There are some things that I find oddly fascinating - things like maps, conservative Christian movie reviews, and those mini-roller coasters for marbles that you can buy at museum gift shops. They do not so much inspire affection or joy as do they stimulate regions of my brain that don’t normally get utilized. Once these things enter my line of sight, any and all neurons that attempt to distract me are soundly overpowered. One of the stimulants of this brainy arousal is a person – a very special person with true star quality that defies conventional standards of attractiveness. Of course, I am referring to the Honey Bunches of Oats Lady.
You know her. She’s everywhere (except Google Images). She is the middle-aged black woman wearing a shower cap and protective goggles whom Post Cereals has chosen to be the face, voice, and spirit of Honey Bunches of Oats in their national commercials. I doubt that many would call her beautiful. I must confess that I don’t find anything sexy about her. Indeed, there is something psychotic in her folksy cackle. But damn it all to Hell, when she pops out from behind a doorway excitedly screeching “Are You Hungry?????!!!!??” I cannot turn away. Yes, Honey Bunches of Oats Lady, I am hungry – hungry for knowledge!
Who is this woman? Why does she love Honey Bunches of Oats so much? What possesses her to promote said bunches to apparent strangers with such ferocity? Does she work at the Honey Bunches of Oats Factory? Is that why she wears that shower cap that seems like one small step up from Aunt Jemima’s old school doo rag? Are she and the Burger King lovers? Who is the actress who so fully embodies this character? Was there a large search put out seeking enthusiastic, heavyset, mildly deranged yet pleasant black ladies who don’t mind being portrayed in a somewhat subservient light? Is she Pepsi to the Pine Sol Lady’s Coke? Is it actually Halle Berry packing on the pounds and prosthetics to stretch herself as a performer?
Why do you haunt my dreams, Honey Bunches of Oats Lady? I mean, when you say that a spoonful of Honey Bunches of Oats is “like a mouthful o’ joy,” adding about four extras syllables to the word “joy,” I really believe you! No breakfast cereal has ever made me feel that way, but you make me suspect that this particular cereal might just do the trick. You, Honey Bunches of Oats Lady, could sell refrigerators to Eskimos. You are a superstar!