Juli Zeh - The Kelloggâ€™s Trauma
â€œKelloggâ€™s!â€ Paradiseâ€™s name on earth. Except that we never got Kelloggâ€™s, at least not at home, so we had to resort to the generosity of our friendsâ€™ parents who would let us sleep over on weekends. In the mornings, said friendsâ€™ mothers would then watch us in amazement as we gobbled down six or seven bowls of Smacks or Frosties, slumping round-backed in our seats, gazing fixedly at the back of a Kelloggâ€™s cereal box, and devouring the both pointless yet fascinating trivia shown there.
â€œDonâ€™t they feed you at home?â€
Yes, but not Smacks or Frosties (â€œway too much sugarâ€), just cornflakes that were, oh botheration, not Kelloggâ€™s but Bargain & Coâ€™s., A & Pâ€™s, Tipâ€™s or some other cheap brand, which, however much sugar you added to the unsweetened wood shavings still tasted of unsweetened wood shavings, but with added sugar. Never mind that my mother repeated over and over again that ALDIâ€™s cornflake boxes listed the same ingredients as Kelloggâ€™s cornflake boxes and that it was ridiculous to pay exorbitant amounts for a brand name with some bright colors. An argument which was also to blame for the fact that the cola in our house was not genuine Coca-Cola, that the chocolate spread was not real Nutella, and the Maggi condiment was not quite Maggi. In part because money was a little tight at times, but mainly on principle. My mother considered buying brand products a sign of superficiality, consumerism and lamebrained manipulability. By contrast, the sharp-witted consumer sniffed out bargains like a tracker dog and bought no-name products in deliberately ugly packaging. Purportedly without any loss in quality.
Now children hold no truck with these kinds of subtleties. Children have faith. And, as true believers everywhere know: all cornflakes except Kelloggâ€™s not only taste of wood shavings, they also turn into a slimy slop the minute you add the milk. An experience you would not want to wish on anyone, especially not yourself.
Numerous Kelloggâ€™s cereal boxes were hidden in the shopping cart under bags of toilet rolls only to be removed brutally just before the checkout counter. Numerous whiney arguments were held, proving over and over again the absolute irreconcilableness of ideologies. Since leaving my parentsâ€™ home I have invested hundreds of euros in those effectively sinfully expensive Kelloggâ€™s products to hold my childhood-induced trauma at bay. Small wonder that after such emotional damage I became an artist. At the end of the day, and when you come to think of it, there is an aesthetic principal at the core of the Kelloggâ€™s argument: true enjoyment can only exist when it is rooted in faith, and true faith can only flourish in conjunction with fantasy. Which is why on occasion reason proves itself to be a fruitless endeavor.
The Brander is a publication of the Branders Group