I was wondering where the heck everything was, I walked through the corpse of the juice aisle and THERE. THEY. WERE.
THREE PACKS OF ECTO COOLER JUICE BOXES.
I was dumbstruck. I had checked that aisle at least once a week since last May. Where had they been all this time? On some forgotten pallet in the back? Tucked behind some lesser flavor people didn’t want, hidden from prying eyes?
Did they appear because my heart willed it to be so, like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter, but instead of a magical room it’s tangerine-flavored juice?
I didn’t know why they were there and to tell the truth I didn’t much care. I originally only picked up one, came to my fucking senses and then grabbed the others and got to the register as fast as I could, a cold sweat starting to form around my body. I felt like a spy behind enemy lines. I had secured the intel and now I just had to get the fuck out without anyone seeing me.
Stupid ass me decided NOT to do self check-out, though, and the cashier did give them a little bit of a look as he rang me out. I wonder what he was thinking. Probably how best to off me so he could take them for himself.
The best part of all of it? They were on discount for $.99. NINETY-NINE CENTS. I basically robbed them and got away with it. I brought them home and added them to the family:
I had done it. It had taken just about a year and a week but I had finally found them. They were in my house and in my heart forever.
Similar to cold November rain, these too do not last forever and had expired three months prior:
I didn’t really pay it a lot of mind. Expiration dates are just a suggestion anyway. Who doesn’t like their milk a little chunky? Besides, a cursory glance at the ingredients didn’t reveal anything that would be immediately toxic.
I’ve had one pack in the fridge and have had one box every few days since I found them, and while the excitement was there originally it’s just not the same. They don’t taste particularly bad (and still taste better than most artificially flavored juices if you ask me), but they don’t taste quite like Ecto Cooler. Something’s off just enough to send the whole thing south.
It tastes like if some lesser company tried to replicate Ecto Cooler and got close but still missed. It’s the RC Cola of Ghostbusters-themed beverages. If you can pardon the pun, it’s like the specter of Ecto Cooler is all that remains. It’s half-hearted, missing all the punch and pizzazz that made you fall in love in the first place. It’s the equivalent of being intimate with your wife and you can tell she’s doing it just for you and she’s not really feeling it, and you’re gonna finish it because hey it’s Ecto Cooler but you still feel kinda bad.
I’m not gonna put the other two cases in the fridge. I’m gonna keep them as display pieces. I flew too close to the sun with my lust for one last tangerine dance and I paid the price.
Here’s hoping it won’t be another two decades until we get more!
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