(Recently, a friend asked me what movies or books I felt best described either our dystopian or utopian future. Inspired by her question, I decided to write my own vision of dystopia. Move over, Huxley and Orwell! Beware, it is quite graphic and disturbing – read at your own risk!)
In the future, the world will be ruled by a single totalitarian government, and the production or consumption of mayonnaise will be outlawed. All sandwiches will become dull and depressing, with the use of various types of Dijon mustards proving to be an inadequate substitute.
This change will be brought about by the rise in power of a political faction within the conservative party known as the Sandwich Fundamentalists. The Sandwich Fundamentalists believe in the purity of lunch times before the industrial revolution led to the mass production of mayonnaises. They believe that God intended all lunches to consist of a cold meat and cheese on white or rye bread. Extreme factions within the movement even call for the elimination of marble rye bread, decrying it as an “unholy mixing of the grains”, however, more moderate voices in the movement will take control and narrow its focus to the banishment of mayonnaise. Successfully linking the warm and hazy nostalgia for a simpler and bygone age with the pristine lunches of the pre-Hellman’s era (their term for the post world war II years that saw a boom in the mass production of mayonnaises) and economic prosperity, the Sandwich Fundamentalists will begin as a small group lobbying congress on the evils of mayonnaise and grow, in the latter half of the 21st century, into a powerful political machine, backed by the mysterious and reclusive billionaire, Buddy Ebsen (not to be confused with the star of the popular 70s television show, “Barnaby Jones”, with whom he coincidentally shares a name). From his hidden Rocky Mountains retreat, Ebsen will quietly and efficiently guide and fund the Sandwich Fundamentalist movement, funding the creation of facilities and therapies to convert the unfortunate souls who have fallen victim to the hideous addiction of what they refer to as “the creamy white devil”. These facilities will be known as “Mayo Clinics”, where trained professionals will administer the controversial “Cold Turkey” therapy, in which subjects admitting to mayonnaise addiction will be locked in a room and fed nothing but leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches on plain white Wonder bread for a week.
In the year 2075, at the conclusion of 20 years of worldwide war and famine that will result in Buddy Ebsen being named undisputed leader of the world, all production of mayonnaise will be halted, and the state controlled militia will confiscate all private holdings of mayonnaise. (After lengthy debate in the Senate, it will be decided that Miracle Whip shall also be outlawed). Ebsen’s reign of terror will continue for nearly 20 years, until the year 2094, when a mysterious stranger will arrive on the scene.
Leonard Hellman, heir to the Hellman’s mayonnaise fortune, will emerge from the secret underground bunker that his grandparents built in 2073, when it becomes apparent that Ebsen will reach power after the war. Hellman’s grandparents and parents are both captured and executed in a televised event that signals the end of the progressive lunchtime movement. Unbeknownst to the world, though, Stuart and Ethel Hellman had secretly conceived a son, Leonard, who was born in the family’s undetected underground bunker. Through the years, Leonard remains hidden in the bunker, raised by his parent’s parakeet, Polly. Through Polly, who Stuart and Ethel had painstakingly taught to speak several key phrases, Leonard learns of his parents empire, and the dark secret that only they knew, the one secret that could bring about the downfall of Ebsen and the Sandwich Fundamentalists and upend the world order.
On his 21st birthday, in June of 2094, Leonard Hellman and an aging Polly, the parakeet, emerge from his family’s secret underground bunker with a plan. First, Hellman assumes the identity of Max Baer, strident Sandwich Fundamentalist, and gradually infiltrates the highest ranks of the organization, eventually earning the trust of Ebsen’s inner circle, and then Ebsen himself, who would come to think of Baer as his dim-witted but well intentioned nephew. Hellman, as Baer, and Polly establish residence in the Ebsen mansion, alongside other members of Ebsen’s inner circle, including Irene Ryan, who Ebsen refers to as “Granny”, and the lovely Donna Douglas.
One day, as Ebsen is out shooting up some food, Hellman and Polly find, hidden in a secret compartment at the bottom of an empty swimming pool, evidence of the dark secret Hellman’s parents had passed on to them. In the secret compartment are literally thousands of jars of Hellman’s mayonnaise. Polly captures the discovery on videotape, and the resulting footage, upon release to the public, brings about Ebsen’s downfall, with him finally revealing that yes, he is in fact the same Buddy Ebsen who was the star of television’s Barnaby Jones, and that, in the year 2095 he is 187 years old, and that his anti-aging secret is the steady application of Hellman’s mayonnaise, which he has used as a moisturizing cream for the past 150 years. Ebsen unsuccessfully professes his innocence, saying the whole thing was actually a Quinn Martin production, and he is executed.
Hellman is named leader of the world, and will reign over a period of enlightenment and restoration, where the good of Mayonnaise as not only a delicious sandwich topping but also as a revitalizing and life prolonging skin cream will bring about an age of peace and harmony of the likes the world has never known.