Al Batt: By jingles, Oscar, Tony says they’re grrrrrrrrrreat!

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

I live near a phone.

Just as most everyone does.

Al Batt

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My ringtone is simple, but I hear many others that run the gamut from a vintage landline to a cricket to a mallard duck quacking to a distorted song that might have been country or rap. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

When I was an extraordinary ankle-biter, we got zero TV channels. Our “Must-see TV” wasn’t. Then we discovered it helped if we had a TV. We obtained a used set that received two channels, one came in well, the other not well. Later, a third and a fourth channel were added. We shared TV shows. If somebody asked if we’d seen “The Andy Griffith Show,” we had. There were no emails to check or to angrily type in all caps. All caps were what we saw in a 3.2 beer joint.

 It was back before anyone ever had to charge a toothbrush. It was a primitive time, but we had advertising jingles, taglines and slogans to sustain us. They lodged in our brains, becoming earworms that were nearly impossible to turn off. I still hear them. I could live my day according to jingles and slogans.

I hear “Snap, Crackle, Pop” when I get out of bed each morning as a one-man band. 

I clapped. “Clap on,” I say, hoping my world would become illuminated. Nothing happens and I remember I’ve never owned The Clapper, but I clapped off just to be sure. “Clap off.”

I stepped onto the bathroom scale. “Be all you can be.” The Army would be proud. I examined the nasty paper cut I’d received while paying a bill on a wuthering day. I am stuck on Band-Aids ‘cause a Band-Aid’s stuck on me. 

I staggered into the kitchen while making only a single wrong turn and consulting my GPS twice. I remembered “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup,” but it wasn’t. I don’t know if Maxwell House is good to the last drop. I drink tea.

Meow, meow, meow, meow. Meow Mix  tastes so good, cats ask for it by name. The cat has a magic bowl that fills itself mysteriously.

Breakfast options were many. “They’re magically delicious!” “Breakfast of champions.” “They’re grrrrrrrrrreat!” “Trix are for kids.” No pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, and green clovers for me. “Got Milk?” I got milk and enjoyed oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries.

I’d have wondered where the yellow went if I’d have brushed my teeth with Pepsodent. My shave was the best a man can get and I didn’t squeeze the Charmin.

I considered packing a sandwich because my bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. I looked in the refrigerator, the valley of the jolly–ho-ho-ho!–Green Giant. There’s always room for Jell-O, nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, nothing says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, Rice-a-Roni — the San Francisco treat, mm-mm good soup, finger lickin’ good leftover pizza-pizza, and I wondered where’s the beef? I didn’t want to let my fingers do the walking, so I was off to see the USA in my Chevrolet and would make a stop to enjoy two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun as I deserved a break today or maybe I’d have it my way. Perhaps I’d think outside the bun. I didn’t need to hurry as a motel had promised, “We’ll leave the light on for you.”

Tomorrow, I’ll fly something special in the air, the friendly skies, which aren’t as friendly as they once were, where I’ll be given a bag of up to five peanuts because sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t. “Betcha can’t eat just one.” How do I get to the airport? I just do it. I hoped the airline mimicked Hallmark, “When you care enough to send the very best” and a fellow traveler might comment, “Aren’t you glad you use Dial?”

And I’d reply cleverly, “Raise your hand if you’re Sure.”

My watch could take a licking and keeps on ticking. I hope I could, too. 

If not, there is always plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is. 

Calgon, take me away!

Al Batt’s column appears in the Tribune every Wednesday.