Last evening, the general membership of the Philolexian Society, Columbia University’s student organization dedicated to improving the rhetorical skills and literary awareness of its members, voted to name Bunny Pasta with Yummy Cheese the official macaroni and cheese of the society. We make this designation in recognition of the outstanding contributions to American literature made by the promoters of Annie’s Homegrown products. With its “bunny shape pasta and yummy white cheddar” and the “rabbit of approval,” Annie’s Homegrown macaroni and cheese truly is “Totally Natural, Totally Delicious.”
“People are always asking,” you say, “why we decided to put a picture of Bernie the Bunny on all our yummy Annie’s products.” Indeed, you have hit upon a question that has long plagued the truth-seeking membership of our society. The four-paragraph fable that you relate to us quenches our thirst for knowledge with both wit and whimsy, mixing in anthropomorphism, magical realism, suspense, and an Aesop-like moral. It is often said that story-telling is a dying art. It is delightfully obvious that all purveyors of this maxim have not yet come across the fine allegories so artfully placed on every Annie’s Homegrown product.
And yet, what good is a tale if no greater good comes from it? We Philolexians, well-versed in the works of every type of literature from the Greek philosophers to the Modernists, are well aware of this conundrum. You argue that “everyone reads bumpers stickers; there’s not a lot you can do in traffic.” Based on our position as the primary purveyors of the art of the written word at this institution, through our literary journal Surgam, we do not share your faith in the literacy of the average American. As a nation that relies upon Fox News, Fox television, and the tabloids, your unshaken belief in the true nature of America’s respect for the art of authorship is highly commended.
I have been charged with the duty of informing you of this distinction, which we hope you will deem an honor. Though the Philolexian Society, established in 1802, is Columbia’s oldest student organization, and one of the oldest literary societies in the nation, it has never before seen fit to name an official macaroni and cheese. However, the undeniable kindred spirit between your company and our society, manifest in Annie’s Bunny Pasta with Yummy Cheese, drove us to break all precedent in this case. We hope that it will also facilitate friendly contact between us in the future. I thank you for your patience, and wish you a pleasant spring.
My apology for not responding sooner to your thoroughly entertaining letter regarding the Philolexian Society's naming of Annie's Bunny Pasta and Yummy cheese as it's official macaroni and cheese--an honor, indeed!
Your wit, light-heartedness, commendable writing and vocabulary skills, and creativity are not lost on me. After several readings of your playful paragraphs, I continue to smile and laugh aloud. I will share your letter with my parents who are retired English and Spanish teachers, avid readers, crossword puzzle fanatics, and who become very excited when they are stumped by the occasional unknown word. They, more than anyone I know, will appreciate and enjoy your letter.
I do hope that my response isn't too late and that you haven't moved on from the address that you had way back in February. I am embarrassed that it took several months to get back to you! Please know that I am truly tickled that Bunny Pasta with Yummy Cheese is the preferred macaroni and cheese of the Philolexian Society. This distinction will be something that I always remember and the bright pink box has taken on a more meaningful identity for me.
Thanks again for your kindness, support, and your, in more ways than one, humbling letter. Take care.
Ann E. Withey