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Wednesday, March 03, 2021


by Nan Ottenritter

I, Mr. Potato Head, was a glint in
the eye of George Lerner in 1949.
Birthed by Hasbro in 1952, I appeared
in the first television commercial
aimed at children. I then married the misses,
fathered Brother Spud and Sister Yam,
cared for puppy Spud-ette.
With 1964’s safety regulations I morphed
from real potato to shiny plastic. 1987 found me
surrendering my pipe to the Surgeon General
during the “Great American Smokeout.”
A 1992 President’s Council for Physical Fitness
commercial showed me renouncing my
couch potato lifestyle.
In 1995 I starred in the Disney pic Toy Story.
After, I joined the League of Women voters and their
“Get Out to Vote” campaign. In 2000 I was inducted
into the National Toy Hall of Fame. I have flown
in Macy’s Thanksgiving day parades, starred in film,
television, and cartoons. I even went green in 2020.
And now this!
Wikipedia headlines my entry with
“the title of this article is under discussion.”
You want to make my name gender neutral
to help with identity and family structure concerns? 
I am seventy-two years old. Beloved of
baby-boomers and their offspring,
I am trying to get it right as rain in
the old potato patch, and my fellow
spuds concur. If it helps, I will drop
the Mister. I can go with the flow here,
respond to the times we’re in.
For goddess’ sakes, if she can manage the change,
so can I. With love from Potato Head.

Nan Ottenritter lives and writes in Richmond, VA. Her first chapbook Eleanor, Speak is now in pre-sales at Finishing Line Press. Her thoughts: "I loved writing this poem. As I unearthed more and more information about Potato Head, I laughed at the extended jokes and appreciated the cultural icon that he and his family have become."