Sunday 27 January 2008

An open letter to McVities biscuits

Dear McVities biscuits,
How are are you? I hope you are well, and have had a lovely Christmas.
I am writing to you because my Psychotherapist has told me that doing so will "help the healing process" and "allow me to move on", and I do desperately hope that is true.
I sense you are confused by these opening statements, so let me try and explain: about 5 years ago, you ran an advertisement campaign for your popular Jaffa Cake biscuit line, in which a primary school teacher ate one of your delicious chocolate coated snacks in front of her class. "Full moon!" she said, holding up an-as-yet-untouched biscuit.
"Full moon!" the class obediently repeated.
She then took a great big bite, held the Jaffa cake aloft to show its new shape, and through a mouthful of orangey goodness, said "Half moon!" - which the class also repeated. Finally, she stuffed the rest in her mouth, and announced 'Total eclipse', thus cleverly harnessing the raw educational power of your chocolate biscuit brand in order to teach her students about the alignment of Sun, Earth and Moon.
You are no doubt well aware of your own advertising campaign and may well, at this point, be wondering why I bring this up, and what connection it has to my mental health? Good question, McVities Biscuits. It is because the advert I have just described is my wifes all-time favourite advert in the world - it has seeped deep into her consciousness and has firmly lodged there. Every time it came on she would chuckle aloud, and join in with the catchphrases - she has even remarked, on more than one occasion, that she wished it was still on the television. Frankly I could take it or leave it, and I am sorry to report that at no point has it driven us to increase our household expenditure on Jaffa Cakes in any way, but you can certainly rest easy in knowing that it endlessly amused my wife.
This alone would not be a compelling reason to write you, but I promise that I am getting slowly to the point. Before I explain the terrible damage your advert has inflicted on my wellbeing, I would like to reassure you that I bear you no ill. You weren't to know, and I don't blame you for what has happened to me. I understand that it's a battlefield out there, and every campaign has it's hidden casualties - even when it's just an ad campaign for a chocolate covered sponge biscuit with orange jelly filling.
So, I don't blame you. But I do need to heal, and so I do want you to understand.
Here, then, is my story:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It is late in the evening, and the house is quiet. Both our daughters are sleeping peacefully, despite the insistent rain on the windows and the distant boom of thunder. In the bathroom, having just finished morosely cleaning my teeth, I am studying my face in the mirrored bathroom cabinets. There are dark smudges around my eyes, and more grey in my hair than ever.
I look tired. Tired, and worried.
Please, I think in silent prayer, please, not tonight.
I yank on the bathroom light pull cord, and step onto the landing. With the bathroom light now switched off, it is obvious that a soft glow is diffusing from under our bedroom door. This can only mean one thing: my wife is still awake, and has her bedside lamp switched on. Which means she is sitting up in bed reading.
Reading...or waiting.
Oh God, I think. It's going to happen again.
With a heavy heart, I push open the bedroom door. Nini is sitting, plumped up on her pillows, with her fingers laced together.
I regard her in baleful silence. She gives me a bright innocent smile, which does not fool me in the least.
I pad sadly around the bed to the chest of drawers in the far corner of the room, where I unbuckle my belt and take my jeans off. I pick up my pyjama trousers from the top of the blanket box at the foot of the bed.
I turn away from my wife, but in the wardrobe mirror I can see her lean forward, radiating an almost palpable sense of expectation...
Just get it over with,
I tell myself.
I pull down my boxer shorts with a sad sigh, thus unavoidably revealing my pale buttocks in the soft light of the bedside lamp
"FULL MOON!" shrieks my wife exultantly, pointing at my bottom.
Frantically, I thrust my right leg in to my pyjamas, in at attempt to cover my embarrassment
"HALF MOON!" yells the mocking harpie in the bed.
With a scrambling shuffle, I force my left leg into the trousers and then yank the garment up so fast there's a very real danger of garroting something delicate.
"TOTAL ECLIPSE!" yells Nini, both arms punching into the air in sheer joy. She sinks back onto the bed, giggling and sated, then turns off the bedroom light with a satisfied sigh.
In the dark I lean against the chest of drawers and try and regain my composure. I then stalk over to my side of the bed and slide myself under the duvet.
I lie on my back and stare at the ceiling. Although she is silent, I can sense my wife is just beaming away to herself in the dark. She is also waiting for me to speak.
The rain beats down outside, and minutes pass.
"I wish you wouldn't do that" I finally say.
"Yes, I know."
"It's not funny any more"
"Oh, I beg to differ. I think it still is."
"It's not. You've been doing it for five years now. At least three times a week."
"Yes. It's still funny. It's a classic."
"It's demeaning."
"That's why it's funny."
"It makes me, somehow."
She reaches across in the dark, and pats my hand soothingly.
"I know" she says. "That's the best part..."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There. Do you see, McVities Biscuits? Do you see what evil you have wrought? You would have thought she would have stopped by now, and gotten bored of it, but you just don't understand the tenacity of the woman. This has been my life for the last five years, and I fully expect it to remain that way until the day I die.
Well, I hope it was worth it, and that sales of Jaffa cakes leapt skyward after the 'Full moon' campaign. Because as a direct result, every other night I leave my dignity on the bedroom floor along with my boxer shorts - and it's all your fault...


Anonymous said...

Paul,I imagine the view would be more like a jammy dodger than a jaffa cake!! Poor poor Nini!

Misterimpatient said...

Brilliant, but I have to remark, a smart guy like you might have considered changing into his pajamas in the bathroom by now. Of course, what would be the fun in that? Here's an idea, next time, find a place to put the orange jelly. I think there is a natural hiding place that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Sleep naked. Problem solved!

Max Halliwell said...

Take it as a compliment that Nini actually waits up to look at your ass? Perhaps she could also refer to the milkyway chocolate stars though..

Helen Floyd said...

I'm left wondering if there is a 12 step program to help 'the mocking harpie' in recovering from the obsession of needling you. We can only change ourselves, though, so perhaps you could start a about Bare Ass Anon or Full Moon Anon. You know, in support of those living with those afflicted with the terrible obsession of relentless and demeaning poking of mis-directed humour at those ill equipped to being able to find a laugh in a hay stack. Oh OUCH...I think I qualify for the afflicted group. Thanks my friend...look how much your sharing has helped me heal.

Remember, if you can't have what you want, then ask for help to want what you have.

Bluegrass Widow (a.k.a. Helen)