October 28, 2008

Blast from the Broccoli Past

This story started 10 years ago in 1998, right around the time I first met Lisa (aka Hungry Girl.)

For no real reason other than being an idiot, I would occasionally type random words into my powerful Netscape internet browser and add on a ".com" just to see what was there.

One day I typed in "Broccoli.com" and was instantly transported to a fantastical land known as "Broccoli Town, USA."

Broccoli.com was the website of a broccoli packing company and they had made their website look like a 3-D map of a place called Broccoli Town. All the way from 1998, here's a picture of it...

There was a Broccoli Institute, a post office and most importantly, a Kids' Club. As soon as I saw they had posted some emails from kids about broccoli in the Kids' Club section, I was obsessed with getting my own email in there.

I decided to write an email as a kid who had never tried broccoli before. This is not the exact email, but it's extremely close...

I want to try broccoli but my friend Jarred said it's poison. Jarred is a liar but I'm not going to try it until you write back.

age 8

A day or two later I received a very nice email from a lady named Alicia. She told me that broccoli was NOT poison. She let me know it was delicious and good for me and pointed me to some recipes I could make with my parents.

I wrote back to Alicia more than once with more important questions. I clearly remember asking her what it was like to live in Broccoli Town and asking if Broccoli Town was decorated for Christmas yet.

As I said, this was 10 years ago and sadly Broccoli Town is gone. But cut to this past Saturday night and the following insane text exchange on my phone with Lisa.

Lisa: There???

Me: Hi

Lisa: What happened with u and broccoli.com??? remind me

Me: I used to write to a woman there and pretend I was a kid who never had broccoli because my friend Jarred said it was poison and I kept asking her what broccoli town was like

Lisa: Who was the woman?

Me: Alicia

Lisa: LOL I am sitting with her now!!!!!!

Me: Oh my god!!!

Lisa: I will take her pic!!!!

Me: Tell her I ate the broccoli and it wasn't poison!

Lisa: LOL everyone here is screaming

Me: That is crazy

Lisa: I just sat next to her at a 3 hour dinner

Me: Does she still live in broccoli town??

Lisa: she moved

Me: does she remember me?

Lisa: She thinks she does!

Me: Tell her I say hi and I'm glad we're back in touch.

Lisa: LOL I will send u her pic soon

Me: Where does she work now?

Lisa: Same place!!!!!

Me: I can't believe you just ate broccoli for 3 hours with alicia

Stay tuned -- we are working on my heartfelt reunion with Alica from Broccoli Town! (Thanks, Lisa!)

Click here for The Sneeze Home Page!
Posted by Steven | Archive

What? The rest of us don't get to see the picture of Alicia? I mean, it's the internet. You can trust everyone here to behave themselves, right?

Did you ever find out about decorating the town for Christmas?

Also, typing random words into netscape with .com at the end sounds suspiciously like you were looking for porn, but ran out of ideas and just typed the first word that came to mind.

Posted by: Craig at October 28, 2008 9:37 AM

I love you, Steve, for stories like this. And your 'anal douche' ad on the sidebar. I love that too. And on preview, I agree with Craig - this post is no good without that picture - heavily modified to make Alicia look like a head of broccoli or not.

Posted by: Fitz at October 28, 2008 9:38 AM

I think I used to live in Broccoli town, too. Only it was called Flint, Michigan when I was there.

When I told my mom that my friends said broccoli was poison, she said that was part of the evil plan.

My therapist thanks you for stirring up these memories.

Posted by: i am feathermaye at October 28, 2008 9:41 AM

I can't post a pic of Alicia unless she says it's okay first. Lisa is getting me in touch with her. If she says it's okay, I'll post it.


Posted by: Steve at October 28, 2008 9:44 AM

Oh my gosh, that is so funny! What a crazy, small world we live in. Can't wait to hear about the reunion.

Posted by: Sara at October 28, 2008 9:45 AM

You need to get her "okay". Even if it requires a head lock and noogies!

Posted by: jimbizzle at October 28, 2008 9:47 AM

Did you come clean that you aren't 18 years old? and how did they ever figure out this connection??

