Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Somewhere in time

Because he left the US in 1986 at the impressionable age of 13, Eddie is a walking time capsule of TV commercial jingles that date from the time he left in the mid-80s. From that point on, his brain then began filling with French jingles from the past twenty years. Therefore, the last American commercials that he saw have remained in a remarkable state of preservation, ready to pop up by the slightest trigger. Because we grew up in the same city, these are jingles that lurk somewhere in dark recesses of my memory, but as my mind has been polluted by commercials from the 90s and aughts as well, they have a few more layers to push through and therefore I have forgotton most of them. But every once in a while, he will randomly sing one and I will immediately remember it, and it will take me back to the days of Hubba-Bubba and Keds, of being a latchkey kid growing up in southern California in the 1980s.

"Oh oh oh, ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie" he absent-mindedly sings as we tear into a bag purchased at the Gourmet section of Galeries Lafayette.

It's an odd reaction I have when one of these pops out of him. An immediate wave of recognition washes over me, followed by a practically visual transportation back in time, a feeling of childhood revisited.

I look at him. "Keeps your milk from getting lonely", I say. "I haven't thought about that commercial in decades."

We spend the next half hour trying unsuccessfully to remember the rest of the lyrics, but the only thing we can come up with is the last line, in which the name of the cookie is musically spelled out: "O-R-E-O". Then we try to think of others we had forgotton about.

Penguin's Frozen Yogurt (tastes like it's bad for you).

Wendy's (Where's the Beef?!).

Whatever it is I think I see
Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me.

A sure sign of a childhood spent in southern California, we decide, is being able to recite catchy tunes from car lots in the southland cities.

Pete Ellis Ford
Long Beach freeway
Firestone exit

and of course, the ever famous Cal Worthington Ford jingle, "Howdy folks, I'm Cal Worthington and this is my dog Spot!" (Oddly enough, I don't remember seeing him with a dog, only a big scary looking tiger, and I think he was riding Shamu at some point too):

If you need a brand new car, go see Cal
If you need a brand new car, go see Cal
Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal!

Or something along those lines.

It never fails to amaze me, that thousands of miles away, I would have found someone who makes me feel like I am right at home...

"They forever go together, what a classic combination..."


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