EggoWaffles: Why I’m Now In Jail

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I had an odd moment this morning. I was at work, just coming off of my mid-morning nap and wanting a quick snack before I took my ten o’clock smoke-break. When I wandered into the lunch room and opened the fridge door, I noticed some Eggo Waffles in there. I was about to steal one (because if it’s in the damn fridge then it’s fair game and you all know it, so quit sending me passive-aggressive e-mails) but I stopped myself because I remembered the slogan: “Leggo my Eggo”. There must be some kind of a Jedi mind-trick-thing going on here because I left the waffles alone for the morning and wandered back to my desk to stare at the clock for a while (just as I is stated in my job description I assume).

But I couldn’t get the waffles out of my mind for the rest of the day, and the distraction totally ruined my afternoon Minesweeper marathon. I grew up in the eighties and breakfast food commercials were all the rage on Saturday mornings. You’d watch some overly conservative cartoons, eat cereal with warm water because you were out of milk and the magic TV box would show you some bullshit about what breakfast is supposed to be like (apparently it looks suspiciously similar to your brain on drugs). A commercial like that should have faded to background noise in my memory — along with everything I learned prior to sixth grade considering how much model glue I’ve been huffing lately — but the Eggo slogan has survived in there alive and well to this very day.

I think the reason it stands out so much is that it’s the only slogan of its ilk that relies completely on generating conflict. Most other products have a lighter sales pitch by comparison. Currently, the Cheerios people are trying to guilt-trip you into eating their cereal by reminding you that it will reduce the chances of your children watching your heart pop like an infected pimple because they know you’re pumping more Mountain Dew through your veins than blood at this point. Raisin Brain seems to want to just stick to the facts with their “Two Scoops” campaign, so that’s pretty nice. It’s short, to the point and goes out of its way to pretend you give a shit about the raisins which is naive but you have to appreciate the effort. Tony the Tiger just says, “They’re great!” so I’m guessing his scarf has started to cut off the circulation to his head and that’s the only thought left his brain can form what with the oxygen starvation – but at least he’s not acting like a dick.

Kelloggs could have gone with any number of tactics to push their toaster-ruining-butter-delivery-systems, but they chose to reach out to the hyper-aggressive pricks in all of us. Doesn’t it seem like “Leggo my Eggo” is a shortened version of what originally continued with, “… or I will fucking cut you.” There’s definitely the hint of some ambiguous threat in there, like they’re just waiting for someone to step up and start some shit. And you know what? It’s clearly worked because here it is, twenty years later and I’m still thinking about it, which is exactly what every advertising executive’s wet dream is. I don’t know whether the marketing team that came up with it deserves a handshake for successfully figuring out how to manipulate a bunch of sugar-high adolescents into fighting over what basically amounts to stale toast, or if they should be punched in nuts for turning us into a generation of greedy waffle-hoarding chest-pounders. Whatever the case, I’d love to see their cutting room floor. Here are my predictions:

  • Pop Tarts: They’re two to a package and if you touch either one of them, I’ll punch you as hard as I can directly in the asshole.
  • Granola Bars: I truly and sincerely hope with all of my heart that you choke on it, you self-centered jack off.
  • Aunt Jemima Pancakes: There are eight in every box. Now go fuck yourself.

The more I dwell on this the more I feel there’s something malicious at the heart of it. Prepackaged breakfast foods are supposed to be fun and light-hearted. Why did the Eggo people have to go and try to piss me off? I was perfectly fine, going about my life in my happy little bubble when suddenly I’m being challenged to a pit-fight over some toast-able shit-wafers. The next thing I know, I’m wrapping a brick into a towel and I’ve got grease paint under my eyes (because for some reason, that seems to help).

The whole thing is making me paranoid. With everything else I’ve got going on in my life, now I have to worry about waffle thieves? Is this a problem in other areas of the country or something? Maybe it’s one of those unexpected results of Obamacare I’m always hearing about. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure no one’s trying to steal my food; yet Kelloggs has me growling like an underfed pit bull every time someone wanders within smelling distance of my breakfast and it’s greatly decreasing my chances of getting a promotion anytime soon.

