Green Messages Have Brown-Baggers Seeing Red | HumorOutcasts

Green Messages Have Brown-Baggers Seeing Red

October 12, 2017

FALL RIVER, Mass.  Tony Amico and Greg Brown are two “finish” carpenters who spend their days installing cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.  “It’s not Finnish like Teemu Selanne,” Amico says, referring to the former high-scoring NHL winger from Finland.  “It’s ‘finish’, like ‘Let’s finish this job and go get some lunch,’” he laughs.

“Hedgehogs are neither hedges nor hogs!”


When it’s time for lunch, Amico and Brown usually head for a local convenience store to buy a drink to go with their brown-bag fare, favoring juices over soda.  “My sister’s been drinking Diet Coke for thirty years,” says Brown, “and she ain’t getting no smaller.”

When they choose their bottles, however, the two union members find themselves facing a dilemma.  “If you buy Snapple,” says Amico, “you get a tree-hugging fact in the cap.  If you buy Nantucket Nectars, you get a stupid message about some guy’s cat.”

“Tom’s girlfriend sometimes sleeps with Tom.”


Snapple and Nantucket Nectars dominate the “grab and go” sector of the bottled juice market, and each company does indeed include text on the inside of its bottle caps.  “It’s our way of making people feel loved,” says Snapple director of marketing Jeff Spore.  “We nag you just like your mother would.”

Snapple labels bear such nature-related messages as “Hummingbirds can fly backwards at sixty miles an hour,” and “Polar bears cover their noses with one paw while hunting.”  To which Amico says, “Who gives a flying freep at a rolling doughnut?–excuse my Urdu.”

Nantucket Nectars caps, by contrast, feature cutesy messages about the company’s founders, Tom First and Tom Scott.  The legends range from the trivial–“You can see seals from the couch in Tom’s sister’s apartment”–to the fatuous:  “Both Tom and Tom spell their first name T-O-M.”  But it was a little-known fact about the island of Nantucket that set off Amico, and inspired him and Brown to start their own business.

“You’re gonna have to wait.  All five are occupied.”

“I’m sitting there eating my tuna salad on wheat, when I turn over the Nantucket Nectar cap and read ‘There are five public toilets on Nantucket.’  Can you imagine anything more unpleasant to think about when you’re eating than some smelly public john in the middle of August?  If so, please don’t tell me about it.”

With that inspiration, Amico and Brown started “Real Guy Juices,” which makes drinks with no sayings, quotes or factoids to interrupt one’s train of thought, or lack thereof, during a lunch break.  “Our motto is–‘Man-Made for Men–No Message’,” says Brown.

The two hired a chemist to develop a formula whose principal component is water, but after that “everything has to show up on the periodic table,” says Amico.  “We got electrolytes–chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium,” he notes, “We got phosphorus, sulfur, zinc, selenium, iodine, copper, manganese, fluoride and chromium.”



“The works,” adds Brown.  “If you boil the water away, you could  build a car with this stuff.”

The two working stiffs say they are just trying to help people like themselves who want to eat in peace without a feel-good message or a lecture to irritate their digestion.  “If you really love nature,” says Amico, “you don’t coop it up in a bottle.”

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of two novels (most recently "Making Partner"), a baseball book about the Red Sox and the Yankees ("The Year of the Gerbil"), ten published plays and 45 books of humor available in print and Kindle formats on My latest book "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" was released by HumorOutcasts Press last year. My humor has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe and Barron's, and I am working on a biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player for Oxford University Press .

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One Response to Green Messages Have Brown-Baggers Seeing Red

  1. October 13, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I think I have the urge to have a cool drink and visit Nantucket’s five bathrooms now. Great tourism idea?

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