Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hamstrung and punch drunk

[Warning: blog post ahead written on lack of sleep and unedited!]

Easter is early this year because Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. Is there a spring equinox? I may be misremembering the story I heard on the radio station, KEOM out of Mesquite. It's all 70's all the time and run by high school students. I like to listen because I like hearing their young, untrained voices reading the news or telling us what song we just heard. "Thankths, Tiffany," I can hear through John's braces. "And now to the traffick report." They enunciate slowly and well, so that their consonants are harder than most on-air voices.

Back to Easter. Of course, like all our Easters, it's overcast, cloudy and threatening rain. That's also a sign that we're headed to a backyard gathering for brunch. I have been assigned to bring the meat, as my hostess is a vegetarian. It did not occur to me until this morning that ham is probably a good choice. So, I'll be doing some last minute shopping.

Plus, even though it's her party, I want to use a punch bowl I bought at a flea market, so she asked me: do you have any punch recipes, and the answer is, of course, no. So, research, shop, produce.

One of my dearest and oldest friends is Jewish and this time of year, she generally wants to know what my family is doing for Easter. She starts hinting around about ham. From her perspective, Christian families have ham for Easter, at least, that's what television Christian families do, she said. I don't remember ham being an Easter tradition in my house growing up, and it's not the first meat I think of when I think of eating meat as a grown up. Luckily, my husband thought of it, so hopefully, the store will have a pre-cooked half-pounder waiting to be sliced.

As I am in touch with my inner senior citizen, I have been awake since 5:30, and am ready for a nap. Unfortunately, the middle-aged don't get to indulge in that part of senior citizenship.

My husband has made good progress on a backyard two-story playhouse this week. Since it was the kids' spring break and he has gobs of vacation time, he took the time off. It rained Monday and Tuesday, but he put in 11 hours straight yesterday and has completed the floors and framing. This morning he's toying with the roof. (Pictures to come.)

I predict in less than a month, our town's ordinance "sheriff" will spot the playhouse, which is higher than the fence and order us to take it down. Just guessing, but that sounds like what a community would do to itself--pass a law making life 70% less fun. If that happens, I'll request a variance. (Mr. Ma-ya, I'm jest uh po' country chick who's found huhself in a twelve piece bucket o' trouble!)

A-ha! you say. She's been following town council meetings. And indeed I have. My newspaper covers five of them and government, at its most basic level, is fascinating to watch from the outside and without a doubt somewhat frustrating from the inside.

But all that's for another day. The eggs have been hunted, the candy devoured, and I'm off to buy a ham and a can of punch. Happy Easter, friends.



Anonymous Whitley Strieber is God said...

The Easter Bunny.

Just harmless little old Peter Cottontail, right? A symbol of cuteness and innocous happiness? Or, rather, the figurehead of an insidious marketing plan by one of the world's largest and most devious industries?

Prior to the mid 1950's, aside from greeting cards, stories, popular songs and children's toys, the Easter Bunny was virtually unheard of by the general public. That was all about to change.

The candy industry was in a record slump. The popularity of television had eaten into their sales, and they had no idea how to turn the tide. They needed something to combat this new invention, or else the production of would end forever. There had to be a hook, something to get the kids "turned on" to their product. For, if Big Candy could get new users early, they'd have them for life.

Harmless furry mascot? Or insidious corporate shill? You be the judge.

The usual tactics weren't working- including baseball statistic cards with gum, producing multi-colored "lollipops" to appeal to simple-minded children, gum which could be inflated without the use of air tanks, etc. Sales continued to plummet.

Then, when things appeared darkest, in February of 1954, a young executive with the Metzger Confectionary Product Company of Woechester, Mass. hit upon an idea that would creep its way into the minds of children for decades to come. Instead of eggs, why couldn't this "The Son Of the Creator Raising From The Grave Anthropormorphic Rabbit" (as it was known then) be renamed? Something catchy- "The Easter Bunny," perhaps. And maybe, just maybe, instead of eggs in that basket, why not candy?

The heads of the candy syndicates were ecstatic. They were sure that this concept, this icon of a big friendly bunny bringing candy -their precious candy- to millions of children, would be the savior for their industry. Millions were poured into an adveritsing and promotional blitz. Powerful industry lobbyists convinced Congress and the Catholic Church to make Easter a holiday. Ads were run around the clock on television, whose programming day usually ended at 8 pm, allowing for nothing but candy/Easter Bunny propaganda for twelve hours a day. Men in Bunny suits were dispatched to department stores to occupy the seat where Santa had held court only months before. In a bit of a marketing coup, Paul Harvey even mentioned this "Easter Bunny" on his radio program in the weeks before Easter.

It paid off. Sales of candy that Easter quintupled even the most optimistic expectations that the Big Candy executives had made. The industry was saved. But, more importantly, a powerful industry had created a powerful icon, a juggernaut. A great big furry stooge that could be used at their whim.

Everyone wanted in- the American Dental Association, lobbyists for diabetes drug manufacturers, the celophane industry- you name it. The candy companies welcomed them with open arms. Everyone shared in the big candy money pot. Money that funded weapons to Iraq, two Pat Buchanan bids for the presidency, the asassinations of countless Central American dictators and god knows what else. Money that comes from millions upon millions of people who buy candy each and every year. The evil has only come to light in the last year, with states such as Florida and Montana filing lawsuits against the candy companies on behalf of residents who have lived with decades of tooth decay.

So, this year, before you pick up your Easter Bunny greeting cards, your Easter Bunny pictures to hang around the house, the Easter Bunny dolls for the kids, the "basket" and the candy to fill it- remember what that smiling, flop-eared guy represents. The evil behind those cute, cute bunny eyes.


10:19 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Well. I see I am following in the footsteps of god. Heh.

Smart and witty even while hamstrung and punch drunk. Not bad, girl, not bad at all.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I, for one, welcome our new furry overlord.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

Hope you had a Happy Easter, Nancy!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Back atchya, Mike!

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Vivian Louise said...

Nancy, I miss you! The play house sounds the mostest fun EVER! I can't wait for pictures.

7:54 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

SO great to see a long post from you yay. ham: ick. The only pork product I do not luv.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Luther said...

"The Son Of the Creator Raising From The Grave Anthropormorphic Rabbit"

That made me laugh out loud.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Zoe said...

I hope that you had a happy Easter! Ours was a bit less organized! We were dying the eggs before church and rushing the hunt (before church) and we almost missed the start of church. Yep, great way to teach the kids what it is all about! I hope that your punch was a success! :)

9:31 PM  

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