Oliver’s World: Is Cookie Monster having an identity crisis?
Most of us have names. We don't have identifiers in place of names. We don't call someone who cleans houses "Sweeps the Floor," and even if we call a person who drives a school bus a "Bus Driver," and maybe even sometimes call them that - “Excuse me, Bus Driver, but someone seems to have gotten sick in the rear of the vehicle” - we generally understand it is their job title and not their actual name.
Imagine if that were not the case.
What if a person’s occupation or primary interest was their only identity, and they were named such? What if Bus Driver only drove buses, and nothing else. They'd get off of one bus to board and drive another. They’d have no other hobbies, and no family.
No walking, no skipping, no getting behind the wheel of car.
They just drove buses.
It could happen, though apparently it rarely or never does.
Unless you are Cookie Monster.
No one calls Cookie Monster by his name, though there have been rumors that the furry blue creature does have one. If I must explain it, Cookie Monster is a monster who eats cookies, most notable for being an educator to children on the television program “Sesame Street.” This friendly, alphabet-aware monster is so obsessed with eating cookies, and so identified with that specific activity, that everyone calls him Cookie Monster, and no other name.
A while back, there was an attempt made to minimize the endless cookie consumption in display in the average“Sesame Street” comedy skit that featured Cookie Monster. The fear was that children would attempt to emulate Cookie Monster’s appetites and actions, resulting in massive over-eating of cookies throughout the “Sesame Street”-watching world. Cookies, certain overseeing forces believed, must be reaffirmed as a “sometimes food,” not the main course. At one point, Cookie Monster even pivoted into being a full time nutritionist-advocate, promoting health by encouraging people to eat fruits and vegetables, and doing so with a rap song.
An episode of “Sesame Street” last month even explored the idea of calling Cookie Monster by a new name, Veggie Monster. Newscaster Mario Lopez thought he was breaking a story by exclaiming it: “You heard it here. He IS the Veggie Monster.”
Cookie Monster disagreed, saying, "It's just not what me am.“
Cookie Monster is indeed a ravenous beast when it comes to the flat baked good. No one can deny that – though I bet people still will.
In the end, the Veggie Monster name just didn't fit.
Even Mario Lopez finally reaffirmed that Cookie Monster is indeed Cookie Monster, and I have to assume Mario Lopez is an authority on the subject.
I think this extends beyond cookie, though.
Our Bus Driver could drive other vehicles, and could do other things, but if they wanted to be known as "Bus Driver," we should honor that.
Meanwhile, I have another proposal for Cookie Monster. To help educate children on internet browsers, why not make him eat cookies in Internet Explore, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and so on. He could teach children about the additional files used to save information when on certain websites?
We could have a whole new generation of script kiddies trying to hack the planet.
Unless, of course, they're just not that kind of cookie monster.
Oliver Graves is a stand-up comic and award-winning columnist who can be followed on Instagram and Facebook, or through his website OliverGraves.com. ’Oliver’s World’ runs the first and third Fridays of the month in the Argus-Courier.