Tuesday, January 13, 2009


When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma City, I distinctly remember a Camel Cigarette billboard that was strategically positioned on the Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City. I say "strategically positioned" because the N.W. Expressway is one busy mother of a street. Thousands of people must have seen that billboard every day, so I'm sure generations of smokers were born on that stretch of road every day.

The billboard always featured the infamous Joe Camel. He lived quite a glamorous life, at least according to this advertsing medium. Joe was always wearing a nifty Miami Vice inspired suit, the collar suspiciously flared. He seemed to be a man...err..camel...of pleasure. You could always find Joe sitting on the beach, shooting some pool, driving in his convertible. And he was unbelievably muscular. I think Joe may have taken steroids because I've never seen a smoker with such a hot body. And Joe was a SMOKER. Everything he did involved a cigarette.

Maybe he was European - those people are always lighting up. I'm pretty certain they smoke in their sleep. Don't worry Europeans - If I knew smoking wouldn't eventually kill me, I'd do it too. I love smoking.

The details are hazy, but the Joe Camel billboard disappeared sometime between when I was in elementary school and when I started high school. However, it wasn't until my tenth grade year that I remember telling me that Joe Camel was always controversial because of his face. Call me naive, but I still didn't understand.

"Mary Ann, his face looks like a cock and balls."

Still, nothing. This shows how innocent I was in 1998. Cock and balls? Huh? Then someone made it more clear.

"Mary Ann, his face looks like a weiner."

Side note: Showing that I haven't matured much since my sophomore year of high school, I still laugh when I see the word weiner.

After I heard about the Joe Camel's Face looks Like a Weiner Phenomenon of '98, I went in search of a photo to verify this claim. I recalled what Joe Camel looked like, but as a small child seeing his billboard, I never said,"Hey mommy - check out the dong on that giant billboard!" He looked like a camel, or at least what a child born and raised in Oklahoma THOUGHT a camel looked like. I'm sure at some point I drew a parallel between the fact that both Joe Camel and my Granny had the same hobby (smoking, not picking up chicks like Joe seemed to do). Other than that, I don't remember my imagination going any further. Besides, I don't think most young girls know what a grown man's sexual organs look like, and why would I ever compare a camel's face to a prick? I thought he was ugly, so obviously my opinions on a man's crotch haven't changed much since I was kid. Is there anything more awkward than a naked man, especially when they walk around the nude? Ladies, am I wrong? It's weird!

Not to date myself, but I can't remember if Joe Camel was still being used in cigarette ads back then, so I can't recall if I went online (the Internet wasn't that bad ass back then) or where exactly my investigative research led me. However, I do remember finding a picture of Joe Camel and thinking,"That's what a penis looks like?" You see, I was a good kid. No loss of virginity in high school for me. I was convinced that the world at large was essentially made up of perverts and that Joe the Camel was just that: a camel. Not a sexual innuendo.

Until last week. I was randomly perusing the Internet and I somehow came upon an illustration of Joe Camel. My first thought was that Joe probably wouldn't still look like after a lifetime of smoking. But almost immediately after I began to think about how Joe's camel hump now being a horrible tumor, like a flash of lightning I saw his face. My god! It does look a ping pong (that's the nice way to say "penis")! Almost 20 years after first seeing a Joe Camel billboard did I finally see what everyone else in the world has been talking about since at least the 1980s.

I didn't think much of this besides the fact that I don't look at cartoon images of animals and equate them to human beings' privates, at least until today. While walking home from work this evening, I saw a woman wearing a pair of work out pants and was suffering from a case of the camel toe (a topic which warrants an entire blog itself). Initially I thought that it was unfortunate that this woman was falling victim to such a major fashion faux pas, but I did not hesitate to think that Joe Camel would like to meet his match.

I'm the grossest person in the world. Nice to meet you!

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