This past Tuesday, I was doing a facilities walkthrough. It was around 1pm and the lunch period was winding down. It being Tuesday and all, the cuisine of choice was tacos. As I was walking in one of the hallways, there was a woman and a small child sitting on a bench outside of an office and they were eating tacos that they no doubt purchased from the food truck that services the embassy. As I passed them, I noticed one of the names on the placard outside of the office was “William”, which is almost always shortened to Bill. A little bit of a wry smile came over me as I continued my walk down the hall. They were literally eating tacos outside of Bill’s office. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the AT&T “Taco Party” commercial.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the commercial while watching an episode of The Defenders in December 2010.
What it meant to me then? In the moment, it was fantastic comedy. The guy walking up to a scene where everybody is enjoying tacos and sodas while he’s standing there with his vending machine sandwich was a perfect example of being left out of the loop. It also showed how being left out could also conjure up hard feelings like his revelation of the party’s host being creeped out by Eric. As I was the owner of an Apple iPod Touch (WiFi version) at the time, I totally understood getting last-minute notifications on stuff that came through when I wasn’t connected to the Internet. It was a great laugh then and it actually ended up being runner-up for Best Laugh in the Best of 2010 Awards in the old blog, Life: The Juan Thomas Story. Back when I was in the 11th Civil Engineer Customer Service Office at Joint Base Andrews, my colleagues and I playfully re-enacted the commercial with our own twist. I had brought in some bagels from Einstein Bros. Bagels for the enjoyment of my colleagues and the HVAC Superintendent had come in and seen us all enjoying the bagels. His words were, “Gosh, you guys got bagels. I like bagels”. After he left without a bagel, we all bust out with “I like bagels”, referencing the commercial.
What it means to me now? Some 11 years later, that commercial is still one of my favorites all-time. Aside from the 3 months I spent as an AT&T U-verse TV customer prior to my move to DC to take the Interior job, I’ve never had any allegiances to AT&T so it wasn’t about pride in that brand or anything. I just genuinely liked the combination of comedy and realism in the commercial. All of these years later, I still admire Eric’s resolve in continuing to enjoy the tacos despite being outed as a creep. Back when I was in Foreign Service Orientation, I was part of a skit group called Follies. Had COVID-19 not made it a completely virtual course, I actually had a commercial written out to somewhat mimic the AT&T “Taco Party” commercial with a Foreign Service twist. Maybe I’ll save that for another time. Anyway, that commercial is still a great, quality laugh.