We Were Yogurts
Thomas Bryan Michurski
a boy, I had never considered a bloated cranium to be a lucky break,
but I was thankful for the anonymity. I respected Spoon as she was
continuously subjected to the embarrassment of having her face exposed
to the public. I watched the crowds nervously through the mesh,
hidden by the painted logo on the outside. As a small time local
actor, I had always been a contradiction; I wanted fame, yet I ran
whenever cornered by people who wanted to give me praise. I preferred
it to be written on a piece of paper and shoved under the door.
has always had an embarrassment continuum. There are low embarrassment
gigs, the kind you want to tell your friends about, like say, being
the Terminator in a summer blockbuster. Playing yogurt man, sadly,
was near the other end of the spectrum, along with dressing up,
pretending to be a real 13th century English merchant at the renaissance
festival, asking people if they want to"try some of the king's
day, terror arrived when I was asked to ride in my hometown's Blazin'
4th of July parade -- in the yogurt costume. Standing on the sidelines
were my neighbors, and my high school friends. Even a girlfriend
or two waved passively to the cup of frozen dairy riding on the
trunk of the wine-colored Chrysler Lebaron convertible. I waved
my gloved hand like a beauty queen, waxing the air softly, switching
hands when I turned to the other side of the street. No one knew
it was me, though my subconscious believed that there was a giant
sign on the side of the car saying: "Inside this yogurt costume
is Bryan. Please throw something at him like those Tootsie Rolls
you just received from the panting, overweight girls' dance instructor."
was much to do as a yogurt. It was like being a minor star on a
media junket that no one knew about. We would crash local talk shows
hoping for an invitation on air, but were usually ushered outside
in the 90-degree heat, holding a dripping pallet of low-fat vanilla
Once, during a successful entry of a popular radio station, the
DJ invited Spoon and I into the studio, during their wacky morning
show, and asked me if I wanted to say anything to the listeners.
It was one of those few opportunities that God gives us, a chance
to say something beautiful and enlighten the masses, a chance most
of us fritter away by saying Hi to Aunt Gertie in Akron, or waving
stupidly on TV to Mom in Des Moines.
first I was nervous and disoriented, and froze like the treat I
was. I had nearly been driven mad from two weeks of baking in the
sun, wearing a three-inch-thick poly-fiber canister, so with a muddled
head, I blurted out that I was a yogurt king and that all should
bow before me.
its best success, I suppose it could have ended with me sitting
on a makeshift throne somewhere with a few dozen listeners bowing
at my feet. I'd like to think that somewhere, in the suburb of Coon
Rapids, a guy who heard me that day still listens to the morning
show, awaiting my royal instructions.
proclamation raised an eyebrow from the PR guy, who let me know
that arrogance was not one of the brand traits of a Colombo Frozen
Yogurt, and that declarations of supreme power would be best left
to the more casual sampling events. Consumers buying taco salad
from the insurance company's cafeteria are, evidently, less offended
by self-crowned yogurt rulers.
eventually became time to leave my position as the yogurt. It hadn't
yet been recognized as a serious way to make a living, long-term,
and I don't think my talents were really compatible with wearing
an oversized dessert -- evidence that was supported by my high school
guidance counselor, who when suggesting career paths based on my
vocational test, would have mentioned it, I'm sure. "Big yogurt"
would, by logic, have come between "Anthropologist" and
"Cartographer" on the list.
I retired from the silent world of food pantomime. Spoon and I said
our goodbyes. We waved our white-gloved hands at each other in the
parking lot of a Hardware Hank, with a tearful "later".
Things had changed. I was a few weeks older now and had grown. I
wanted to use my talent to make a difference in the lives of others
and break through to them on a personal level. I wanted my life's
work to be worthy of a proud working class family like mine.
my new understanding tucked away in my pocket, I went searching.
The perfect opportunity arrived just a few short days later -- running
around the Met Center Stadium during a Minnesota North Stars hockey
game wearing a goalie mask and handing out money to unsuspecting
winners in the crowd, like Jason from Friday the 13th hosting
the new Let's Make a Deal.
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|