Brands that have a special place in my heart (for better or worse)

It recently hit me that certain brands have played special roles in my life. Here are their stories. (Dun-Dun!)

Circuit City

A Circuit City parking lot is where my high school crush turned me down for the prom. I don’t even remember why we were at Circuit City in the first place. All I do remember is sitting on the curb in front of Circuit City and drinking Mountain Dew I’d bought inside, followed by some man-crying. (You know the kind: pretending you’re rubbing your face like you’re trying to alleviate a headache, but you’re actually just hiding all the gentle sobbing going on underneath.) From there onwards, I had a negative association with Circuit City, and I turned into a Best Buy guy. Circuit City has since gone out of business, and that parking lot now belongs to an Art Van Furniture store.

Diet Pepsi

Diet Pepsi has a very special place in my heart. See, it’s my grandma’s favorite soda. Whenever I visit her, I know to bring a bottle of Diet Pepsi for her. Why Diet Pepsi? Because it helps her fart, of course, and that relieves the stomach discomfort she’s developed in her old age. One time I did bring her Diet Coke, but she said she prefers the taste of Diet Pepsi. I guess there really is a difference between the two.

Anyways, I can’t see a bottle of Diet Pepsi without thinking about Nani.

Trek Bicycles

As a teenager with no grip on reality or the value of money, I was obsessed with convincing my parents to get me an $800 Trek bike. I remember going into our local bike shop every week, staring at the object of my desire on the bike rack. I’d imagine how awesome it’d be to take that sweet Trek bike out on a muddy trail, putting the bike’s kickass shock-absorbers to full use. Of course, it’d also make me the coolest kid at school, right?

Well, I never did get that bike as a kid.

Then, two summers ago, as a grown-ass adult, I was walking by a bike shop when I caught a glimpse of a shiny Trek bike in the front window.

$800 later, it was mine. The dream bike was finally MINE. After all these years!

Four weeks later, it was collecting dust, a casualty of the thrill of something new wearing off. My mom later told me, “Now you see why we didn’t get that bike for you!” Moms are always right, aren’t they?

Long John Silver’s

My dad always took my brother and me to Long John Silver’s to celebrate. Good report card? Long John Silver’s. Birthday? Long John Silver’s. Just a fun Friday night out for the family? Long John Silver’s.

My dad’s always loved seafood. He doesn’t eat red meat for health reasons, and he doesn’t eat chicken. He claims he just doesn’t like the taste of chicken, but I suspect there’s a deeper issue: My dad raised and sold chickens on a farm to pay his way through medical school in Pakistan, and it is my belief he can’t bring himself to eat those animals he grew so close to. Yeah, he’ll say it’s a taste thing, but I don’t believe him.

So anyways, where was I? Oh yeah: We ate at Long John Silver’s a lot. So, so good. To this day, I try to replicate their breaded cod recipe and make it at home.

Nationwide

Many of you probably know and can sing the Nationwide Insurance jingle, “Nationwide is on your side.” It’s so sweet, innocent, and comforting. Someone I once dated would always sing that jingle whenever it’d play on TV. We’d be sitting on the couch, her head on my shoulder, the commercial would come on, and she’d sing the jingle, and I’d smile to myself, because it was such a sweet little moment.

It’s been awhile since things ended. Now I change the channel whenever a Nationwide commercial comes on.

Medieval Times

This is cheating, because I know everyone probably has a Medieval Times story. But here’s mine: The first time my parents took me to Medieval Times as a kid, I genuinely thought the knights murdered each other.

The pageantry, the theatrics, the action, the special effects of sparks flying off the knights’ swords, it was all so convincing. So much so, that when I saw the knights plunging their swords into each other, I sincerely thought these knights were dying in front of me. “Why is everyone else smiling and cheering?!?!” I remember feeling. After the show, my parents carried me over to the actors, proving that they were very much alive and it was all an act. If I ever have kids, I’ll take them to Medieval Times only after they turn, like, 14, at least.

Outback Steakhouse

Some time in 1997, my family and I went to Outback Steakhouse to take my visiting aunt out for dinner.

The following day, I was slated to have a routine MRI to check for any re-growth of a brain tumor I’d had twice before as a child. As it turns out, they did find some re-growth, and I’d eventually embark on several months of radiation treatment. (Good news, I’ve been in the clear since then!)

That said, my entire family refuses to go to Outback Steakhouse, simply due to the association it has to that MRI scan. It’s like there’s some kind of dark cloud around Outback Steakhouse, a reminder of a joyful night before some really sucky news.

It’s just a “wrong place at the wrong time” kinda thing. For all I know, we could’ve been eating at Long John Silver’s that night.


What about you?

Any stories about brands that have played unique roles in your life? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a reply below!

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