15 August 2008

I Should Be In Jail Etc. Part 3: The Kreamening


Better products for better kreaming, through science.
Fig 1: A white lab-coated scientist, not unlike those who
create our favorite food products every day.


Greg:

With full knowledge that all I have told you thus far will undoubtedly be used against me in a court of law, a strange mix of pride, guilt and glee urges me on. I must tell you the Karnation Kem-Kreme story.

The year is 1986. I am working as an executive secretary for Carnation Corporation in Los Angeles, California. They hired me because I type 85WPM and I can answer the shit out of a telephone. Just you try and stop me.

Correction - I did type that fast until I effed up my right hand by jamming it into a mason jar and cutting the hell out of my right radial distal nerve. I didn't even know what a right radial distal nerve was until I severed the sumbitch. Now I have one good hand - the left hand, the evil hand , die hand die verletzt - and another one that is as numb as a churchgoer's ass. But that's another story.

I feel all jibbity-jibbity suddenly. Are there weasels in my duodenum?

Wait - you know what' s going on? They put sugar in my smoothie. Those guys. The ones at the Alki Cafe. The carburetor on my pancreas is stuck wide open. That's why I can't track and I'm mildly paranoid. Make sure you have the padded bar pulled down and tight across your lap. This may get bumpy. SUGAR MAFIA, HEAR ME! From hell's heart I stab at the- WHOAH! CHECK IT OUT, A FIRE TRUCK! Just FEAST YOUR BABY BLUES ON THAT BIG SHINY BEEYOOOT-

Where was I? Oh yeah. Carnation. I worked in the Contadina tomato products division. It was on the seventh floor across from the Coffee Mate division. It freaked many people out to have a male secretary in the company (seriously - they couldn't handle a man's baritone coming across the line when they'd call looking for some executive's secretary and some people would just hang up). So they bumped me up to marketing assistant.

Then the news media got their little pulp-stained paws on a study from the National Institute of Whatever The Hell Is Bad For You This Week that proved that tropical oils worked like Kwik-Krete in your arteries. Plus, they said all excited-like, eating tropical oils will give you man-teats. Chicks, they warned us gravely, will no longer dig you. And that is some cold, cold shit.

The folks in the Coffee Mate division did not receive this news gladly. In fact, they were apoplectic. Y'see, back then, Coffee Mate was made with plenty of tropical oils. (It's not any more.) They were convinced that Coffee Mate was going down. Some figured - wrongly - that the only way to circumvent disaster was to come up with an even more gruesome chemical brew that had no tropical oils but would taste like real cream. (Thankfully, they did not do that. Actually, something good happened and now you can get Coffee Mate in just about any flavor of the rainbow including Blueberry Cheesecake which, while I will never sully my morning doppio with it, I will chug it straight from the bottle. It's that good. And I am that effed in the head.)

And then a prank was born.

I had access to all the marketing materials for all the divisions because many of the executives I worked for didn't wanna learn the new Alias computer system so they let me go learn it for them. That was mistake #1: giving Pranky McPrankington the keys to the fun box.

I got into the graphics files for the Coffee Mate labels and just had a gay olde tyme "re-interpreting" them. I changed the product name to Karnation Kem-Kreme and added the tag line, "It'll Have Ya Trippin'!" I rewrote the ingredient label to include hog jowls, dog mucus, and influenza. Then I forwarded the files to the factory with the instructions to label up a test batch and send it over to the head of Coffee Mate (who I'll call Rick).

Did Rick get the joke? Oh he goddamn well did. And it pissed him off grand royal. He stormed over to my desk. "I guess you just don't have enough to do!" he spat at me, hard enough to blow the eraser crumbs out of my Smith-Corona. Then he stomped over to the office of my boss (who I'll call Steve).

I peeked through the window. Rick stood there, raging at Steve with the anger of a Titan. When the catharsis was over, Rick stomped by my desk again, giving me the requisite glare on the way by. Steve walked over to his window and wearily waved me into his office.

"Thaddeus," he said with a sigh of resignation, "That...was really, really, really funny."

"Seriously?" I said.

"Mm hmm." He said.

"OK. Should I just...go back...to work now?"

