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©June 1998

Carol Jane Remsburg

 

 

 





 

HOTDOGS, APPLEPIE, AND  JINGLES

 

 

 

At the heart of Americana, we envision sunshine, small town parades, and the Stars and Stripes gently waving in the breeze.  Beneath the blue skies small children frolic about while the adults look on misty-eyed with pride.  Our busy currency states: “In God We Trust,” and for those of us who wax nostalgic, we can almost see Him smiling down benevolently on us.  Oh, such it is only in Norman Rockwell’s world.

 

However, at certain times of the year like the coming Fourth of July, folks just naturally wish it were our reality.  We whitewash over the ugly and put on our best faces to entertain or be entertained by others at large family barbecues, community events, or our employers.  These are the endurance runs.  The remainder of us hide in our homes and just hope it blows over quietly.  Why all the fuss and worry?  Because the latest crush of jingles is coming our way—that’s why.

 

If you don’t know what I mean about maddening jingles then your ears have been plugged for the last fifty years.  Being that it’s nearing the 4th, well, there is always a story to tell.  Last Friday, on my weekly grocery foray, little Erin stayed with my sis, while I took Betsy’s eldest, a seventeen year-old with me.  Just after the finishing the first aisle of fresh veges we happened upon the cold meats that also house the hot-dogs.  I selected a couple a packages to squirrel away in the freezer when a little voice barked inside my head.  It was a few steps later when I realized that it wasn’t just inside my head.  Jamie was trying, and not successfully to render the Armour® hot-dog jingle. 

 

It was off-key, out of rhythm and sync, and the words weren’t right, but it was still there.  When I told her that she didn’t have it right, then she besieged me to correct it for her.  Being an adult, still groggy from the day’s toils with many more yet ahead, I stopped the cart and fell into a trance-like state while trying hard to retrieve those few silly words.  Computers will do this lots of times while attempting to process something nearly irretrievable.  You may bang on their keyboards, scream, and rattle their hard-drives, and they still stay in that locked up status.  I’ll admit, my hard-drive is older than any computer’s, but it did finally come around—and when it did, I couldn’t shut it off.

 

“ARMOUR HOT-DOGS, WHAT KIND OF KIDS EAT ARMOUR HOT-DOGS?  FAT KIDS, SKINNY KIDS, KIDS WHO CLIMB ON ROCKS.  TALL KIDS, SHORT KIDS, EVEN KIDS WITH CHICKEN POX LOVE HOT-DOGS.  ARMOUR HOT-DOGS, THE DOGS KIDS LOVE TO BITE!” 

 

It blared out of me at full force.  Oblivious to my fellow shoppers who leveled nervous stares in my direction.  My focus to recover that now non-politically correct jingle was total.  My own computer had forgotten to reset my volume control which was set on high to my niece’s glee.

 

I shook my head, my eye-blink rate returned, and the cart began moving forward.  Still I wasn’t myself.  The jingle had me tightly within it’s grasp.  My little Sir Echo grabbed up the gauntlet and began an incessant repetition.  Then, all my mind could grasp were those 37 words, in order, and in tune.  I began to blindly toss items in the cart in a rush to exit the store because I knew another wave was coming soon.  Not just one jingle but a mountain of them were about to descend.

 

Even the computerized blips of the automated checkout couldn’t drown out that nerve shattering jingle.  No matter, I knew a way it would leave.  I scrawled a blurb on a check and made a fast escape from those curious eyes.  The foodstuffs were flung into the back of the car as Jamie kept up her refrain.  We laughed, because she knew what was coming. 

 

The only way to rid yourself of an insane tune that has attached itself so uncomfortably is to belt it out.  It was a very warm night, but we forwent the air conditioning those two miles back to my sister’s house.  We rolled down the windows and drove very slowly screaming out the words to that jingle—over, and over, and over again.  Granted, we garnered even more strange stares, but I just didn’t want to get home and have it still haunting me.

 

We were exhausted by the time we reached the house.  I snatched Erin up and away for the ride home, relaxed that no other jingle was coming.  After unloading all the goodies, I went about my other chores only to fall into my chair for a few minutes before bed.  Then it happened.

 

“MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME. . . . .”

 

 

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