The Breakfast Cereal Guide to Life (And Not Being a Dumbass)

dumbasses guide to knowledge
March 19, 2017  
Categories: Musings

Breakfast cereal. It’s as American as reality TV, AR accessories, and overpaid athletes. In other countries, they don’t generally partake in it. In Europe, you are more likely to get a scone or croissant than a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Here’s my take on real-world applications of Cereal Theory.

Cereal Theory

I love a big bowl of presweetened goodness with multiple tablespoons of sugar on it. But as I finish it up and pick up the bowl to chug the remaining milk/sugar combo like the “money shot” at the end of a porn scene, I wonder what applications this has to the rest of my life.

Cereal Theory - Real-world application - milk splash

Cereal—“Part of a nutritious breakfast”

In other words, you get out of it what you put into it. Every commercial shows its cereal product along with a large glass of orange juice (fruits), toast (grains) and other items. The cereal by itself isn’t enough to sustain you but it is part of the healthy package.

Real-world Application

We all bring something to the table but it takes a combination of different types of people to make a good team. Think of any squad, platoon, or working group you’ve been in. The successful ones contained a mix of folks with different strengths and weaknesses. The guy who can troubleshoot every problem with an M240 machinegun may not be particularly adept at fire and maneuver tactics. The tactical expert might not be able to read a map. A good team complements each other’s strengths, compensates for individual weaknesses, and is collectively successful.

The ‘Lucky Charms” Cereal Theory

Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers (did you hear it in a leprechaun voice when you read it?). This was my “go-to” cereal as a kid. I devoured it. Like most kids though, I plowed through the marshmallow treats while skipping the “brown stuff” (oats, in case you’re wondering).

Cereal Theory - Lucky Charms - Real-World Application

Real-World Application of the “Lucky Charms” theory: Don’t stick with just the easy stuff.

Real-world Application

When training, whether it be firearms, martial arts, or Crossfit, you need to do the stuff you don’t want to do as well as the stuff you like to do. I know that on a B27 target I can repeatedly hit the 10X ring at 10 yards during unholstered slow fire. I can’t do the same thing from the holster in low light while operating a weapons light. But which is the more likely scenario? It’s easy to practice the things we’re good at. You have to force yourself to do the things you suck at and don’t enjoy. Think of the guy at the gym with the 48-inch chest and 24-inch biceps but whose legs resemble two toothpicks. Don’t forget leg day, bro.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – President John F Kennedy at Rice University, September 12, 1962.

JFK knew that, as Americans, we were going to have to eat the “brown stuff” too.

The Wonder of the Cereal Variety Pack

When we’d go on summer vacation my mom would buy the variety pack. It contained small boxes of all types of cereals. Like the Lucky Charms concept, the sugary cereal boxes would go first, followed by everything else.

Cereal Theory - Variety Pack

Cereal Theory – The Variety Pack makes you try something new.

Real-world Application

Force yourself to experience things you wouldn’t normally do. Go to a steak restaurant and order pork chops, read a book someone else recommended that isn’t in your normal reading category, go to a symphony. If you try five new things I guarantee you’ll find something you never knew you liked.

Know Where to Look for the Best Stuff

Marketing 101. Place the product in a location where consumers can see it and readily access it. Next time you’re at the market, check out the cereal aisle. The “fun” cereals are at about eye level for a child. The boring, healthy stuff is up high, out of their view. Despite not having any money, the kid is the actual consumer. They want the stuff with the prize inside, not the one that comes in a bag that’s high in fiber.

Cereal Theory - Nick Perna - Real-World Applications

Look at how the cereals are strategically displayed.

Real-world Application

Seek knowledge from a variety of sources. Wikipedia is great but it provides condensed internet descriptions of a person, place or thing written for internet users by internet users. If you want to learn about the Vietnam War, don’t just Google or it or watch on-demand shows from the History Channel. Get a book like About Face, Nam or We were soldiers Once and Young. Go to a VFW meeting and chat it up with someone who has actually been there.

Go talk to your “hippy” neighbor with the “Obama 2008”, “Obama 2012” and “Bernie Sanders 2016” stickers on the bumper of his Subaru Outback rather than the guy who lives across the street who has an “almost as good” gun collection as you. The fellow gun connoisseur is the low hanging fruit. You probably won’t learn anything from him. By seeking out the balding dude with a pony tail and Birkenstocks you might find out he actually has something interesting to say.

The George Soros follower/CNN Fan might even have some valid points. You might be able to glean a few useful facts to confront “Libtards” on Facebook and during family functions. At a minimum, you can ruin his day by telling him Whole Foods imports its “locally grown” frozen vegetables from China, or show him videos of Clinton and Obama talking tough about immigration in campaign speeches.

So remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Just be mindful of what you’re eating.

-Nick Perna



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Nick Perna

Nick Perna

About the Author

Nicholas Perna is a former Army officer from the 82nd Airborne turned Army Reservist and police officer who has (among other awards) been decorated for valor in the line of duty and a recipient of the Officer of the Year Award in his department. An EMT and current street crimes supervisor, Perna has worked detectives, patrol, street crime suppression, counter-gang, counter-narcotics, SWAT and in numerous other billets. As a police officer he's worked collateral assignments as a SWAT Team Leader, Firearms Instructor and Terrorism Liaison Officer; while active duty he served as an airborne medical platoon leader, company commander, battalion intelligence officer and battalion OPSO. A combat veteran, while serving in Iraq in '03 he led a team of SOF soldiers conducting psychological operations as part of Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula. Perna has previously been published in SWAT Magazine, Soldier of Fortune, Havok Journal, Police One, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, Counter Terrorist Magazine, the NTOA's Tactical Edge, the CATO Quarterly journal, the Homeland Security First Responder Network and other places. We don't know him well enough to make fun of him yet, but it certainly seems like he's a candidate for grumpy old man jokes like Hernandez and Reeder, and you can rest assured we're trying to get picture of him as a boot 2nd Lieutenant.


  1. Tennessee Budd

    “… the kid is the actual consumer…”

    Yep, but the parents are the ones with the money & the decision-taking power, so the kid eats what they buy. That, or they don’t get to eat (I have no time for “you’ll sit there until you eat that!”–I have things to do. Go hungry today, you’re less likely to choose to do so tomorrow.).

  2. Johnnie "Doc" Lawson

    The Best Lt. I’d EVER been issued in a Career in Both the 82nd Airborne, And 5th SFG!

    Fearless, Compassionate, And Capable of Independent Thought & Deed!

  3. Christian Mattei

    You had me at “money shot”! Excellent info, nicely written.

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