Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Get To Know His Face In Every Single Place

One of Pittsburgh's favorite sons turns 35 this week!

Mr. Yuk is mean, Mr. Yuk is green.

When you see him, stop and think: Do not smell, do not drink, do not touch, do not eat, or you will be sick.

Invented in Pittsburgh, Mr. Yuk -- the scowling neon green frowny face sticker with the catchy jingle -- turns 35 just in time for poison prevention week, which ends Saturday.

Ultra-mega cool. I was a little over three years old when Mr. Yuk was "born", so I grew up watching his Tv commercials, seeing his stickers everywhere, and even singing his song in school. Yes, the frumpy antagonistic music teacher sometimes let her hair down, so that, instead of "Clementine" and that little ditty about Eskimos rubbing noses, we were singing things like Jimmy Pol's Steelers fight song and Popeye the Sailor. (Those two were especially fun because I would try to mimic the original vocals, thereby causing my classmates to look around the room to see where the strange sounds were coming from.) But the best music class ever was when the teacher passed around the lyrics to the Mr. Yuk song. Everyone knew the tune and most of the words, so little coaching was required on her part.

Thirty-five years later, Mr. Yuk is everywhere. His home, though, is still at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh -- and when I say home, I mean home page. Request some stickers, and use them wisely, especially if you have children in your home.

My wife has been waiting for several months now for me to explain why there is a Mr. Yuk sticker on the bottle of lemon juice in the refrigerator. It may not be poison, but who wants to drink it straight?

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