Edgar  (2008)

In the annals of Amazon.com history, among the fake reviews for fake products, prank listings of imaginary things for sale, and satirical reviews for items people love to hate, there stands alone in a special Room of Honor in the Amazon Reviews Hall of Fame in Mango, Florida, the following review. Now, there are more than a few things listed for sale on Amazon that are obviously fake, a joke, just listed to generate a reaction via reviews. This is the case for fresh whole milk, which you obviously cannot mailorder. But on July 8, 2008 “Edgar” posted a review of TUSCAN WHOLE MILK, 1 GALLON, 128 FL OZ, in the form of a poem, a brilliant parody of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” According to Edgar’s Amazon profile, this is the only review to his name, the only public activity of any kind. He claims to be from Baltimore (where Poe is buried), and for his picture there is a picture of Poe himself. Edgar’s review immediately began to collect positive comments and responses, including an offer to bear his children. At the time I first discovered the review in 2010, there were over a hundred responses to it, and 3,165 of 3,219 people had found it “Helpful.” What kind of life those 54 people with no sense of humor that didn’t find it helpful must lead, I don’t know. When last checked on March 10, 2022, a gallon of Tuscan Milk was still listed (though of course it is “Currently Unavailable”) and Edgar’s review is still there, but now the “Helpful” votes are up to 24,492 and continuing to grow. I saved Edgar’s poem/review when I first read it, and herewith it is posted in full.

Make this your only stock and store

Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts ’N Honey,
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door.
“Bad condenser, that,” I muttered, “vibrating the icebox door—
Only this, and nothing more.”

Not to sound like a complainer, but with an inept half-gainer
I provoked my bowl to tip and spill its contents on the floor.
Stupefied, I came to muddle over that increasing puddle,
Burgeoning deluge of that which I at present do adore—
Snowy Tuscan wholesomeness exclusively produced offshore—
Purg’ed here forevermore.

And the pool so white and silky filled me with a sense of milky
Ardor of the type fantastic of a loss not known before,
So that now, to still the throbbing of my heart, while gently sobbing,
I retreated, heading straightway for the tempting icebox door—
Heedless of that pitter-patter tapping at the icebox door—
I resolved to have some more.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“This,” said I, “requires an extra dram of milk, my favorite pour.”
To the icebox I aspired, motivated to admire
How its avocado pigment complemented my decor.
Then I grasped its woodgrain handle—here I opened wide the door—
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams of Tuscans I had known before.
But the light inside was broken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only words there spoken were my whispered words, “No more!”
Coke and beer, some ketchup I set eyes on, and an apple core—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back toward the table turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

From the window came a stirring, then, with an incessant purring,
Inside stepped a kitten; mannerlessly did she me ignore.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, with mien of lord or lady, withdrew to my dining floor—
Pounced upon the pool of Tuscan spreading o’er my dining floor—
Licked, and lapped, and supped some more.

Then this tiny cat beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
By the grand enthusiasm of the countenance she wore,
Toward the mess she showed no pity, ’til I said, “Well, hello, kitty!”
Sought she me with pretty eyes that seemed to open some rapport.
So I pleaded, “Tell me, tell me what it is that you implore!”
Quoth the kitten, “Get some more.”

•              •              •              •              •

Unfortunately Amazon no longer allows comments in response to reviews and they have all been deleted. But I sure fooled them; I had already saved a bunch of the better comments made to Edgar’s poem/review, and here are a few of them:

May 24, 2009 2:44 PM PDT
C. McPhail says:
This may seem a bit forward, but I would like to bear your children.

Sept. 1, 2009 7:03 PM PDT
C. M. Weidenhamer says:
All this over milk?
I am surprised at your skill.
I clap via haiku.

Sept. 26, 2009 10:55 PM PDT
Mark Twain says:
Quite possibly the very best review on Amazon.com. Brilliant -- and technically outstanding.

Oct. 14, 2009 6:07 AM PDT
Linda J. Ellis says:
All I wanted was milk and instead I got art. I am truly thankful this grand and glorious day!

Nov. 10, 2009 9:51 AM PST
Jonathan Dedward says:
You win. If all of us here were trying to come up with the most eloquent, informative and entertaining review, you win. I may never bother reviewing again, one can’t top perfection.

Nov. 17, 2009 9:30 PM PST
D. J. Rizzo says:
This was so good, after you die I promise to leave roses & Tuscan Milk at your gravesite annually.

Dec. 8, 2009 1:29 PM PST
Robert E. Pierce says:
“Well, hello kitty!” Brilliant product placement within the review of another product. Sanrio owes you royalties.

Jan. 12, 2010 9:58 AM PST
Katherine G. Bradham says:
Absolutely awesome! I’m a retired college English professor, and your poem makes me wish I was back in the classroom so I could share it with my American lit. class!

Jan. 13, 2010 2:16 AM PST
dazai says:
When I first read this review, I knew my life would never be the same again. I’ve printed, framed, and mounted this as the art it is, twice. There is one next to my refrigerator handle reminding me to be thankful for Tuscan in my life. The other is nailed to my door as a blessing for safe travels and inspiration for a speedy return. Thank you sir for your gift.

Feb. 1, 2010 9:47 AM PST
Frank Cantwell says:
Edgar, what sayeth ye about the Tuscan 2%?

Feb. 2, 2010 5:51 AM PST
cogitomultus says:
“How its avocado pigment complemented my decor” This might have even made Poe laugh (and Warhol too?). Reposted-- Brilliant

Mar. 31, 2010 10:46 PM PDT
Briar RainDancer says:
Two years later, and still my favorite Amazon review EVAR. You win the internetz, my friend. Tell Al Gore to stuff it.

Here is a link to Edgar’s original review at Amazon.