It’s sad to think about how I used to be relatively safe to be around. I’m normally pretty calm unless disturbed during one of my clearly scheduled workday nap-times. But the Eggo slogan isn’t just a warning about marauding bandits seeking out freshly frozen morning-time confections. No, there’s a challenge in there. They’re looking for trouble and I’m only human. Once that gauntlet has been thrown down, my lizard-brain takes over and I start seeing feeling the need to exert my dominance. It’s the law of the jungle and the alpha-male is going to get to eat what he wants or die trying. This is what the aggressive Eggo marketing campaign has pushed us to as a society: a perfectly reasonable man being driven to punching a secretary in the throat just to steal her freshly popped Eggo waffles.

The weird thing is I don’t even like Eggo waffles. I think they taste like they could give you hepatitis C. You can’t even get butter to spread evenly on them. It just ends up melting into the little pockets and creating this soggy little swimming pool that you have to lap up like a thirsty dog. At this point, you might as well just melt of stick of butter in a cup and drink it because it’s a whole lot easier to get the same affect. Why would I risk my freedom as an American citizen and the rights and privileges intrinsic therein for a half-burned, dried-out biscuit that – let’s face it – is mostly air? These are the thoughts that run through my head as I lock myself in the bathroom trying to cram as many waffles into my mouth as possible before the police come to drag me off to yet another arraignment hearing.

I’ll admit, maybe this is more of a personal problem regarding my unhealthy relationship with food than a broader social issue; at least that’s what the district attorney keeps telling me. But it doesn’t excuse the Eggo marketing team for turning to the dark side in order to up the sales on their tasteless food-discs. I haven’t been this angry since my ill-fated attempt to eat just one Lays potato chip ended up in an armed standoff with federal law enforcement.

The point here is that this is America, and we’re kind of prone to violence at the best of times. It seems irresponsible to push our angry-buttons just to sell some prepackaged ass-cakes. We’re all trying to hold it together long enough to get through another nerve-grating day in the cube-farm while the invisible hand of the market keeps trying to bitch-slap us into throwing punches over snack-food. I think responsibility for any altercations should rest totally on Kellogg’s shoulders and all I need is one juror to agree with me on this.

You know what? I’ve got a good feeling about this trial.

 

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On Becoming a Vampire – Humble advice from BillieX

So it’s Friday morning and of course I’m thinking of vampires. Specifically, vampires are awesome and I really wish they were real. And I’m not talking in a metaphorical “Lawyers are bloodsucking vampires” kind of way, but more of a substantial “Ask your doctor if being a vampire is right for you” sort of real.

I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. In fact, I’ve been to a goth-club before (something about fishnet gloves on a rail-thin corpse-bride just gets me going) so I know that there’s a very large, though socially awkward portion of American culture that agrees with me: vampires are awesome and I want to be one.

Now, a few words on the bad rep that vampires get in the media: it’s all a load of shit. You go back far enough, and some old-fart types in the Middle Ages decided vampires were horrible monsters that prey on innocent humans and there’s probably some crap about being Godless and evil and blah blah blah. This mindset took hold all the way until the 20th century when Anne Rice wrote some novels that finally accepted the fact that we really want to fuck them. But even then, there’s this elegiac quality to the whole thing, like being a flesh-and-blood human is somehow better than sleeping all day and going out to have ultra-hot, moonlit, undead sex all night. I think it has something to do with them not having a soul or some half-baked religious bullshit like that. But I’m not really using my soul for anything, so what’s the big deal?

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Here’s the thing: if it’s fun and cool, then chances are some puritanical buzz-kill is going to try to make you feel bad about it. They called rock-and-roll the devil’s music; they said comic books were going to rot our brains; they said that television would destroy the family unit; and they said that porn would turn us into a bunch of masturbating sub-humans. Aside from that last one, they were wrong on every point.

Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that vampires hunt humans for food. Well, I’ve met a few humans in my life and I have to say I’m not impressed, so let’s just give them a pass on that one.

