Nov 22, 2010 4:30 PM GMT
Mr. Peanut is G-A-Y!!!
[from The New Yorker]
Paul RudickI am Mr. Peanut, and I can be silent no longer. While I have only the greatest respect for Mr. Levine, who is the senior director for marketing at Planters, I cannot live a lie. I’m a gay nut, and Benson and I are in love.
After watching Portia de Rossi promoting her new memoir about her anorexia, her struggle to come out as a lesbian, and her eventual happy marriage to Ellen DeGeneres, I feel emboldened. (Although I regret that, because I am a carbohydrate, Portia may fear me.) And after seeing Ricky Martin discuss his new memoir, about his coming out and his joy in becoming the father of beautiful twin sons, I think it’s time to tell the world that Benson and I will soon be adopting a jumbo cashew and a pair of Jordan almonds; some people will call it bridge mix, but for Benson and me it’s our family.
As I reveal in my own upcoming memoir, “Right in the Nuts,” I had an agonized childhood. I was born and roasted on a dusty peanut farm down South, and my earliest memories are of being attracted to a macadamia named Jimmy Ray. But all too soon he was harvested and ended up in a small porcelain bowl placed on an armrest in first class on a Delta non-stop to Los Angeles. I still recall our time together fondly, whenever I hear a flight attendant murmur, “Warm nuts?”
Most of the peanuts I grew up with were destined for brittle or Goobers, but I always had a hankering for show business—maybe it’s the cholesterol. But the fear was always there. Would the Planters people ever hire me as their mascot if they knew my secret? I had no role models; it wasn’t until years later that I found out about Mrs. Butterworth’s decades-long relationship with Mrs. Paul, and even today Christian fundamentalists preach that it’s sinful to pour maple syrup on fish sticks.
I began my career in vaudeville, as half of the successful dance team known as Peanut Butter & Jelly, and I’ll admit it: sometimes I pretended that we were a couple in real life as well. But Jelly was only my beard, and today she’s happily married to a block of Philadelphia cream cheese. People began to notice me, perhaps because I was the only peanut they’d ever seen with legs, a top hat, and a cane. But I fretted. Were the monocle and the spats “too gay”? Would bullies call me Miss Peanut or, worse, Mr. Penis? But my outfit made me special, and one day I got the call that every nut dreams of—a request to audition for the Planters board of directors. My agent warned me to “butch it up,” hissing, “Whatever you do, don’t come out of your shell. Your name isn’t Virginia Peanut.”
Trembling, I entered the boardroom. I sang and I danced, and, I’ll confess, I invented a Mrs. Peanut; I told the marketing people that my wife had died tragically, after a nasty little boy stuck her up his nose. “And I never saw her again,” I said, feigning tears. I could see that the Planters people were deeply moved. “You’re not just any peanut,” the C.E.O. told me. “I can picture you everywhere, from the tip of an elephant’s trunk to a barroom floor. There’s something wholesome about you, and I can tell that you’d never give anyone stomach cramps or diarrhea.”
Those were heady times, and my picture began to appear on advertisements and packaging all around the world. I went a little crazy, hooking up with both Buster Brown and the sailor on the Cracker Jack box, although my affair with Mr. Clean lasted well over a year. Mr. Clean, whose first name is Eugene, told me, “I don’t know what America is thinking. I’m a muscular bald man in a tight white T-shirt, with a single earring—to me that says San Francisco leather daddy.” In many ways, Mr. Clean was the perfect lover, because after even the messiest night of torrid lovemaking the bedroom was always spotless. We finally broke up after I came home early one day and caught him with Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy. “What can I say?” Poppin’ sneered, dripping with melted butter. “He likes my biscuits.”
After that, I went on a wild sex binge, with everyone from Cap’n Crunch to Snap, Crackle, and Pop, and I’ll just say this: none of those guys gets soggy in milk. I remember waking up in a cave in the jungle, in the paws of Tony the Tiger, who roared, “You were grrrrreat! ” But it all came crashing down when I found myself in a three-way, squeezed between Ronald McDonald and Snuggle, the fabric-softener bear, with dryer sheets stuck to my face with thick white clown makeup. Is this who I am? I wondered. What’s next? The Kool-Aid pitcher? Count Chocula? The Geico gekko?
I vowed to go it alone. The risk of exposure was too great. I’d seen what had happened after explicit photos had surfaced of two of the Keebler elves, deep within their hollow tree. I wasn’t sure exactly what they were doing, but if I were you I’d avoid the chocolate-covered mini-grahams. It made me think: What would happen to my career, and my brand, if people discovered that their favorite ambulatory snack was also, let’s just say, a mixed nut? Would the entire planet suddenly develop a peanut allergy? Would I be welcomed as Portia de Peanut, or would I be replaced by a more family-friendly peanut, a Palin peanut, a Joe the Peanut?
And then, God bless them, the Planters marketing people launched an image overhaul, and suddenly I had a spiffy new gray flannel blazer, the voice of Robert Downey, Jr., and . . . Benson. They call him my sidekick, but from the minute we were introduced we both knew that we were headed not just for a broad-based new campaign but for an announcement in the Sunday Times social pages, under the heading “Legumes Wed.”
What can I say? I’m nuts about him. And in bed, well, I’ll be discreet, but you know how whenever you pop open a new, freshness-sealed can of Planters it sighs? That’s how I feel. And that’s why I’m just like Portia and Ricky, because I want everyone to know who I really am. I want people to see that I’m just like any other delicious, all-natural treat. So please—understand me. Embrace me. Eat me. ♦
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2010/11/29/101129sh_shouts_rudnick#ixzz161sTdZ47