About Us
Contact Us

|-  -|
Turn Your Head and Cough #17
by Jason Torchinsky

For reasons far beyond the limited scope, and, I might add, listermint, of my understanding, these past few days have rendered me the scholastic equivalent of a chimpanzee. I cannot figure out what happened. I don't feel any stupider than usual, yet my academic performance over the last couple of days has plummeted so that now my average grade is probably about the same as the last two digits of Eisenhower's inauguration date. What could have happened? Something I ate? Perhaps. I don't see why though, as I've had nothing unusual to eat this week because so far all I've eaten at all is a burrito and about four Triscuits.

Anyway, the reason I felt like such an academic buffoon is the result of the French class I just had. As of late my class participation results have been so poor that I would probably have gotten better results if I pursed my lips and uttered random syllables. I realized that what I needed was some way of testing my answers before I said them. I had an idea of how to achieve this. I went out and bought a hand puppet, then wrote the North Carolina State Department, office of Manual Textile-Figure Pseudo-Automation and got a hand -puppeteers' license. Today in class I tried out my theory.

I used the small green puppet, Eddie the Bacteria, to answer questions that I was not sure of, but thought I had a chance at. If I was right, then I could just convince everybody in the class that Eddie heard me say the answer and jumped in (who's going to believe a bacteria over a person?), and if I'm wrong, well, who cares, Eddie said it! It was flawless.

Sadly, somehow everybody caught on. Maybe they saw my lips move. Or maybe I should have disguised my voice. Oh well. Anyway, when I tried having the puppet give an answer, everyone looked at me with shame and disgust, and, after a couple muttered suggestions that I see my clergyman, my professor began a ranting character evaluation of your humble narrator that, save for the rather emotional assessment of me as a "pitiable moron, causing anything capable of rational thought to cringe" was quite deprecatory.

It was more than I could take. I attempted to begin my standard procedure for dealing with crises, and, though I managed to wet my pants, completing the first part, I was unable to bolt teary-eyed from the room as the desks are too close together with no clear aisle, causing me to get entangled in the center of the room under a pile of desks, Damn. The next thing I knew I was being pelted with all kinds of French paraphernalia, pelted with escargots, crepes, berets, striped shirts, models of the Seine, and then, as always seems to happen in my columns about this time, blackness.

When I awoke I was lying in the tattered remains of my clothes in the pit, my body one big ache from the intense beating given to me by my entire French class. I rolled over to realign some vertebrae and saw a copy of the DTH [ed. note: The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper] lying next to me. Apparently it had been beaten up in its philosophy class. One of the articles said something about a new plan to make certain dorms more racially integrated. Though I haven't actually read the article, I think I heard somewhere that the plan was that if you are in one of the affected dorms, and your student ID number ends in a, say, 5, then you're black, at least for as long as you stay in that dorm. If your number ends in a 2, then you're a Native American, a 4, you're Asian, a 3, white, and so on. This way every dorm will have a wonderfully diverse balance of peoples.

Alright, I'm going to level with everybody. I was trying to think of some smooth transition for the paragraphs to follow, but, dammit, it's no use. This column is way more disjointed than normal, don't think I don't know that. So to hell with some lame-o transition; I'd only be fooling myself anyway. Here comes an entirely new topic altogether, Hold on.

I was in my closet the other day, just looking through some old crap when I chanced upon an old box of childhood memorabilia. I cleaned off all the chance, then opened the box. In it I found lots of old pictures of me of the during four years before my parents decided to undress me and realized that I was, in fact, a boy. In it were some old frilly clothes, some toys and napkins and stuff, but, most importantly, my old collection of "Hello Kitty" products.

Now, I'm fairly certain that everyone who deigns to call themselves a human is familiar with that trademark bloated, ribboned head and microscopic face that is cryptically called "Hello Kitty." I don't really get the name, but I think the entire Hello Kitty idea is Japanese, and that's enough to justify the poor use of English and the amazingly small size of all those Hello Kitty products, from those little, tiny pencil case things to little umbrellas, to all kinds of weird, overly shrunk note pads and miniature office product stuff that was the mainstay of the Hello Kitty line. Seeing all of these fine Hello Kitty products caused me to lapse into this fantasy:

The Hello Kitty Company is in big financial trouble. They need to expand their market, for the government has recently restricted the amount of desk items 8-year old girls can own, severely cutting Hello Kitty's core market. Somehow the Kitty corporation must expand their market without altering their product line. How can they do this? Advertising. Image.

Researchers for the Hello Kitty company determine that the group with the most money to spend is the 22-30 year old urban executive male group. These people, they determine, must become Hello Kitty's new market.

An intensive advertizing blitz begins. A new series of ads in magazines such as Fortune, Esquire, GQ, Playboy, and Time feature attractive young men, dressed in smart italian suits with adoring babes hanging all over them writing in Hello Kitty note pads with tiny Hello Kitty pencils. The only copy for the ad is at the bottom, where, in bold type, it reads "Hello, kitty."

Then the TV ads begin. One has a young executive on the go, waking up, brushing his teeth with two Hello Kitty toothbrushes held together with Hello Kitty pigtail holders, getting dressed in a business suit and Hello Kitty pin, and putting important documents in a small Hello Kitty duffel. Then the scene cuts to him in a board room, drawing important looking graphs on a Hello Kitty washable note board with a Hello Kitty marker. After being congratulated by the boss and receiving adoring looks from an attractive female colleague, the young executive looks into the camera and says "Hello, kitty."

Another version would feature a similarly studly guy zooming around in a '65 Corvette convertible covered with Hello Kitty puffy stickers. After zooming around a corner and picking up a dozen or so swooning women, the young adonis would look into the camera and say, "Hello, kitty."

Now, I'm not exactly sure what this little flight of fancy means, but I find the images particularly amusing and, in fact, quite gripping. I am not sure of the financial status of the Hello Kitty company (I lost controlling interest after the stock crash of '89) but I can still dream. Or maybe it's just that damn lovable mouthless kitty herself that makes me so amused. I don't know. Regardless, it's printed now and not all of the gold in my refrigerator can change that. So I hope you enjoyed, and, I trust, grew a little. Solidarity.

Back to the list o' columns.


© copyright 2000 The Van Gogh-Goghs