This sad-eyed, ultra-depressed “poor me, I’m a monster who has to live in the shadows” whining shit you see in the movies has got to be just bad press. Sure there are some drawbacks, but they don’t seem so bad when you really think about them. If you shove a stake through a vampire’s heart, they die, but then again so would anything else. There’s this thing about vampires not being able to enter your home without being invited in but that’s also true for anyone who’s not a career criminal. They can’t touch garlic, but there are tons of available and very reasonably priced spices that you can still use so I think it’s the kind of thing you can learn to live with. And I’ve heard something about not being able to cross running water but I don’t even know what the fuck that means so we’ll just pass it over.

Never seeing the sun again might suck a little bit but I’ve always thought the sun was kind of over-rated (ohhhhh, I’m a class three yellow-star and I think I’m so special ‘cause I’m all shiny.Whatever).

Now consider all the benefits you get from being a vampire. There’s the obvious stuff: super strength, super speed, shape shifting and a weird new relationship with curtains and open windows – straight-up superhero shit. Then there’s the really cool stuff: good looks for life, credibility when buying a black Mercedes and wearing a black trench coat without having to be a private detective. You never see one get the flu either. There seems to be some money involved too – ever seen one shopping at Dollar General? Oh, and let’s not forget the whole never dying thing. If you can keep your ass away from holy-water, sunlight and wooden stakes then you can do just about anything else you want. Sign me up.

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What part about this doesn’t sound awesome? Why the hell wouldn’t people be standing in line for this stuff? How come in movies and TV shows it’s always some kind of horrible transgression when a vampire “turns” someone? It sounds to me like it’s the world’s biggest favor: “Hey, wanna never get sick again? Want a credible reason to quit your nine-to-five? Want good looks for life and the ability to get laid in an unending procession of gothy, one-night-stand, freaky fuck-fests?”

How’s about yes? How’s about right now?

But no, they’re not real. Black holes are real, but vampires are just a work of fiction and people like me don’t get to be one. It’s total bullshit. They can make pills that will give you a boner so hard you’ll wind up in the emergency room (for some reason) but they can’t make you into a vampire. So it goes: the closest thing to vampires we get in this world is Dick Cheney and I really don’t want him to touch me.

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G.I. Joe: The Real American Police State

Yeah, it’s time to go there.

If you grew up in the 1980’s, there’s no doubt you’ve been exposed to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and its ubiquitous themes of good vs. evil. It’s just the kind of thing that we needed to gobble up as children to make us all good, pure Americans: there are hero‘s, there are bad-guys, and the only way to determine what side wins is to duke it out urban-combat style on top of the Statue of Liberty. Back then there wasn’t all this subtext and humor involved in the production of after-school programming: just make sure you can market a toy line (and try not to draw nipples on anything) and you were good to go.

So I’m sitting at work, drowning in a sea of mindless paperwork, dwelling on my misspent youth and then I get to thinking about how G.I. Joe was probably the most suspicious thing running on television in the 1980’s (and yes, that’s what I think about at work because damned it, I can’t leave it up to you). You see, while we were all getting jazzed up about Duke, Flint and the rest of the A-Squad of stock cartoon hero’s suiting up for battle against the D-students of international terrorism, we were secretly selling out our own country to the moneyed interests that now control the world (thanks a lot, Hasboro).

Already I sense I’m losing you, but hang in there because this shit gets deep. Sure, we’ve all got our warm-fuzzy memory goggles on when we think about our old cartoon heroes, but what do we really know about them? Think about G.I. Joe for a moment: Who the hell are these people? I know what they tell us they are, but do you trust the government enough to believe it? Because it’s been my experience that our military has a very strict dress code and half these guys would be thrown in the brig for showing up to work dressed like that. Sure, they all kind of wear something that looks like a military uniform, but it’s all personalized for branding purposes; and then there’s whatever the hell Scarlet was wearing that looks lingerie over a scuba suit.

And let’s not forgot that this was the era before Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, so does someone want to explain to me what Gung-Ho was all about?

