evany's extended cake mix
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Monday, Jan. 17, 2005 | link
Hey! Hi! How are you? I am fine. Very good, even. I'd even go so far as to say that I am full of cautious optimism! Though of course that's all going to end soon because, as everyone knows, publicizing happiness is like a pink, juicy worm on a hook in the eyes, and then mouth, of Fate. In fact I may have already had a small setback, this past Friday.
For a long, years long time, I've had this idea that one day, some day, if I ever came into enough money, spare time, and energy, I would launch my own line of tampons. They would come in a cute, even reusable box (maybe something hexagonal? with a lid? maybe with cute illustrations of cute ladies on it, maybe by that illustrator who used to do all the ChickClick stuff? or maybe just a collect-them-all series of pretty, pretty patterned boxes?), and each one would come with a fortune inside the wrapper, a little something to look forward to. I even went so far as to email organic tampon companies to ask about potential partnerships (one lukewarm response, one totally weird response), and I got a sample business proposal from Liz and Ben to use as a guide. But then I got distracted, I dropped the ball, I took a bath, only to find myself at 1am this past Friday night, standing in the tampon aisle, gaping at this horrible new line of "tampons with a message." They have a cute and completely unmemorable name -- I tried searching for it but to no avail -- and the box is covered with horrible, "sassy" illustrations of sassy-type girls, kind of, sort of like I'd imagined, only completely yucky in that way that things that are slightly off can be so much worse than things that are completely wrong.
And the messages are just ... ugggghhhhhh. "Don't just change your tampon, change the world!"? That is just so awesomely, bogglingly bad! And, as Jill later pointed out, so gratingly in the face of the typical, sighing attitude of a woman in the middle of menstrual maintenance, yay. Hollow, disheartening, meaninglessly short pep-talks like "Don't just change your tampon, change the world!" belong in places like fiscal year-end corporate literature or high school guidance counselor meetings, places we cringe through only with resigned reluctance. Tampons really are bad enough on their own -- the buying of them, the storing of them, the changing of them, the very everything of them -- a creepy "up and at 'em!!!" message just makes the whole thing that much worse. There's something a little gross about it, too, like ... don't just put a new tampon in your hole, put a whole, new world up there? Kind of like my favorite aborted tagline for Mona Lisa Smile, which I came up with back in the glorious month I spent writing taglines for Sony Pictures: "They thought women were here to change diapers, but she changed their MINDS."
But "Don't just change your tampon, change the world!"? Huh? What? Really? The brain truly struggles to get itself around the terribleness of it, like Marco's dog Daisy with her new squeaky toy, a very pretty and impressive trout that Daisy so dearly wants to kill and squeak and kill, but the fish is a fraction too fat and Daisy's mouth is just a hair too small, and, like the sharks with the peach of James and the Giant Peach, her teeth keep slipping off the trout in pathetic, squeakless silence.
As I stood there in Safeway, my brain trying, shifting, and failing to get itself around this box of what could have been (if I'd ever found myself suddenly afire with the drive to create a product, from scratch, a product with endless legal/medical risks, i.e., if I were completely different and fabulously richer person), my initial response was self-disappointment and regret. ("At least we have our regrets!" was something someone said earlier that same evening, I think, maybe when Stephen and Marco and Jill came over for pre-bar drinks?) But then I thought, oh my shit, this is a shitty shitstorm of a product. Thank god I never really tried to make this thing happen!
The relief was short-lived, though, displaced within maybe thirty seconds by an uncomfortable cocktail of mild embarrassment, sadness, and fear. Without consciously noticing it, I think I'd been saving the Great Tampon Idea as my ace in the hole (so to speak), my fall-back plan for when all else failed. But, wow and oops, my fall-back was kind of dumb? And a little pathetic, not at all unlike the bad-man-killing-tinfoil-laser-beam plan of the kid in Kindergarten Cop? So I guess I need a new plan? A plan, a plan! (Does that even count as a "Fantasy Island" reference? Oh.)
That said, I still feel compelled to tell you that the product of my imagination featured REALLY FUN and PLEASANTLY FLUFFY little fortunes like "Something you covet deeply goes on sale soon!" or "Someone's thinking about you and smiling!" or "There's frenching in your future!" or "It's a paper-cut, parking-ticket kind of day, maybe call in sick?" or "You sure do look pretty today!" Small, small thoughts that maybe would make tampon-changing ever-so-slightly less dreadful? That might have been good, right? But what do I know.
A plan, a plan!