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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Blogs

I was rejected by a cartoon cereal mascot

Sun. 4:15 PM

Sent off my fourth or fifth tweet to @RealCapnCrunch, the official, verified[1] twitter account of Captain Crunch. Yes, that Captain Crunch. The foremost naval commander of Quaker Oats cereals.

He’s never responded to any of my tweets asking for an interview. This is worrisome. I have a bunch of followers who can see these tweets, at least three of which aren’t porn bots. Sick of the highly public silence from across the Internet, I decide to go to the source.

 

Mon. 8:07 AM

Arrive at work over an hour early in order to sneak in some journalism before a long day of staring at a computer screen. Outside my office in Los Feliz elaborate, state-commissioned yet just-edgy-enough street art decorates the brick across the street. I dial the number I’d stashed in my phone contacts the night before. My good friend “Quaker Oats,” Q-dog for short.

After some guided button-pressing through the company directory— para españoles, pulse dos— I arrive in the shadow of the valley of muzak. A melodramatic, dirge-y piano piece on a skipping CD blares through the speakers. Listening to the music I find my foot tapping off-beat, erratically. It dawns on me that I’m nervous. I feel like I’m about to ask an attractive stranger out on a coffee date.  A bus and a herd of motorcyclists stampede down the road outside my office and for once I wish to stay on hold until the noise clears. No such luck.

“Good morning this is Quaker Oats my name is (MOTORCYCLE ENGINE REVVV REVV HEY MAN LOOK AT MY BIKE ISN’T IT DOPE HELL YEAH MAN REVV REVV REVVV) how can I help you?”

I miss the name but catch his accent. Southern and wholesome as cinnamon sugar oatmeal. This is what Matthew Mcconaughey tries to sound like when he comes off sinister instead, this is every male lead’s voice from Gone With The Wind blended together and doused in a mint julep, this is looking at your step-grandfather’s black-and-white Navy portrait and, while examining his stern yet warm expression, having the uncomfortable realization that pop-pop used to be pretty sexy.[2] I try to re-focus.

“Hey, yeah, ah, hi! Er, my name is Sarah Kasulke (true) and I’m a student at Ithaca College (true.) This might sound weird (it does,) but I have to do an assignment for class where I interview someone in a field I want to pursue (true,) and I think the guy who runs Captain Crunch’s twitter is a genius (obviously.) See, I want to run a big company’s social media marketing (total and complete filthy, repulsive, bald-faced lie[3].) So, uh, I’d really love if I could talk to whoever runs the Captain Crunch twitter (true.)”

No-Name chuckles as I finish my sentence and his aw-shucks drawl crackles through the phone again: “No, no, not weird at all. I totally see where you’re comin’ from. Now Sarah, what I can do for you, see, is I don’t know who runs that twitter. See we’re in a satellite office? But what I can do for you is pass along your information and try and get you in touch with the right people.”

I’m totally charmed. Last time I swooned like this for a man I was eight and he was taking out the Death Star.[4] I quickly give him my contact information, say “you too” after he thanks me for calling, and walk back inside. A definite “maybe” on that coffee date.

 

Mon. 12: 46 PM

Tweeted at captain crunch already, asking again for an interview. No email from the Quaker Oats people yet.  I’ve checked. A lot. So this is what my life’s come to, huh? Eagerly awaiting an email from a cartoon character? I refresh my inbox. Nothing.

 

Thurs. 1:32 PM

I get a call back. No can do. Due to their extremely heavy workload, no one in the social media department has any time to talk to me. No time at all. Zero. My heart plummets into my colon.

The woman on the phone— I don’t remember her name, it definitely wasn’t Pam but she sounded like a Pam and acted like a Pam so Pam she shall be— is beauracratically apologetic. It is her job to be apologetic, Quaker Oats has hired her to turn away apparent crazies like me and offer coupons for cheaper oatmeal bars to disgruntled single mothers, she is the best genuine-but-firm voice’d woman in the business, Kellogg used to have her but Quaker Oats snagged her once her contract was up, it was a total coup, oh Pam you dirty, insatiable white collar business professional why are you doing this to me? She doesn’t know quite what to say, manages to express “we apologize” and “just don’t have the time at this time” six different ways each before my final “Thank you, ma’am, have a nice day” has me pushing the “end” button as she squeaks in a final “you too” out of my receiver, always having to get the last polite word, that naughty, wicked, consummate workplace professional.

No interview, no article. I brainstorm ways to turn things around.

 

Thurs. 8:06 PM

Impromptu grocery run. My list is short: soup, milk, deodorant, crackers, mints. The essentials. My roommate and I are midway through an argument about bread varieties[5] when something catches my eye. Cereal. But not Captain Crunch. Knockoff captain crunch.

From the bottom shelf I snag an industrial-sized bag of Berry Colossal Crunch® and inspect the contents. It looks exactly—not sort of, not a little, exactly— like Captain Crunch. The only noticeable difference is in place of the won’t-return-my-calls Captain is a super-rad, ray-bans wearing periwinkle colored kangaroo labeled “Cool Blue” and a tiny yellow kangaroo in his/her pouch called “L’il Oaty.” Oaty flashes the “okay” sign from Blue’s pouch, as if to say “Hey consumer! We know you’re broke, and that’s totally cool! Buy this sack of fake Captain Crunch and eat like a diabetic king for twice the food at half the price!”

That L’il Oaty drives a hard bargain. Still angered at the Quaker Oats people for denying me an interview and still broke because I’m in college, I throw the rebound cereal in my cart. It’s a big bag— “Twice the amount!” I estimate it’ll last me two weeks.

 

 

Sun. 10:41 AM

I finish my last bowl of Berry® Colossal ® Crunch ®. Okay, so half a week. It was good cereal.

 

Mon.  11: 22 AM

At work, on lunch, on twitter. Decide on one, final hail Mary. A final tweet at the captain.

 

@skasulke: What do you think about imitation crunchberries?

 

I promptly forget about the tweet and get back to work. Some forty five minutes later, realize I picked up a few new spambot followers in the last hour. Que? Then, a thought dawns on me. No. It couldn’t possibly. No.

Yes.

 

@RealCaptainCrunch: Many have tried to imitate my Crunch Berries, @skasulke… none have succeeded. #UndefeatedChampion

 

Quite the anticlimax to what I was hoping would be an in-depth profile— like a lame “sorry” text after being stood up for that coffee date. Plus, the Captain’s wrong. I’ve converted from his name-brand, no good “time at this time” to BCC for good. Or until I can afford the real stuff and get over my rejection. At least until I finish this next bag.

I wonder if L’il Oaty has a twitter?

 

 



[1] Verified! Like he’s Matt Damon, or one of the metrosexual goblins in One Direction!

[2] The author would like to remind the reader that she’s still gayer than a rainbow on Haight street and, impressive as his mustache may be, is not attracted to her step grandfather, who blessedly does not read this column.

[3] Unless I got to run a twitter like @RealSeaDog, another verified account run by the people at Quaker Oats. The new run of Caprain Crunch commercials feature his first mate as the dog, so they made the dog a twitter. Except all of the tweets are the word “HOWL” in all caps at different lengths. That’s all it is. Every single tweet. The Captain Crunch twitter tweets at this dog all the time, and all the dog does in response is howl. That’s borderline performance art— wonderful, hilarious performance art someone gets paid to tweet each day by Quaker Oats— and is a job I covet tremendously.

[4] Lando, not Han.

[5] He thinks wheat bread is an acceptable purchase and I think it’s sandwich-murdering cardboard fluff-chunks for geriatric weenies.