The memory took me by surprise.
Was it the smell, sweet and fruity ... or maybe the bright yellow of the package on the seat next to me? Whatever it was that triggered my strong recollection made me sing. Okay, so maybe not sing so much as belt out awkwardly ... and loudly ...
“Oo-ey, goo-ey, rich and chewy inside. Rich and golden, tender, flaky outside. Put the inside in the outside. Is it good? Darn tootin’! Doin’ the big, Fig Newton!”
Here’s the tricky part.
“The big Fig Newton!”
I was stopped at the light, smiling, pleased with myself over my impromptu recital. As the light turned green I glanced to my right to see a man sitting in a blue Dodge drinking a cup of coffee. Had he heard me, seen me moving side to side in my seat? The speed in which he took off implied an eagerness to get far, far away from the weird woman in little silver car. That would be me.
I was not ashamed. Fig Newtons rock.
I finished my pitiful, albeit delicious, breakfast consisting of two Fig Newtons as I continued my drive into work, taking a moment to wonder whatever happened to the Big Fig Newton character I so loved as a child. He sang. He wore a big fig costume and wore tights and curly-toed shoes. He danced ... sort of. And he struck that iconic pose of one arm up and one foot out. He was awesome.
They don’t make commercials like that anymore.
Some may argue that’s a good thing. Me, not so much. I prefer the simpler times of the Big Fig Newton and the Hamburgler (Robble, Robble!) and the Ronco Mr. Microphone.
“Hey Good Lookin’. We’ll be back to pick you up later!”
Today, instead of Mr. Whipple telling us not to squeeze the Charmin, we have cartoon bears in the forest with toilet paper stuck to their rear ends. I don’t get it.
Apparently there are laws that deal with advertising, and a case a few years back known as the “Charmin Ultra Bears” case established that “product demonstrations must accurately show a product’s performance, characteristics or features” — even if the “demonstration” is simply toilet paper on a cartoon bear’s behind.
Kimberly-Clark Corp. complained about its rival Procter & Gamble’s campaign claiming that Charmin toilet paper leaves “fewer pieces behind” than K-C’s Cottonelle. The National Advertising Division ruled that the cartoon bears in the P&G ad must be drawn with “at least a few specs of cartoon toilet paper on their rears to accurately reflect that Charmin leaves fewer pieces behind, but not no pieces behind.”
I have many questions, not the least of which are do bears even use toilet paper and, if so, where do they buy it? I have yet to see a bear walking through Publix or Piggly Wiggly or even Wal-Mart. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just not shopping at the right times.
A friend offered another explanation.
“We don’t really have a lot of bears around here so you probably wouldn’t see them in the grocery store,” she said. Hmmmm. True, very true.
But wait a minute, I thought as she walked away. She said that so matter-of-factly, so seriously, like she might really believe that there could actually be bears along the Appalacian mountains that walk into Wal Mart and buy toilet paper.
I might need to go clear that one up.
Then again, who am I to say that a bear can’t use toilet paper just because I’ve never seen it. Surely an advertising company wouldn’t make something like that up. After all, do I really think that a 6-foot fig wearing tights and curly toed shoes can dance and sing?
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.