Child of the 70s—Jingles on my mind

Cheeree O-Ee-Oh’sAs a child I loved to sing jingles—you know, those little ditty songs from commercials. I did performances for my family all the time with one of my favorites being, “Use Ajax, bum bum, the blue dot cleanser, bum bubububum, it gets the dirt and lets things shine bubububububum.” Perfume commercials from the 70s were replete with jingles too. Cachet was the first perfume my mom gave me and boy do these jingles have staying power. You might even say that, “Windsong stays on my, Windsong stays on my mind.” (OK, that’s not Cachet but I don’t think its ad had a tune).

In fact that is one of the problems or perhaps beauties of jingles—depending on your perspective. They are so memorable that they come to me all the time—during the day, in my sleep and of course when I am watching TV and see a childhood brand that still advertises. I can’t help but break out into song. Just the other day, Andy broke out into “Cheeree O-Ee-Oh’s, Toastee O-Ee-Oh’s” when a box of Cheerios appeared on TV—though that is a more recent ad.

“We work hard, so you don’t haaave toooo (as the Scrubbing Bubbles fade into the distance as they go down the drain).” I really don’t have to work hard to dredge up these memories. In general memories associated with tunes are recalled more easily then words alone. The music serves as additional hooks to your memory. Therefore it isn’t surprising that jingles are used in advertising and that I remember them so well. But what is kind of cool to me is how they literally pop out of my mouth without warning and how much pleasure I get from singing them. They put me back into my child-like state of silliness. And who couldn’t use a little silliness in their life?

“Ready when you are and even when your not, it’s Betty Crocker ready-to-spread frost—ting. Smoooth and spreadable and what’s so incredible, its ready when you are and when you’re not.” So true, whether I am ready or not, these ditties flow from my lips. And lest you think I Googled the wording of these songs, think again. I am reciting these completely from memory. Sure I was tempted to check on the actual wording but decided not to. This is all pouring out of me in its pure memory state (so I suppose some of the words aren’t exact matches for the original advertisement).

Have you had your sprinkle today?“A sprinkle a day helps keep odor away, a sprinkle a day helps keep odor away. Have you had your sprinkle today?” Shower to Shower is a brand that I still have in my medicine chest and I sing that tune every time I pick up the bottle. And anytime I am cooking bacon—well—out spews the soulful blues tune, “I bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never ever let you forget you’re a man, ’cause I’m a woman, Enjoli.”

And speaking of cooking, “Shake and Bake, and wee heelped!” That isn’t a song, but I always say it with a very thick southern drawl, just like the commercial from my childhood. My brother and I were particular fans of that one and we encouraged mom to buy Shake and Bake because of the jingle (yes, advertising works). “Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken”. No additional lyrics, just a tune to accompany those words though my brother and I changed the words to something gross that I won’t mention here ☺.

“People who don’t need it drink it, folks not on a diet try it. Everybody likes it, Diet Rite Cola, everybody likes it, Diet Rite Cola, everybody likes it and you know why, ’cause it tastes so good, Diet Rite Cola!” I loved to sing that song with my childhood friend Dawn. In the ad there are different voices for each stanza so Dawn and I would go up or down in our voice to extremes.

Speaking of Dawn reminds me of Madge of Palmolive fame for soaking in dishwashing liquid—don’t worry it’s mild. “Chock Full of Nuts is a heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee, Chock Full of Nuts is a heavenly coffee, better tasting coffee, money can’t buy.” You really can’t buy the kind of fun I experience from just singing jingles.

What commercial jingles from your childhood do you remember?  Please share with us!

XOXO Rachel

In Praise of Self-Consciousness—i.e. Self-Awareness

Embracing--dancing with my loveI remember as a kid that I frequently felt self-conscious—you know, that awkward feeling of discomfort when you said something and were all too aware that it didn’t come out right.  Or you did something and you thought you looked stupid or foolish—like that first time I slow-danced with a boy at a party.  I was just reading an article that used the expression “self-conscious” when I suddenly saw the words in a different light.  Out of curiosity I looked up the definition of self-conscious and this is what it said, “Aware of oneself as an individual or of one’s own being, actions or thoughts.  Such an awareness can impair one’s ability to perform complex actions.  Synonyms include: awkward, uncomfortable, insecure, even embarrassed”.

Ah, but to be self-conscious is a wonderful thing if looked at from another perspective.   And this perspective doesn’t entirely fit the dictionary definition.  Yes, I agree that to be conscious of yourself means that you are aware of your own thoughts and feelings.  You are self-aware.  I would add that to be self-aware also means that you are aware of the impact of your words, actions and behaviors not just on yourself—you are aware of your words, actions, and behaviors on others as well.  But here is where I diverge from the standard definition.  It doesn’t have to be the case that such an awareness impairs your ability to perform complex actions.  To be self-conscious can be such a powerful way to be.  To be aware of your thoughts, actions and behaviors and understand their impact on you and on others is to fully experience life!  Why should it make you insecure or embarrassed?

