Obtuse Meanings

1980s Apple computer advertisement

The Apple logo shows up twice, rainbow–striped and missing that minimalist aesthetic we associate with the company now. The couple in the photograph aren't the hip scenesters who gyrate their way through ipod TV commercials. This image belongs to my childhood. The floppy disk on the table—the 8" kind that actually flopped—and the woman's button-down layered over a turtleneck would be right at home in my dining–room circa 1992. I still have a box with that bright logo. It's small, maybe 3x6x9. Since 1992 or so, I've carted it around. It's stuffed with paper cut–outs, not dolls, but dinosaurs and monkeys, and—yes—apples. That's what the old–school apple logo means: monochrome children's crafting supplies, and a life of constant moving in which I pack up my things so often that I can never just put them away and forget about them.

Heinz ketchup advertisement

It's just gross, what Heinz does here. How clever, to try and bring ketchup back to its roots as a garden–grown fruit! Forget the chemicals and preservatives and other stuff the average chef fails to stock her pantry with. In fairness, Heinz ketchup's ingredients list reads: "Tomatoes (132g per 100g Ketchup), Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Spice & Herb Extracts (contains Celery), Spice". Putting aside for now the odd distinction between "Spice & Herb Extracts" and "Spice" (not to mention the strange inclusion of "Celery" in the "Spice & Herb Extracts" category), this wholesome list is hardly one to scoff at in an age of unnatural food. Still, though, the image of the label painted directly onto tomato slices makes the whole enterprise just ooky. Who wants a painted tomato? Certainly not me...it reminds me of those sugar–pictures that can be superimposed directly on cakes and cupcakes. As though cakes and cupcakes can't stand on their own merits. No, give me a tomato the way I first encountered them, all sun-warm from the sloping garden behind our house. They were the first fruits my dad grew in German soil (although we did have plums already, but they just grew). They were delicious and he grew them for us. I would no more paint one of those tomatos with a brand label than I would shave my favorite soda's logo into my dog's side. That's not what makes them, tomatoes or dogs, wonderful. They're perfectly wonderful on their own.

Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Down below here is the Colorado River, although the picture's so low–quality, perhaps only the whitewater gives it away. The sinuous stretch leading to it is the path that the mules take down the side of the Grand Canyon. Those mules can only carry up to 200lbs, which was a plenty high limit for my 95lb grandmother, who had wanted to do it all her life. It's my parents' fault that I want to as well. They gave me Brighty of the Grand Canyon when I was young and impressionable. I never really liked animal books (My Friend Flicka may be the worst piece of sentimental garbage ever foisted on eighth–graders) and still don't. That one left me with a real longing that I know now my family who lived in Arizona also felt. How strange, though, that I would glean it from a book and not directly from them. I suppose Brighty was a relay for feelings in a family that doesn't talk about them overmuch.