Tom the Tiger

Sometimes I think I want to invent my own breakfast cereal, like it doesn’t matter what it’s called, or even what it tastes like. The only thing that I have planned out is that the mascot is going to be this giant humanoid tiger, and he’s going to go, “Theyyyyyy’re terrific!” just exactly the same way that Tony the Tiger does his slogan.

Tony the Tiger

And then I’m going to sit there by the phone and wait for Kellogg to give me a call. “Hello, we’re calling about Tom the Tiger,” because that’s what I’m going to name my Tiger mascot, Tom, and he’s going to have the same broad shoulders, the same red neckerchief, Tom’s obviously labeled “Tom” instead of “Tony,” the same shit-eating grin and index finger pointed high in the sky, “We’re issuing a cease-and-desist.”

And I’ll be like, fuck that man, I’m no lawyer, you can’t kill Tom the Tiger just because you don’t like what he has to say. He’s not saying “They’re great!” he’s saying, terrific, “And besides,” I’ll tell them, “This is actually Tony the Tiger’s older brother, Tom,” and they’ll be like, “All right, you want to do this the hard way? Let’s do this the hard way.” And I’ll be like, “Fine, if you guys want to do it the hard way, let’s go.”

That might unnerve them a little, because here’s the thing, you get some company pissed off about a cartoon tiger, fine, they send you a letter, it’s some lawyer, sure, terrific, let me ask you, what are you going to do, you’re going to come over my cereal factory and physically stop me from making Tom the Tiger boxes? No, you’re going to have to start a whole legal proceeding, and I’ll make sure that takes time.

And I never understood the legalities, say some judge tells you to knock it off. Say you don’t want to, what, do the cops eventually get involved? Do they storm the cereal factory, start ripping up boxes? Or would they just like block out the part of the box with the mascot? I’m just saying, I think this whole system is a huge power trip, scare tactics, intimidation, big cereal.

And besides, Tom the Tiger really is Tony the Tiger’s older brother. Who do you think taught Tony how to stand upright like a human being, how to make a red embroidered neckerchief with “Tony” on the bottom? Because it is embroidered, even though by the illustration it only looks like it’s maybe screen-printed. And he talks. Tigers don’t talk. They certainly don’t teach themselves how to talk.

Who taught Tony? Tom. But who taught Tom? Ah, that’s the question. Tom’s actually pretty hush-hush about the whole “Who taught you how to walk and talk like a human” business, and don’t even bother asking him as to how he got his start in the whole cereal business.

And so, your honor, I’d like to continue to point out that, where exactly in the Constitution does it grant Kellogg the right to deny me the use of my imagination to expand upon the Tony the Tiger biography? What has Kellogg done new with character in, what, twenty, thirty years? He’s been around forever. I think the guy that does his voice died like ten years ago. That’s why I’m careful not to too strongly link Tom with any sort of specific voice or inflection or intonation.

Your honor, another thing, how long – no I object! – how long exactly must these cartoon cereal character characters remain slaves of their prepackaged dry-goods? Why just Frosted Flakes? Maybe Tony wants to move on. Maybe Tom’s here to rescue him. Kids love Tony, and Tony loves kids. But maybe Tony doesn’t want to peddle around sugar-coated cereals anymore. What about diabetes? Did you know that tigers can get diabetes also?

Show me the statistics of tiger diabetes, Kellogg. Well, you’re the cartoon tiger experts, aren’t you? No, you’re not. I am. Here are the statistics. You see what they say? That one hundred percent of cartoon tigers suffer from type one adult onset diabetes. And that’s just tigers. You should see the kinds of fucked up shit Chester Cheeto has to deal with.

I will not be held in contempt. Tom has a right to exist! Frosted Flakes is trying to take away our freedom! Your honor, I – get your hands off of me! Theyyyy’re terrific! Terrific! Theyyyyy’re grrrrreat!

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