It was many a year ago that I matriculated at Yale University with an eye towards a PhD in mathematics, and lord knows, if the Soviets hadn’t launched that damned Sputnik, I would never have discovered the principles of global positioning, and would never have launched one of my few failed ventures– the Frog-O-Gram. What can I say? It was the late 1950s, and I thought, “If Tupperware can catch on, there’s no way this will fail!” To tell the truth, I am still perplexed as to how this did not work out. Especially considering the catchy television ads we took out in all major metropolitan areas. We negotiated a very fair deal with Cozy Cole for the rights to music, hired Herbert Klynn (later of of Alvin and the Chipmunks production fame), and instead of a thriving Frog-O-Gram business, what we wound up with was the hottest commercial to ever hit the airwaves. Though the catchphrase has lost the sheen accorded newly-birthed idioms, I’m sure you can all chime in at the appropriate moment, in the appropriate meter, when you hear this little number played:
You see– just one of my many contributions to the cultural zeitgeist. That urge to playfully scream, “Frog-O-Gram, Ma’am!”
I suppose part of the reason that Frog-O-Grams themselves were less popular than my commercial was due in part to the fact that the electrical pulses sent to the special orientation nodes inserted into their brains by my secretly launched satellite (the second in space, though I let NASA claim that they got there next, bless them) tended to not only disrupt electrolytes, but also to malfunction and resulted in many lost missives. Believe me, my mail room staff lost many a night of sleep over the thought of the droves of young lovers whose marriage proposals had been lost in the swamps of New Jersey, the jungles of West Texas, and the snows of Bakersfield. The families who, for weeks (sometimes months) were unaware of their sons and daughters deaths in the clandestine bitters wars of Angostura and Peychaud. (Side note, despite not functioning as an operational company for the 8 years prior, we continued to hold the government contract on death notice delivery until the second year of the Vietnam conflict. I definitely urge any of you out there contemplating such a partnership– take the government contract. We received steady checks, despite our abysmal performance record.) There was only so much we could do, even with all the best brains on the project. In fact, it was the genius of Jeannie-Fayelene Bakker, my personal bodyguard, with her dual degrees in Amphibian Neuropathy and Astronomical Engineering who finally developed the breakthrough membrane technology that would have really made the business feasible, but ahhh, at that point it was all for naught. The national speed limits had been raised to ungodly heights that just dared any frog to try to cross, and the wetlands were being drained for fancy new community colleges, technical schools, and Basque chain restaurants. Even if our customer base hadn’t deserted us, the world had shifted beneath us, and a highly specialized alternative to the postal service was now merely the province of drinkers and dreamers.
Still. I often think about those heady days of 1957, take another swig of scotch, and dream, dream, dream.