With the state of the world such as it is, I look to Log Cabin syrup to bring some sense of peace. I guess I always have. I would consider it one of my favorite food packaging labels of all time.
“What a lunatic,” someone might say. “Who could possibly find comfort in a bottle of pancake syrup?”
Have you ever looked at the picture on the label? I mean, REALLY looked at it.
There’s a cozy, finely crafted little cabin right in the middle. It has four windows and a door, each aglow with golden light. There’s a chimney on the snow-covered roof, and out of the chimney comes a swirl of smoke from the fire crackling away below, a man inside stoking the logs with a harpoon-like poker.
The cabin is surrounded by angelic-white snow – deep snow. There are seven pine trees, their boughs slightly weighted down by the same snow that surrounds them. Misty mountains stand as sentries on the horizon. A golden-yellow sun looms large over it all as the dawn of a new day undresses.
Even though the interior remains unseen, I imagine what it must look like. It’s square. The fireplace is in the far corner, and an area to prepare food and drink sits to its right. There’s a large table in the center of the cabin, a sturdy wooden table with four chairs – even though I would wish to be alone here. I imagine a homemade bed off to one side, thick blankets unfurled atop it, some sort of pillows, an opened trunk at the foot, a small table with an oil lamp within reach.
The whole place smells like camping.
There are no tracks, neither man nor animal, outside in the snow. It must be fresh powder, or the man inside just hasn’t had to go out in a while. Or maybe he can’t. Perhaps the Earth has drifted too close to that enormous sun and the world is set to burn, but wouldn’t the snow be completely melted?
“It’s simply a representation of the welcoming of a shiny new day. You should buy a bottle of our syrup to celebrate,” says the man from the marketing department.
“Oh,” the man inside the cabin says. “You have convinced my simple mind. I will buy some of your beautiful pancake syrup.”
“And be sure to buy more when you run out,” the man from the marketing department insists. “You will need this syrup forever. You will need it to survive.”
“Here’s all my money,” the man inside the cabin says.
“Great,” the man from the marketing department says, reaching out a hand and snatching the cash. “You’ve got a good job, right?”
“Yes, but I hate it,” the man in the cabin replies. “But it pays for the high-speed internet… And the syrup.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a black-market human butcher,” the man in the cabin answers.
“Sounds like a lifestyle that must be stained in blood.”
“Much more blood than you can possibly imagine… But I don’t want to talk about that. It upsets me… So, the sun isn’t real?” the man in the cabin wants to know. “Am I merely living in a simulation?”
“Oh, it’s real alright. The world is melting away. I’m just here to convince you otherwise. You’ll be safe. As long as you buy our syrup.”
“I will. It’s delicious… There are many other products on the shelf, but this one is the best. I love the picture on the bottle. Absolutely love it. Just the thought of eating pancakes in the wilderness calms my anxiety and tenderizes my angst. It brings me hope at the end of a dark day. Goodbye now.”
The man inside the cabin slams the door and goes back to sharpening his knives.