I’ll always remember where I was when I heard the news. I think we all will. I was in the SkyMall Monday headquarters. There was a “Breaking News Alert” on CNN. I looked up from my giant magnifier and realized that the world would never be the same. In that moment, I knew how my parents must have felt when President Kennedy was killed. My heart sank. I struggled to swallow. My eyes welled up as I attempted to stifle the tears. Gidget, the former Taco Bell chihuahua, was dead. I’ve never been a fan of Taco Bell. In fact, I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have made “a run for the border.” Oddly, though, I need several more hands to count the number of apocalyptic bowel movements caused by those visits. But Gidget was a cultural icon. Lost in the news of the deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays, Gidget’s passing last week got me thinking: Can SkyMall help me mourn? Our favorite catalog has been there for us when we didn’t even know we had a problem. But could it help me get through the Five Stages of Grief? It only took me a few moments to realize that SkyMall could comfort me in ways that no human could. Because SkyMall sells Fernando the Chihuahua.
Let’s look at each stage of grief and how a 9.5″ tall chihuahua statue helped me smile again:
Denial: I spent my first day with Fernando watching the original commercial in a loop while stroking his back and saying, “I’m so proud of you, Gidget. So, so proud.”
Anger: Day two with Fernando was fraught with a great deal of yelling. I blamed Fernando for Gidget’s death and repeatedly told him that his hat made him look like a whore.
Bargaining: “God, if you bring Gidget back and turn Fernando into a real dog, I promise to let them hump whenever they want. Yes, even at the breakfast table.”
Depression: I didn’t leave the house for days. And no matter how much peanut butter I slathered on myself, Fernando just sat there and did nothing.
Acceptance: Eventually, I came to terms with Gidget’s death. And I apologized to Fernando for that comment about his hat. I realized that it doesn’t make him look like a whore. It makes him look like an over-referenced Mexican stereotype. Just like Gidget.
Perhaps there is no more fitting tribute to Gidget’s influence than the official product description for Fernando:
Hollywood’s new “top dog” will be a hit at your house too when you welcome this life-size, quality designer resin pooch with his black buton nose and warm brown eyes.
Hollywood’s top dog. Take that, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. Suck it, Benji. ¡Viva Gidget! ¡Viva Fernando! ¡Viva SkyMall!
Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.