This is a Keebler truck headed for the interstate as I waited to photograph an afternoon train.

Keebler is a familiar cookie, crackers, graham cracker pie crust product name in grocery and convenience stores in the US (and maybe around the world, I don’t really know but I couldn’t find the information on their website)  and it is marketed with little green elves with red hats frolicking around (are there any other kind?)on their packaging and on their trucks.  They also have some marketing deals with popular kid’s movies and TV shows, Kung Fu Panda and Dora the Explorer, come to mind.

They have a distribution center in one of the nearby industrial parks, so these elves are constantly going by me, turning toward me at an intersection, passing by me (everyone passes me) if I’m stopped at a light.  I sometimes walk around the industrial park where the trucks are dispatched and on a summer evening’s stroll, I might see four or five of them backed into their respective shipping and receiving bays, waiting for the morning to load up and get back on the road.  The elves on the truck appear to be waving at me, a bit creepily, to be honest as I walk on by the facility.  Joel Gray’s character, the nightclub barker,  in Bob Fosse’s movie, “Cabaret” comes to mind if you need a visual.  “Willkommen, bienvenue, meine damen und herren, mesdames and messieurs, leave your troubles outside!  So,–life is disappointing?  Forget it!  We have no troubles here!  Here…life is beautiful ” if you need a bit more of a memory jag.

The detail of this particular truck is necessary for this post but why?

In the late fall when I took this photograph, I was the truck hurtling by me with crazy elves popping up every now and again to try and amuse me and take my mind off things, pretending (and doing a poor job of it) that this world wasn’t scaring the bejus out of me.   Now, I’m on the sidelines, having chosen to get off the hurtling vehicle and am watching from the sidelines, watching it go by me but knowing I have to rejoin the mad elves at some point, probably sooner than later.

I’m trying to figure out a better seat belt, one that keeps me secure when going over railroad trestles or frost heaves at fast speeds.

Good luck with that, the elves say giggling, crumbs falling on their chest and my lap.  Elves drool, let me clarify that bit of breaking news right now.

Whether you are hurtling down the road with the crazy elves or on the sidelines staring at them, anxiety is in the passenger seat gripping the door handle.

No matter what vehicle I’m in, there’s no refuge and I am conceding reluctantly that perhaps this is my “new” normal.

All I have to say in closing is this:  If it’s going to be my new normal, then I’m going to have a new snack to put in passenger seat as well.

I know just the company to contact.

©Pat Coakley 2009



  1. I am not a huge fan of semi trucks, but I love me some elves :o)

  2. very thoughtful and exceptionally well written/expressed. especially the way the details and documentation of your own environment invite a wider look upon the world at large as well as providing insight through the scope of what you see as a photographer, artist, writer.

  3. you need a straight jacket not a seat belt-i have an extra Vesace number perfect for spring-i’ll have someone wrap it and i will lick the the stamp and send it off-sorry gotta go chocking on the pencil-nkg

  4. Straight jacket? Seat belt? Either way, put me on the waiting list. Interested to read about the idea of new normal and a new snack for the passenger seat. Pray do tell, which company will you be contacting?
    As for those elves, naughty naughty naughty. Sometimes I wish their voices came with a mute button so we didn’t get annoyed by their endless taunting.

  5. anphillips, if you lived near here, you’d be seeing elves all day!

    Nkgee: a versace straight jacket? would that be like my Nehru jacket of the 60’s??

    Epic, you are on the list! The snack company I was referring to was “Keebler” which has the distribution center near me as well as those trucks!

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