Posted by: Catherine at October 28, 2008 9:47 AM

What a wonderful, heart-warming story, and what a small, broccoli world we live in. I can't wait to hear how this fateful reunion pans out. Will there be tears? Will there be crudite? I wait anxiously to hear more.

Posted by: Jaime at October 28, 2008 9:49 AM

yea, I'm really curious how Lisa figured out who she was.

And whether or not they actually had broccoli.

Can you get to broccoli town from that secret spot in Halloween Land from Nightmare Before Christmas?

Posted by: kirk at October 28, 2008 9:52 AM

Hi Steve! I too used to type in random words + .com in 1998! I never discovered anything so magical as Broccoli Town.

I specifically remember being shocked that ihateyou.com was a gay porn site.

...yep. I just checked, though, and the domain name is for sale. Perhaps the dream will live again!

Posted by: Canaduck at October 28, 2008 9:58 AM

THIS IS HOW THEY GET YOU. Alicia is part of the conspiracy, and now Lisa is in on it too.

I think this was no broccoli accident.

Posted by: the slackmistress at October 28, 2008 10:03 AM

My question is...in Broccoli town, how do they know when it's garbage day? Broccoli smells like old moldy feet even when it's fresh!

Posted by: Apt at October 28, 2008 10:15 AM

You can still visit Broccoli town thanks to the time and space bending powers of the wayback machine on the Internet archive website. Here's a link to BROCCOLI TOWN!


Sadly Steve's email was not saved. I checked everywhere but sadly it is lost in the bowls of time.

Posted by: Gary Woodhouse at October 28, 2008 10:17 AM

@ kirk -- I've gotta figure that Lisa and Alicia, while being strangers, happened for whatever reason to be attending the same social function, and in the course of their conversation, (probably discussing their careers) mentioned that she'd been involved with the broccoli.com site. Lisa, not quite able to recall the details of Steve's past interaction with the site, IM'd him to find out, and hilarity ensued.

A bit of a coincidence -- just how much of one I could't gauge without knowing more about the individuals involved and their work histories -- but it's Steve's masquerading as an 8 year old in his 1998 correspondence that really puts this one over the top.

Posted by: darren at October 28, 2008 10:27 AM

You are so totally set for life, broccoli-wise!

Posted by: Tammy at October 28, 2008 10:51 AM

Oh my broccoli! I laughed so freaking hard at the text msg exchange with Lisa! Can't wait for on the Broccoli town reunion ;)

Posted by: Jason Fittipaldi at October 28, 2008 10:57 AM

So... broccoli is the gateway vegetable for stalkers?

Posted by: JadeTalon at October 28, 2008 11:00 AM

Just curious, have you compared the sketch of the Tree Brain Bandit to Alicia's pic? Some say there are no coincidences in life.

Posted by: tom in omaha at October 28, 2008 11:01 AM

Broccoli Town sounds magical. Only the power of such magic could produce this glorious tale.

Posted by: GL at October 28, 2008 11:07 AM

Here is the archived version of broccoli.com from 1999

I swear I used to go to greengiant.com and click on the jolly green giant over and over again just to hear him say "ho ho ho!"

Posted by: Jason at October 28, 2008 11:46 AM

ooops - looks like Gary beat me to it... :(

Posted by: Jason at October 28, 2008 11:46 AM

Once again proof that the world is creepy and small. *shudders*

Posted by: Mark at October 28, 2008 11:50 AM

Man, I wished I lived in Broccoli Town.

Posted by: Adoring Fan at October 28, 2008 12:04 PM

omg that is too funny! What are the chances of that happening? You should post the pic, if you can (if it's not impolite for privacy reasons).

Posted by: spleeness at October 28, 2008 12:11 PM

What no comments on Mann Packing???

Posted by: PapaKwanza at October 28, 2008 12:20 PM

"I can't believe you just ate broccoli for 3 hours with alicia"
~really funny punch line... lol

Posted by: Davis at October 28, 2008 1:27 PM

This might just be one of my favorite posts of yours. Brilliant!!

