Nutty Mr. Lady

August 18, 2010 at 11:51 pm 8 comments

I’m not sure what it says about me that one of my earliest childhood memories centers around Mr. Peanut.

I’d like to think that it reflects an innate interest in and affinity for effective advertising and marketing. But after telling you this story, I probably won’t be able to get away with that explanation.

I remember it so vividly. My mother and I walked into the drug store, and there he was: Mr. Peanut, hawking his salty snacks, twirling his cane and, in the grand tradition of costumed mascot characters everywhere, making a special point to talk to all the kids.

I was pretty excited to meet Mr. Peanut. After all, I was a big fan of his TV work, and he looked even more stylish and sophisticated in person.

“Hello, little girl! How are you today?”

Wait, what? Mr. Peanut sounds like a…

Lady!

According to my mother, who can’t even believe I remember this event, I must have been no more than three years old at the time, if that. For me, hearing a woman’s voice come from Mr. Peanut just didn’t compute.

How could Mr. Peanut be a lady if he’s a Mister?

Photo credit: BrookeB

So, in the grand tradition of obsessed children everywhere, I followed Mr. Peanut all around the store. My mother couldn’t drag me away I was so fascinated by the whole thing.

I can only imagine how irritated the woman in the costume must have been. I wouldn’t let her out of my sight. I stuck to her like a sticky delicious butter made from peanuts.

She was probably thinking she got the cushy costumed character gig: indoors, air conditioned, not a whole lot of kids to deal with. But here’s this annoying three-year-old, following her every move and essentially critiquing her performance. (Although in my defense, I really think she could have at least tried to sound more manly. I mean, come on, think of the children!)

It was funny telling my mother this story years later, because she just always assumed I was fascinated by a big costumed character – it was probably the first one I’d ever seen. She had no idea about the internal “Dude sounds like a lady” monologue I had going on.

Several years ago, a friend gave me a betta fish. I named him Mr. Fish, and he lived a good long life, particularly for a betta. He died of old age when he was about 4 years old.

I met my husband about a year after Mr. Fish died, and he happened to have a betta fish named Tony. One day he pointed out the bubble nest Tony had made – a sure sign, my husband said, of a healthy male betta. In fact, it’s something only male bettas do.

Hmmm…Mr. Fish never made a bubble nest.

Yep, you guessed it.

Turns out Mr. Fish had been a lady.

Just like Mr. Peanut.

This post was inspired by the prompt “Things you oddly obsessed about as a child,” from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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Entry filed under: Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diane  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Too funny! I can imagine how confusing that must have been for your 3 year old self to hear that lady’s voice coming our of Mr. Peanut! What in the world is a bubble nest? We’ve had several bettas, currently two, and I don’t think I’d know a bubble nest if I saw one.

    Reply
  • 3. debdunlevy  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Okay, that is too hilarious. I love the things kids notice. It’s always surprising and sort of wonderful. Even when it’s weird. 😉 Loved your writing. This is my first visit. I’ll be back.

    Reply
  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marla Lepore, Marla Lepore. Marla Lepore said: Nutty Mr. Lady: http://wp.me/pY47f-5e […]

    Reply
  • 6. Emily  |  August 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Your post reminds me of the time when my beliefs in the Easter Bunny were destroyed. I was probably four or five and was next to sit on his lap. Suddenly he got up. I said, “Mommy why is the Easter Bunny leaving?” and he leaned over to me and said, “Bunny has to make”.

    An Easter Bunny can’t talk! I was scarred for life.

    Reply
  • 7. marlainkontheside  |  August 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    “Bunny has to make?” I love it. You can never recover from that one!

    Reply
  • […] November 8, 2010 You may recall my childhood encounter with “Mister” Peanut, which I wrote about in the post Nutty Mr. Lady. […]

    Reply

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