Saturday, February 12, 2005

Speaking of Badly Written Essays By Me..

I was looking through some of my old stuff that I wrote in high school and I found this gem. Basically, I had already gotten into college via early decision in December and I was really going crazy in the following spring. According to the paper, I wrote this my senior year on March 26, 2000. It was for my AP English Language class and the assignment was to reflect deeply on a great piece of art. I had no access to any great pieces of art at my home and I sure as hell wasn't going to make the effort and try to find some. Anyhoo.. so I saw an ad with some coupons in the Sunday paper and decided to write about that. So here it is...

In his cartoon-like visage, Colonel Sanders, depicted in the advertisement for Kentucky Fried Chicken, embodies the human condition: the yearning for happiness, joy and comfort. He has his hand outstretched in a friendly manner, inviting us to “love what the Colonel’s got cookin’.” After our daily struggles to make something in this world, we all want to do just that- to come home, and even if it is not exactly a home-cooked meal, to smell the pleasant aromas of fried chicken, Kentucky fried chicken. The food allows us to go back to a simpler time when we were younger, when we were carefree, when after a day of frolicking in the grassy meadows, we would look forward to delicious food to fill our bellies.

Although the new depiction of the Colonel has been jazzed-up to make him more appealing to the modern public, he still is a symbol of nostalgia that seems to be a terminal disease-afflicting mankind. Even with all our fireworks and Dick Clark specials to sound in a new millennium, we still wish to relive “how it used to be,” often even when we were yet to be born when it was “how it used to be.” Despite its many hardships and tragedies, the era that the Colonel came out of seems to be somewhat alluring to us when we fall victim to the stresses of the modern world. Dinners were not the greasy burgers from Micky Dee’s but were much more carefully constructed by wives and mothers slaving endlessly over the stove.

Although in many ways he is a symbol of an age-old aristocracy, the Colonel personifies more the values of the middle class than of his own class. There has been an amazing amount of abundance in this past decade, including amazing growth in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, so we are told that we should feel lucky to be living in such an wondrous time of prosperity. Yet, for some reason, wages have remained stagnant while profits have grown exponentially. Raises in wages have hardly kept up with the cost of living. We all wish we could go to such high-end restaurants such as the Olive Garden, but that sort of delicacy is out of reach for many of us. The Colonel benevolently offers low prices on hardy meal packages that can be shared by the entire family. Col. Sanders refuses to stop there: he offers coupons to give the customers even lower prices and perhaps bring about something that seems to be lost in our society of moral decay: loyalty, especially customer loyalty.

In the end, even with his jolly smile like the mythical Santa Claus, Colonel Sanders is really, truly a martyr. He is like Joan of Arc, the woman who died so that her country could be united. He is like the Christians who died for the entertainment of Caligula, and who would not betray their faith to save their own lives. Even with all his riches and fine white suits, he makes a profound sacrifice at a perhaps slightly lower level. He makes tasty chicken-meals that will make us love what he is cooking.

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