There is so much more to this story that I want to hear so you'd BETTER keep us posted

Posted by: LilSass at October 28, 2008 1:27 PM

I think on our next world tour The Tree Brain's should play a free gig in Broccoli Town.

Posted by: tjet at October 28, 2008 1:28 PM

i still think broccoli is poison and i'm 29.

so there, broccoli town.

Posted by: dan at October 28, 2008 1:32 PM

I want to live in broccoli town! Right now I'm currently living in "Let's all be pretentious jackasses and act like we're rich and far above everyone as we hand our server a coupon land" and let me tell you, I'm gonna fucking kill someone here. I think the prison system in broccoli land would be much better.

Posted by: kim at October 28, 2008 2:41 PM

More broccoli residents:

Posted by: Bram at October 28, 2008 3:19 PM

I love how excited everyone is about broccoli. It makes me...nah, I still want a burger.

Posted by: Hilldiggity at October 28, 2008 3:44 PM

I must know what Alicia thinks of this-- the faces of hidden spies peeking out from Cascadian Farms' frozen broccoli (http://bread-and-honey.blogspot.com/2008/10/wtf-broccoli.html). It's fascinating and frightening all at the same time.

Posted by: LiteralDan at October 28, 2008 4:14 PM

You want weird? This evening, before reading this entry, I bought a bag of frozen broccoli florets. I haven't bought broccoli in over a year.

Posted by: Colon Blow at October 28, 2008 4:45 PM

I want to go to Broccoli Rabe Town.

Posted by: Don at October 28, 2008 5:18 PM

My first time here, and hooked after the first story!

Posted by: Cory at October 28, 2008 11:13 PM

Be careful Steve! Alicia will say.. 'Have this broccoli, its FREE!'. Then you're hooked and next thing you know, you lose your house to pay for broccoli!

Posted by: Shadow at October 29, 2008 4:35 AM

Be careful Steve! Alicia will say.. 'Have this broccoli, its FREE!'. Then you're hooked and next thing you know, you lose your house to pay for broccoli!

Posted by: Shadow at October 29, 2008 4:36 AM

I used to live in broccoli town. It was nice...much better than cauliflower town. They were a bunch of white supremacists.

Posted by: arcsus at October 29, 2008 5:55 AM

One day when I was new to working in a supermarket bakery, a terrible stench wafted through the work area. I looked around, wondering who's anus this cloud of noxiousness just leaked out of.

This happened a few times before I learned that that smell coincided with the produce section getting a batch of fresh broccoli.

Posted by: Terry at October 29, 2008 5:57 AM

I forgot to mention what my above comment has to do with Broccoli Town-- Well, in Broccoli Town, you can fart with total impunity.

Posted by: Terry at October 29, 2008 6:01 AM

Broccoli Town is so much better than its evil counterpart, Okra Town.

Posted by: GDad at October 29, 2008 6:32 AM

The Broccoli Town post is exactly why I love The Sneeze. Looking forward to pics of the reunion!

Posted by: Johnnylaw at October 29, 2008 7:31 AM

So I came back to read more fabulous comments, then headed over to the AV Club where a link to the article "I vant to suck your broccoli: 23 unusual vampire variations" popped out at me.

I declare this Serendipitous Wednesday! (At least for me.) Broc on...

Posted by: Hilldiggity at October 29, 2008 7:47 AM

I can't believe you're planning a reunion with broccoli lady, yet you *still* haven't sent me any of your blood or drugs.

Priorities, Steve. You don't seem to have them.

Posted by: Jenny, Bloggess at October 29, 2008 9:20 AM

~coming out of lurk~

oh man - broccoli town sounds much more fun than a lot of places.

Posted by: Jemez2 at October 29, 2008 10:48 AM

Yeah Steve, better get with the program and send The Bloggess some of your blood, AND drugs, like right away. Because... because... wait, I'm thinking.. because she doesn't eat her broccoli and human blood (and drugs) are all she has to keep her alive!!! Whew, that was tough. Must be coffee time.