Playing among the apple treesNow granted, as a student of linguistics, I am well aware that “self-conscious” has a non-literal interpretation or connotation and not just the literal interpretation: “conscious of self”.  It is true that in some instances when you are more aware of what you are saying or doing, you become stuck on that awareness.  Perhaps you said something that was misunderstood or you did something that didn’t make you look so good so you are embarrassed.  But can’t it simply be that your awareness is just that—an awareness of whatever it is you are being or doing in that moment?

So today I am redefining “ self-consciousness” as “self-awareness”.  I say that it is a wonderful and completely not uncomfortable thing to be self-aware.  I say that it is the best way to live and love your life so that you can feel the depth of your experience, feel the impact on your actions on yourself and others.  And if you do feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, you get to learn from the experience and perhaps change your future action—or not change your future action :).  Or maybe you could even relish looking foolish if it is something that isn’t hurting anyone—like slow dancing with a boy, or frolicking in an apple orchard!

Cloud hopping

Clouds to skip over the Hudson Valley RiverToday is a perfect day for cloud hopping.  What, you ask, is that?  Well, I have a particular proclivity to daydream in the clouds.  I like to look up on a day when there are puffs of cotton ball clouds that dot the blue sky.  I imagine myself leaping from cloud to cloud, landing in a soft and springy embrace in the next cloud.  I might bound from a low cloud and vault up to a higher one, or take a long lead and jump a great distance between clouds that are far apart.  Mostly I hurdle like a dancer leaps, one leg stretched out in front of the other; a jeté.  Rarely do I jump with two feet together.  Sometimes I soar from cloud to cloud in one long stretch as if I were playing checkers and jumping over 10 pieces in one successive move.

California wine country-style cloud hoppingMy favorite days for cloud tripping are breezy days when the clouds are moving with a moderate to brisk pace so that I can vary which cloud I go to next based on what is floating nearest.  A few weeks ago, Andy and I were working in the garden on such a day and it took a great deal of restraint for me to focus on the gardening task at hand and not go cloud hopping.  I did manage to squeeze some jumps in when I took a break to lie down on the grass and stretch my back (the gardening work was intense!).

Flying is something that I have been doing since I was a little girl.  My first early experience was at night in my dreams.  Probably due to watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I began my treks in the sky on my four-post bed as a child.  In the movie, the children go on adventures on a magical brass bed with their caretaker (who is a witch).  I went on my own adventures as I flew my bed way above my New Jersey hometown.  Mainly I would just watch the goings on from above.  I still love to go up high into the sky and watch the world and I have had those floating dreams many, many times over the years beyond childhood.

Driving along a New Mexico highway - Cloud hopping along the wayAnother media impact on my (you might say unusual, I say wonderful) flight behavior was the TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  As a little girl, I have a very distinct memory, one that seemed real even when I was old enough to know it wasn’t, of looking out my bedroom window into the sky and seeing Santa and his sled with Rudolph at the front.  I determined when I was a bit older that the angle of Santa’s flight that I saw was exactly what occurs in the very last frames of the animated special.  My lifelong fascination with the sky and memories of my night flight adventures are very dear to me.

Day skipping in the clouds, conducted while awake, is very calming to me and something I am happy to do anytime.  It’s a form of daydreaming so not surprisingly, the clouds can be very distracting, even as I sit here and write.  My desk is in front of a large window and I have a great view above our tree line of a piece of neighboring mountain and best of all, the sky.  I might be in the middle of a sentence when a cloud catches my eye and I decide to go on an adventure in my mind – and in the heavens.

Cloud hopping on a Hawaiian sunsetBut cloud hopping is also very useful and productive.  Because of the meditative quality of the experience, I often solve problems or just become more relaxed when I am way up there.  If something is upsetting me and I am lucky to have the right conditions in the sky, I do a little bouncing from puff to puff and whatever was bothering me becomes less important.  Or I suddenly have clarity and make a decision that is authentic, based on my gut knowledge of what is best for me.  Like the time just a few years ago when I was on a bus in Florida and the sky was particularly splendid in deep blues and puffy pristine clouds.  I realized during that 15-minute bus ride between the media conference and the hotel that I was done with my corporate gig.  I immediately began my serious plans to leave.  The clouds served me so well that day because now I am happy as a child, floating above the sky and doing my own creative work.