I was all geared up to end 2018 with a poignant and sober assessment of the political landscape in the U.S. I swear. It was written out, edited and ready to publish – a 1700 word kick in the ass, to spark some real change… And then something incredibly unsettling came to my attention.
Y’all almost got away with it, too. The money was in the offshore account. You had your feet up, sipping a coffee at an outdoor café in Italy somewhere – somewhere off the beaten path that’s not cool enough to be in the travel guides but makes the best biscotti you’ve ever had. The messed-up part is that you didn’t even slip up. You didn’t make a frivolous purchase or commit a petty crime or get yourself into the public eye; nothing like that. Someone who was vacationing in Italy just happened to be at that same café and just happened to recognize your face. He made a phone call to the authorities and, boom: you’re caught. And that someone was me.
Why, in the name of sweet Joe Biden; why did you have to mess with the Quaker Oats man? Everyone was cool. Y’all were selling oats like hotcakes, Larry’s face was a household face, and we were all chillin’ with the status quo. So, you tell me why, in the entire fuck, Larry is now 15 pounds lighter than he was before? Y’all done thinned out the man’s neck, botoxed the shit out of him, took the man’s jowls. You stole Larry’s jowls! Can you imagine the humiliation?
Larry woke up every day a proud man: successful, wise, invariably jolly, and most of all, 100% content with who he is. So, imagine that morning in 2012 when Lawrence got out of bed feeling a little different. He didn’t know what it was until he looked at his reflection in his bathroom mirror. To his horrification, no jowls. The folks at Quaker Oats had betrayed him – deemed him too husky to continue being the proud mascot he’d always been, and, without his consent, changed him.
Yeah, I said 2012. Yes, six whole years ago. So, no, this isn’t exactly breaking news. I’m sure Quaker slipped in a quick press release on the sly, notifying the public of this abomination. But this is the type of thing that I’d expect a phone call or personal letter about. And because of this negligence in communication, I’m just now finding out about the atrocities that have befallen our beloved Larry.
Look, I know where you were going with this. Oats are healthy. So, you thought that, after 140 years of eating oats, Larry was due for some weight loss. You were incorrect. Sure, Larry eats a lot of oats. It’s a staple in his diet aside from being his main source of income. But Larry also eats eggs and bacon alongside his oats. Larry goes hard on steak and potatoes for dinner – everyone knows that. Just look at him. Even in the slimmed down version y’all tried to sneak by us, you can tell that this is a man who is going to come to your barbecue and wreak absolute havoc on a slab of ribs. A man who is going to push his potato salad capacity to the utter extremities. A man who is going to have two full plates of food and walk out with a third plate, enrobed in aluminum foil, to take down when the other two wear off. You look me in the eye and tell me that’s not who you see when you look at this man.
All that aside, let me get to my main point, and this is from the heart. Larry was beautiful just the way he was. 5’11”, 230lbs of chunky man love. Larry wasn’t out here trying to impress you with his peak physical fitness. He wasn’t sulking around, feeling sorry for himself either. Every day, Larry left the house with his head held high, a bounce in his step and swagger in his stride, carrying his voluptuous curves with effortlessness and grace. Not a drip of self-consciousness diluted his mystique. His leather man-bag (containing important documents and a ration of his signature oatmeal raisin cookies for snackin’) hoisted over one shoulder, his off hand – with gold wrist watch glistening – pulling back his navy coat to rest casually in his pocket, revealing a proud protruding belly. The ladies of the neighborhood would swoon over that brand of confidence. Moreover, Larry revealed to them something often quelled by these ubiquitous images of “traditional beauty.” He revealed that, inside each of them too, lived a profound sense and appreciation of their own beauty, however departed it was from the homogenous pictures fed to them by marketing companies. And they adored him for it.
But y’all just stripped that all away from Larry. You took 15 pounds from his body but also an exponential amount from his soul. I’m not surprised. I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.
…and also, I’m mad. Can’t we just have anything anymore? Can’t people just be flawed? Can’t our icons reflect who we are and not try to tell us who we want to be? I know change will come; it’s inevitable. But y’all didn’t need to take Larry’s jowls.