Earlier this week, the Del Monte corporation announced that it was dumping Starkist tuna — and its spokesfish Charlie — blaming it on “highly sensitive price elasticity.” Then, only hours later in Charleston, Oregon, a 12-foot-tall chainsaw sculpture of Charlie disappeared. Charlie stood on the main road, at the end of the only bridge into town. Somehow the chain that held Charlie in place was cut, and a 12-foot-tall statue of a fish wearing glasses and an orange beret was hauled away without anyone noticing.
Prankish statue theft certainly does occur, as was the case in the recent kidnapping of a large hot dog. But Charlie was twice as large as the big wiener, and much, much, heavier, and much more visible in his small town spot of honor. His disappearance would seem to be an act of desperation, not sophomoric whim.
Does Charlie now sleep with the fishes, the victim of some aggrieved investor? Or did some obsessed fan spirit him away before he, too, fell victim to Del Monte’s purge?