Big Shrimp! Sounds like a contradiction.
Jingles. Yes. I have written them. Can’t say I’m proud. It’s just a fact: when you’re an ad copywriter, some corporations call for musical renditions through which they woo their customers. Or think they’re wooing them. Right now, Kraft’s “Crumbelievable,” (a remake of British dance band EMF’s “Unbelievable”) irritates me so much that I want to punch the TV in the face.
Most of the time, these simpleton-ish ditties get stuck in my noggin 24/7 on a terrifying loop, but sometimes, these irritating melodies spill from my lips when I’m in the shower or taking out the trash or walking to the ladies room (or in a ladies room stall). So excuse me in advance, if you ever see/hear me serenading myself.
The jingle I wrote was for fried-in-GMO-vein-clogging-corn-oil (might even be some motor oil in there) shrimp from Long John (Dong, we said) Silvers. Yes. But not just any ‘ole shrimp. BIG SHRIMP!
Here are the lyrics:
“Big shrimp, sounds like a contradiction.
Big shrimp, we’re not talking fiction.
Big shrimp, it’ll be bigger than your prediction.
Big shrimp, it’ll cure your shrimp addiction.
At Loooong Joooohn Siiiillllvers…
While I penned this priceless poetry of commerce, the jingle was sung for me by a now-deceased friend, Mark, who chose to interpret this jaunty number as a Frank Sinatra/SNL Bill Murray lounge singer, replete with accompaniment on his portable Casio organ. Mark sent me a cassette (what are those?) with his joyous recording on it. I played it for everyone who I could pin down in my office for at least :30. It was incredible and I can sing it now. I wish you could hear me. The agency, however, chose to make it schmaltzy with a chorus of singers and lots of tambourines, finger cymbals and cowbells.
But the thing I liked best about the commercial was that the couple, two blonde-ish, middle-aged actors (bad casting, middle-aged people can die eating this crap) who were meant to be in love with Long John’s Big Shrimp flirted with each and actually “toasted” with the shrimp a la wine glasses. However, while on production, they (I didn’t get to go on the shoot) saved the best for last:
These two vanilla-y, scale-paid actors consumed this death food by wrapping their wrists around each other like newlyweds do at a wedding when eating their cake and FED each other the shrimp.
I am going to find this gem of creative brilliance and post it on social media. All I have now is a clunky three-quarter tape that costs oodles to get transferred to something playable. (The speed technology advances is as warp-speed fast as Twitter posts appearing on my feed. I refresh my page and there are three Tweets. I look up two minutes later, there are 968.)
But the fun didn’t end there.
Mark used the same tune for another song that he wrote lyrics for, and sadly, I can’t claim authorship to them. His excellent song was “Let’s Rock Iraq.”
Once again, he sang his unique compositions a la Wayne Newton and he just tickled me – his voice had a certain swagger. Back in the backward technology days of the 90s (car cell phones the size of bricks) and when we were at war with Saddam Hussein, he sang this one to me – into my boxy, modern answering machine. When I came home from work, I was greeted by a flashing light (always so exciting!) I pushed the button and out came these astonishingly clever lyrics:
“Saddam is such a mad man.
Hussein rhymes with insane.
He’s really got it, that man.
This guy’s a royal pain.
He’s stirrin’ up the Arab masses.
He needs some geography classes.
Look how high the price of gas is…
Let’s go kick some Iraqi asses…
Rinse and repeat.
When I heard this, I just fell out (this is what they do at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church when someone is slain by the spirit.) I was writhing with uncontrollable laughter and dancing around my apartment, legs kicking, arms akimbo.
I miss my friend, Mark. He was such a funny, kind, gentle soul, and so wanted to be a jingle singer. When he died, he left me all his VHS tapes of classic movies like Gone with the Wind and musicals like My Fair Lady – hundreds of them. I was in Cinema Heaven.
And while Mark was never a national sensation, he was my Big Shrimp-singing hero for a brief :30 in time, and was famous via Long John Silvers, in my office, and for all who were within earshot.
To this, I raise my imaginary crunchy crustacean and toast a hearty thank you to the Jingle God – and Long John Silvers for bestowing upon me – and Mark – the chance to immortalize ourselves in the baffling contradiction called Big Shrimp!