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That guy looks like he’s got his own leather bar named after him. I’m not judging; I’m as liberal as the next guy and I think it‘s great that he‘s open about his sexuality. I’m just saying that back then, you weren’t allowed to be out in the military and there’s no way he wouldn’t have had a couple of “personal conduct hearings” scheduled every other week.

So, were they military? No, they were mercenaries, plain and simple. They didn’t answer to the hierarchy of the American government or the people represented thereby. Maybe they swore an oath or two (they seem like the idealistic types that would do that pretty regularly) but at the end of the day, that paycheck wasn’t coming from the taxpayers.

You might be thinking, whatever, big deal, they‘re American Heroes. Well it is a big deal because look at what kind of hardware they’re working with. They’ve got fighter jets, heavy ordinance missiles, tanks, etc… They’ve even got real, working jetpacks and their own aircraft carrier. I don’t think I’m comfortable with someone’s private military having access to this kind of arsenal, I don’t care how damned American they want to call themselves. I know there’s this huge debate about Second Amendment rights and what they mean and who they mean it for and I’m not here to arbitrate that stuff (yet). I’m just saying that they have all this tech and a huge base that’s got anti-aircraft guns hanging off of it every three feet and I’m wondering what the hell they’re planning because it’s probably not cool.

And who the fuck is bankrolling this? We all know there are bearded, pot-bellied militia guys out there ready to take on the government the moment Jesus gives the go-ahead; but let’s face it, they don’t have the kind of money it takes to buy an aircraft carrier. Even Blackwater can’t cough up that kind of cash. There’s some real high rollers calling the shots over at G.I. Joe headquarters and it’s making me damned suspicious. Anyone else think if you go up the chain of command far enough, you get to one of the Koch brothers?

Speaking of douche-nozzles with dreams of controlling the world, who the hell is Cobra? As far as I can recall, they only had one goal in mind: global domination through brute force, which included such brilliantly drafted schemes like creating a weather device that blows up when you look at it cross-eyed. Who the hell thinks like that? They couldn’t successfully dominate a 7-11, let alone the world. And where are they getting their money from anyways, the other Koch brother? Even so, do they really warrant the kind of resources G.I. Joe is spending fighting them? Wouldn’t we be better off if the Joes were looking at something a bit more pressing, like Al-Qaeda or North Korea? I’m just saying, if they were on the up and up they’d be getting somereal shit done and Cobra Commander would be the laughing stock of Guantanamo Bay right now.

Despite all of this, the part that really gets my hairs up are those stupid PSA’s they ran at the end of every episode. I think we all remember the setup: some prepubescent delinquent sets his mom’s house on fire because it’s the first time he’s ever even seen a lighter and one of the Joe’s shows up in the nick of time to lower the collective I.Q. of America by saving the little brat before natural selection can take its predestined course. Anyone ever wonder why these guys are just wandering around the streets of Every-Where-You-Look America, having private, teachable moments with children? Am I the only one who thinks this is fucking weird? Can you say “propaganda warfare”? I went my entire child-hood without seeing some sweaty mercenary on a playground stopping me from sticking myself with discarded hypodermic needles; and damned it I’m a better man for it.

What the hell are they doing there anyways? Shouldn’t they be in some kind of post-traumatic-stress group-therapy or training for their next mission to save the world or something? No, they’re strolling around ice-cream parlors, looking for the weakest links among us to brainwash, getting us used to seeing paramilitary personnel on the streets for our collective “safety“. Maybe I’m just crazy but that strikes me as being the setup to a complete takeover of America and the beginnings of martial law. Who knows where it goes from there; after all, they’ve got that creepily ambiguous saying: “Knowing is half the battle.”

What’s the other half, ethnic cleansing?

That’s right, I’m on to you, G.I. Joe. I’m out there every day getting the word to the people. You won’t take this country without a fight. The message is resonating: we know who you are and we know what you’re up to. This is our country and it’s not for sale, so your corporate overlords will have to find a new stretch of dirt to invade with its private army. Pack up your troops, your bases, your tanks, your aircraft carriers, leave Scarlet and her leotard behind, and leave us in peace, less you find yourself facing an enemy that uses actual bullets.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have to go take my medication and get back to work.