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Runneth Over With Cups


Long ago – they tell me it was 1973 – the 7-11 convenience store chain released a series of Slurpee cups with images of DC Comics super heroes printed on them: http://www.glassnews.com/images/dcchecklist.gif.  These were cheap, plastic cups in which the neon-colored concoction of syrup and crushed ice was dispensed.  Usually, the cups featured a never-ending parade of sports stars, which held no interest to an avid indoorsman like me, who spent most of his free time coloring or playing with bugs.  Having developed a growing interest in the cartoon likes of Superman and his cape-wearing ilk, I was very excited that this form of merchandising was taking a break from the Aarons and Clementes to serve up a few men in tights.  Draw your own Freudian conclusions.


The problem was that the cups were packed randomly.  You’d order a Slurpee and the tired 7-11 clerk would pull the next available cup from the dispenser without either of you knowing which character you’d get.  You’d have your fingers crossed for a Batman or a Green Lantern, only to be served up a Slurpee in a Wonder Girl cup.  I would’ve settled for an Hourman, Sgt. Rock or even Chameleon Boy (whoever he was), but which cup did I get over and over?  Perry White.


That’s right, no two-fisted action man for me.  I got Perry White, Clark Kent’s boss at the Daily Planet.  While the other characters were out combating giant monsters with their laser vision and shape-shifting and such, Perry was sitting at his desk, editing newspaper copy.  And I got cups sporting this dynamic pencil pusher time and time again in the Slurpee cup lotto, like some sick, cosmic joke.  Once, my father was sent to the 7-11 to fetch Slurpees for me and the neighbor kids and returned with three Perry Whites!  It was obvious that the 7-11, DC Comics, God and my father all hated me.


But today, I cherish the Perry White cup as a valuable life lesson.  In this world, there are no super heroes, no benevolent ultramen ready to swoop down from the sky to right injustices like these.  There is only a never-ending stream of Perry Whites, business-savvy number crunchers, grinding out daily product and obsessing over the bottom line.  Not unlike the stodgy, old 7-11 executives who toyed with my boyhood dreams with their cheap, plastic shell game and snickered at my misfortune.


So yes, I blame Slurpee cups for all my cynicism about the modern world.  But it could’ve been worse.  Imagine my opinion of the Powers That Be had I gotten a few Commissioner Gordons.




Posted by thrdgll at 11:17 AM EDT

09/05/2007 - 5:23 PM EDT

Name: "Amy"
Home Page: http://beanyland.typepad.com

Hey, what about ol' J. Jonah Jameson? Actually, I would have enjoyed getting him... he's a lot more fun than Perry White. Hey, did the secret identity characters ever show up on the cups? Like Clark Kent, Peter Parker, etc.? That would've been cute.


09/05/2007 - 5:26 PM EDT

Name: "Amy"
Home Page: http://beanyland.typepad.com

Oh, and when it comes down to office-y superheroes, I'd eat my own head if it meant I could get a Bill Gannon glass!

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