Posted by: davido at October 29, 2008 11:31 AM

Is it too forward of me to tell you that I love you? In a non-stalker, non-creepy, totally platonic sort of way of course, but I do. Because of stories like this and, uhm, well practically every other story that you've ever posted.

Too awesome for words. Truly.

Posted by: pea at October 29, 2008 11:53 AM

**I used to live in broccoli town. It was nice...much better than cauliflower town. They were a bunch of white supremacists.**


My understanding is that Broccoli town and Cauliflower town were forced to merge due to budget issues. The result, of course, is Broccoflower town.

Posted by: Seitz at October 29, 2008 1:00 PM

Steve, this is the reason you are teh king of teh interweb!

Posted by: Andy at October 29, 2008 1:28 PM

Fantastic story there, Stevesie (I of course will blindly assume that it is perfectly alright if I call you Stevesie).

My only question is why Alicia only THINKS that she remembers you; I mean, how many other folks could she possibly be confusing you with?

Perhaps, however, I'm simply underestimating the amount of broccoli inquiries sent on a yearly basis. The poor woman may have been inundated with Broccoli Town questions for all I know...

Posted by: The Rev. at October 29, 2008 1:40 PM

i actually stumbled across thesneeze in a very similar fashion about four years ago

Posted by: thomas at October 29, 2008 5:32 PM

How does all this freaky stuff happen to you?? Is it just a coincidence that you have a blog that you need to come up with stories for, and these weird blog-worthy things keep happening to you?

Posted by: Holly at October 29, 2008 5:38 PM

When I worked at a gradeschool, we had a net nanny program that would block dangerous websites and send a message to us computer geeks if someone went to a naughty site. We would go running to the computer that triggered the alert so we could humiliate, tattle to parents, and/or crush the adventurous spirit of the little darling.

The music teacher there had frequent need of computer help and boredom relief. His epic level of laziness prevented him from actually calling us, though, so he would type in random sites in an attempt to trigger the blocking software. My favorite was when we were alerted that someone was using his computer to access www.midgetporn.com.

It was, of course, blocked. We laughed about it and I forgot about it until I read your post.

Yeah, I checked.

It exists and it's exactly what you think it is.

I'm starting to wonder if his entries were really as random as they appeared...

Posted by: Darkling at October 30, 2008 5:41 AM

Thank you for reminding me that it was you who introduced me to Hungrygirl.com!

Posted by: e tab at October 30, 2008 7:17 AM

I wonder if they make a broccoli wallet??

It could be friends with my bacon wallet!

Posted by: McStratman at October 30, 2008 9:30 AM

A while back I typed in gary.com and all there is on the page is a picture of some dude named Gary.

Posted by: nick at October 30, 2008 9:43 AM

i have a list of words i like (not based on their meanings, just the sound i guess) and broccoli is one of the top 5s. Both in english and spanish. Its just a nice word all around and i think broccoli town kicks ass. Im sorry Alice had to move out, its all downhill from there :(

Posted by: esther at October 30, 2008 1:28 PM


Posted by: the abominable cellist at October 30, 2008 6:24 PM

Dear Steve,
As you may have heard Australia is currently in a state of outrage after the savage beating of an elderly flamingo

This was a horrific act of non-sequitur violence. Is non-sequitur crime an issue in the US?

Posted by: Tim at October 30, 2008 6:53 PM

Posts like these make me love The Sneeze even more than humanly possible.

Posted by: Ade at October 30, 2008 10:29 PM

Um... speaking of non-sequiturs...

Posted by: Steve at October 31, 2008 9:13 AM

Oh Steve, I love you life.
Broccoli Town! What a killer...

Posted by: Rowan at October 31, 2008 9:56 AM

too cool, this article,I MEAN

Posted by: ted at November 2, 2008 6:00 AM

I used to type random words in google to see what kind of websites would show up. When I was tired I'd type tired. www.tired.com Tell them why!
In fact, thats exactly how I came across The Sneeze! I was doing that exact thing one day, and I sneezed. So I googled "sneeze" and happy day I came to your website.

Posted by: Amanda at November 3, 2008 10:27 PM