A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || October 5, 2000 || 12:47 am

There are times when a person is rudely yanked out of the present by some associative smell, by something seen that triggers a memory, by something uttered from the lips of someone (said someone having had no idea that the turn of the phrase they just gave voice to would cause a minor fold in their listener’s space-time continuum). The past moment, now that the linchpin is pulled, comes banging and clanging into the present without any foreshadowed knowledge or even the slightest peep of a warning. It can be insanely overwhelming, to say the least.

This has been happening to me a whole lot lately.
That having been said, lemme tell you a fucking story, boys and girls.

There was a time in my life when things were really, really off-center in the whole three-squares-a-day department. Three squares a week were not even the norm. Shitty school lunches were the highlight of the day, and God help us on weekends. Dad had bailed to go chase some tail and powder his nose (“Must be a little chalk dust, punkin’…”) and generally live it up in the worst/best midlife crisis fashion. Mom worked her ass off shuffling real estate (or trying her goshdarnedest to in what was at the time a male-dominated market) literally 19 hours a day to keep the heat on in the only home we had ever known.

In the little Oklahoma town that we lived in at the time, there was no such thing as Catholic Relief and my mother was staunchly against joining the welfare rolls. We came from the deep south and there was a large stigma attached. Ma’s reasoning was that her girls may not be garbed in the height of fashion any longer, but they sure weren’t gonna be wearing the almighty cloak of poor white trash. Pride has no nutritional value, you see, so it did no good to swallow it. What was the point, after all? My job was to keep the house tidy, make sure my tomboyish sister didn’t stray too far past the now-empty barn or permanently disfigure herself in her wanderings, proof the homework and guard what little food we had from her constantly-rumbly tummy. I tell you all this not to elicit sympathy, just to give you some background that is instrumental in this particular tale. I survived to become the closet genius and Mountain Dew (proudly manufactured and distributed by Pepsico) lover that I am today.

Quick, throw on the brakes and join me in the ever-present today. I was wandering through a toy store a couple of days ago taking stock of the coming holiday season’s offerings for the young ‘uns. I cruised down the doll aisle and happened to catch sight of some hideous little Campbell’s Kids (you know, like the soup) dolls. This particular pair, adorned garishly in wedding finery, scooped me up and slammed me face-first onto memory lane. It was very, very yucky.

“How can two little dollies do such a thing?” you ask. “They are made to bring companionship and pleasure and many hours of fun play into lives (sounds like a dildo advertisement, right?) all over the free world.” Get comfy, fellas, ’cause here comes the crux of it. Ready?

Pan back to the past: One afternoon, the phone rang. Mom was –as always– at work. My sister was playing (oddly enough) quietly. I picked up the phone to hear the booming, boisterous voice of a gentleman on the other end. He rattled off the call letters to the local radio station and informed me that we were randomly chosen to participate in a promotional contest and that I was live on the air. If I could sing the Campbell’s Soup jingle, I would win TWO WHOLE CASES of Campbell’s Soups.

Oh, this was SO grand! My mind was reeling, but I got hold of my thoughts and managed to drag up the image of those delightful little Campbell’s Kids dancing in grandiose cartoon fashion and sing-songing that WONDERFUL SOUP-WINNING JINGLE! Hallelujah and shave the monkeys, I knew that damned jingle and I sang it with tentative excitement and anticipation. Upon finishing, the DJ loudly and proudly announced me victorious. I had won! We had food at long last! GOOD food and God only knew how long I could stretch two whole cases of soup betwixt the lot of us! Oh, thank you merciful heavens! I have seen the promised land and it is flowing with cream of mushroom, it is strewn with chicken noodle!

I was nearly jumping out of my skin as I dialed my mother’s work number. I was fortunate enough to catch her in the office and not out on a call. I hurriedly related the recently-transpired events to her and I could hear the smile in her voice at my enthusiasm. “Mom, mom, we have some FOOD! I won food for us!” and I started to tell her my plans for rationing and stretching our good fortune. Maybe things were starting to look up…

In the background I heard a male voice begin to sing the Campbell’s jingle. “Hey mom, who is that? Did they hear me on the radio or something?” My mother fell quiet and at that moment, in the best display of bad timing ever in the history of man, my mom’s prankster co-worker picked up the extension and began sing-songing the jingle in a little-girl falsetto.

“Hey girl, I really hadja goin’, huh?” I was stunned into silence and my gut slid down the front of my knees as I slowly settled the receiver in it’s cradle. I slumped into a chair, putting my head down on our heavy oak table. The sobs were so low and big that as I heard them, I was vaguely amazed that they were brought forth from a little-girl body. The phone rang and rang and rang and I never answered it.

Those fucking dolls. Those fucked-up grody-looking dolls. I was okay not remembering that story. Give to Toys for Tots, you fucks, and include a motherfucking ham. And don’t you DARE look into your refrigerator replete with condiments ever again and say you have nothing to eat, because you DO. You and I both know you do. Be thankful, ingrates. The world owes you not a fucking thing.

Postscript to this story….the dude who phoned to prank me was a really great fellow and had no earthly idea what a mindfuck it would be. Had he known our situation afterward, it would have broken his heart to know that he had goofed on me in that regard. Don’t hold it against him. HE SIMPLY DIDN’T KNOW.

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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