"Sure. Oh - one thing."

"What's that?"

"Don't do that again."

"Okay I won't."

"Yeah. Do something different. You gotta stay sharp. Test your limits and abilities. Know what I mean?"

"Yes I do."

And the moral of the story is - well, I don't have a moral. I just didn't get fired. I think I moved to Seattle about a week later just to avoid it.

Let me just end this epistle with this unsolicited endorsement: Coffee Mate is fuckin' delicious. Shake it up with some Scotch and pour it over ice. You'll see what I mean.

It'll have ya trippin'!

Cheers,

-Thaddeus


9 comments:

The General said...

I feel your pains, with regards to the injured hand. My "T, G, B" skills have been sorely lakcing ever since a 300 lbs ex-biker named Hoss dropped a sewer grate on my left hand. True story.

That said, I'm also done bonding with you, since you have insulted my dominate hand. Rightist.

I'll have you know (and I'm sure that you already do know) that the Italian word for "left" is "sinister." This dovetails nicely with the fact that my word for "the Italian language" is "stupid."

The General said...

I feel your pains, with regards to the injured hand. My "T, G, B" skills have been sorely lakcing ever since a 300 lbs ex-biker named Hoss dropped a sewer grate on my left hand. True story.

That said, I'm also done bonding with you, since you have insulted my dominate hand. Rightist.

I'll have you know (and I'm sure that you already do know) that the Italian word for "left" is "sinister." This dovetails nicely with the fact that my word for "the Italian language" is "stupid."

Thaddeus Gunn said...

Dear Tyler bar Sinister:

You misread me. I love the left hand. As a character in a short animated film once told me, "it was with the left hand that God created moon pies and peanut butter - the left hand, the sandwich eatin' hand!

Incidentally, he had the word FOOD tattooed across the knuckles of his left hand. Perhaps that will be your next tattoo as well?

Cheers, -T

The General said...

All those people in Asia who eat with the right hand, are going to be pissed to hear that the left hand is the sandwich eatin' hand.

Keeno said...

I like Steve.
we need more Steve's in this world. Too many Jobsworths with no sense of fun just a kernal of fear and hatred boiling away in their chest cavity and bowels.

Steve makes me wanna high five the next person I see, but seeing as they're most likely to be one of the Anti-Steve's I work with currently, i won't bother.

We need more Theddenburghers too! Procreate copiously my man! share the joy!

Thaddeus Gunn said...

Trust me, Keeno - I'm chasing that tail as hard as I can, but the wife has nixed any (more) kids. She says if I want to hear the pitter pat of little feet, I should put shoes on the cat. My son is now 21, and hopefully (and with good timing) he'll be creating more of the Thaddenburgher line some day soon.

Patrick said...

They're all good, but this was the best in a very long time.
Please create a book of these stories and make money from them! Then come find me and give me some of the money since I'm the one to spur you over the top of your resistence hurdle.
pk

Thaddeus Gunn said...

Resistance hurdle! That's what it's called. Thank you, Patrick.

To everyone else, I have to tell you one little Patrick story. Patrick and I used to work together. He was a marketing manager and I was a copywriter; to wit, I often worked on his projects and had to deliver copy to him.

He storms into my office one morning and hollers - no really, hollers, "What the hell are you doing here?!" I, nonplussed by this outburst, thought maybe I blew a deadline and had peeved him into apoplexy. I asked him what he was talking about. "Your blog! It's really funny!" And then he threw in a bunch of other compliments that I can't recall at the moment, but it all ended with him saying that he thought I was good enough, indeed funny enough, to be making a whole lot more money doing something way more fun than writing marketing copy.

In all sincerity, it's the best compliment I've ever received about my writing. (And I gotta say it just about startled me out of my trousers. I mean the guy was really revved up. And Patrick revved up is a sight to behold.)

So yes, I'll make a book out of all this...just as soon as you come flying into my cube at McCann and demand that I tell you just what the hell I'm doing. I can always use the motivation.

Cheers, -T

Lenore said...

Hi T - Thanks for visiting my blog. My very first copywriting job was at McCann in Frankfurt. This was an incredibly amusing story. :)