When Logo Slogan wakes up in the morning, he thinks the same first thought each time, which is not, contrary to popular belief, that he hates his name. He is, however, tired of explaining how he came by it and refuses to say any more than that yes, it is his own given name, and no, it is not a joke.
His first thought is only and always of breakfast–cereal, more specifically. The brand makes no difference to him, he enjoys them all kinds equally, and he considers the soggy American delicacy his primary motication for getting out of bed. Someone (a rather important someone) told him once that it was deplorable that he should eat without first
brushing his teeth. Logo is uncertain if he responded that future plaque could happily commingle with current plaque, or not.
In any case, he is no longer bound to explain anything to someone after last evening; shortly before midnight, someone telephonically ousted Logo from her life in a hollow, crackly voice. He accepted the news calmly, indifferently, courteously. He disconnected and fell asleep thinking of her. But the next morning, only cereal came to mind.
Mr. Slogan dislikes being addressed in the aforementioned manner, but not because “Mr. Slogan” sounds like a nickname given to a clever advertising executive. Logo (his preferred moniker) sees the use of the title Mr. as a social gesture that must be reciprocated. Calling others Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. does not suit him in the slightest. Whenever he wants to say Mister, he sees the letters M and R and a period in his mind’s eye, and he feels tempted to say “Murr.”
Most everyone is averse to constantly dodging temptations–don’t dieters abhor the ice cream store they pass on the way to work? Logo Slogan is no different than anyone else. For the record, he is not on a diet, and he likes ice cream, especially mixed with cereal. Someone criticized him once for deigning to pair something as banal as raisin bran with the paragon of dairy products. Probably his answer was a shrug, because someone liked to nag, and he could not be bothered to argue with her objections most of the time.
It is largely agreed that he appreciated someone’s maternal tendencies due to unresolved childhood conflicts of an Oedipal nature. He did not object to constant clucking as he found it comforting, and, quite possibly, attractive.
Last night, after hearing the telephone receiver dock into its base with a note of strange finality, he thought of how she used bring him breakfast when he slept at her house. Someone would draw open the curtains when she wanted Logo to wake up. He would open his eyes to the morning sun spilling into the room from the large, white windows, and the brightness made him squint, so he would close his eyes only to find that he could still perceive the red inside of his eyelids. Her voice was tap shoes on concrete. On the nightstand next to his head would appear a piece of toast, a stack of pancakes, a plate of eggs, which he ate unfailingly, even though it felt as if he were walking with his shoes on the wrong feet. She was a marvelous cook.
He would leave as soon as he could extricate himself from her nest of nurturing and nutrition and eat cereal the moment he came home. Tomorrow, and after, breakfast would be far more certain.
In that sense, it is hardly surprising that cereal was the first thought to emerge in the morning since it was his last thought before he fell asleep. Perhaps at the end of the day, he picks up his thoughts and tosses them into a garbage sack in hopes of sanitary sleep, and when he wakes up, the first idea to be removed from the bag is necessarily the final addition of the night before. However, this implies that Logo’s cognitions all culminate in cereal. This seems to be a symbol that begs decoding and interpreting, both superfluous actions entirely contrary to his natural inclinations.
Picture the sun setting tensely over a stadium. The second half of the game is about to start. Anticipation bubbles, people restocked with soda and nachos take their places on the bleachers, the announcer declares that a single ball, signed by the entire team (cheering escalates like a monster rearing its head), will be fired by slingshot into the audience. The crowd erupts into screams as the whole stadium moves to its feet and waves its arms about, shouting “Here! Here!” to deaf ears. After ascending almost gracefully into the air, the ball narrows in on its target. Parents lift up children who flail greedy open hands, and beer-fortified men with red faces utter guttural battle cries.
The ball disappears from sight as the crowd lunges at some unseen point. Calmly, indifferently, courteously, Logo Slogan is sitting, staring straight ahead, blinking, with the ball resting comfortably in his lap.
“He never even stood up!” one cries. “He didn’t even want it!” whines a young voice.
“Can I have it?” asks another.
Logo Slogan shakes his head, stands up, and wades through unfriendly and unbelieving neighbors out of the stands, out of the stadium, back home, and puts the ball under his bed, where he never thinks of it.
The two preceding paragraphs could carry such a symbolic weight that it alone could encapsulate the essence of Logo though it narrates less than a minute among the thousands he has lived so far in his life.
How to account for the cereal, then?
Someone interpreted most everything Logo did. Seeking to understand a man of few words and fewer actions, she found the volumes of intentions behind his shrugs, sighs, and grunts. She still believes she understands him.
Last night, in the space of fifteen minutes, she translated what she had directly perceived into what it all really meant and decided that she could no longer bear it.
“You’ve been with me how long, and I don’t even know what your name means!” she cried.
“What does yours mean?”
“Don’t dodge my questions! You know what I’m asking. Just explain.”
But Logo refuses to explain anymore. Hearing the story would entail locating a classmate of his from third grade, the year when he last illuminated curious seekers. Perhaps if it had mattered enough to someone, she would have found a person to tell her. Further, her refusal to pursue an explanation of his name could suggest her level of interest in the relationship. It is possible that in her heart, she had already decided she could not live with Logo, and her anger over his concealment merely provided a reason.
Not to interpret, of course.
This morning, he wakes up in his grey room, thinking of cereal, not of the sports relic under his bed, not of someone. He crosses the house to the kitchen, gently embedding dust into his white socks as he skates across the floor.
He pours raisin bran into a bowl and drowns it in milk, prodding it with his spoon while he waits for soggy perfection, just like his mother used to do for him. While Logo eats, he thinks of nothing but his cereal.
When he is finished, he rinses the bowl in the sink and sets the spoon inside it. The sun in his eyes infiltrating through the window makes his mouth taste like toast. He looks to his cereal bowl for comfort, but Logo Slogan still feels like he has his shoes on the wrong feet.