When was Peanut Jr. born?

Seven months ago, I’d captured lightning in a bottle with my passion-fueled rant at the death and reincarnation of Mr. Peanut. It was met with critical acclaim and I’ll never be able to recreate the success that I achieved nor the intensity of emotions I felt on that day. Despite this, in the past few months, I’ve written a lot more about Baby Nut, but I’ve done so in secret for fear of becoming “that Mr. Peanut guy” — it’s too late though. I already am. People continue to send me hateful memes that attack Baby Nut, blaming him for the tragic events that have taken place this year and threatening to crush him into peanut butter. The world’s changed quite a bit since the birth of Baby Nut in February, but I must admit that one thing has not: my fascination with Mr. Peanut.

Over the past several months, I’ve been so immersed in the lore of Mr. Peanut that that I’ve lost touch with reality. My intellect has become so immense and my expertise in this subject so unrivaled that conversation with mere mortals has been all but impossible. But there was no more to know — I could not recreate the high I first felt when I first uncovered the mystery of Mr. Peanut. At first I could not accept the fact that I had wasted countless hours digging and searching, but being the adult I am, I’ve put it behind me and moved on with my life; I can juggle pretty well now.

It was naive of me to think that I could completely escape the appeal of Mr. Peanut, though. I can remember the exact moment I was thrust back into this world: 4:29 PM PDT on Monday, August 10th, 2020. The moment has been seared into my memory — if the movie Inside Out is accurate in its neuroscience and I have no reason to believe that it’s not, this would be a core memory: I had just showered after running home from lab and I was eating a crispy chicken combo meal with a large taro milk tea. That’s when I first saw it — a tweet from the @MrPeanut Twitter account warning me that “Tomorrow’s a big day!”

Tomorrow indeed was. Having just turned twenty-one years old, Baby Nut is no longer; he is now Peanut Jr. I struggle to understand this fact. It’s not that this news was a surprise — rumors of such an event had been floating around in the Baby Nut community for weeks now. After Monday’s news, I immediately cleared my schedule for the next day and prepared to write. I knew I would be thrust into a turbulent sea of inexplicable emotional connection to a corporate mascot.

I tend to start talking not knowing where my sentences will lead — usually nowhere and I just come off as a bumbling fool. I write in much the same way. Since Monday, I’ve been writing without a clear direction, but by rambling on for around five hundred words, I’ve finally figured it out. Is this another essay where I pretend to have strong emotions about an obscure topic no one cares about? Or is this one of those where I try and fail to answer an unimportant question? It’s the latter.

When was Peanut Jr. born? It’s, as his driver’s license tells us, “COMPLICATED,” but when has something being too complicated stopped me from pursuing it? A lot, actually — I tend to give up too easily on projects when there’s no accountability and I probably will with this one too. With some cursory research, we have three candidates for the date of Peanut Jr.’s birth:

  1. February 23rd, 1918: the day Mr. Peanut was first introduced
  2. August 11th, 1999: twenty-one years before Peanut Jr. turned twenty-one
  3. February 2nd, 2020: the day Mr. Peanut was reincarnated as Baby Nut

Reincarnation makes birthdays complicated, so I set out to talk to a professional Buddhist about reincarnation, specifically Mr. Peanut’s, but searching for that job title online proved to be futile. My mom’s a Buddhist, but I don’t think my Vietnamese vocabulary is equipped to handle such a conversation nor do I want her knowing how I choose to spend my free time. Instead, I opted to read the Wikipedia article on reincarnation.

I should have been searching for a professional Druze not a professional Buddhist. Druzism is a small but significant religion originating in the Levant. Reincarnation is a central tenet of Druzism, but, unlike in Buddhism or Hinduism, it’s not unheard of for a Druze to be able to recall their past life, especially in the case of violent deaths — like dying in a Nutmobile explosion after tumbling down a ravine to avoid running over an armadillo. The fact that Druzes believe that reincarnation is instantaneous makes it hard to reconcile the eleven days between the death of Mr. Peanut and the birth of Baby Nut, but I doubt their religious scholars have ever pondered about the reincarnation of an anthropomorphic peanut. Still we are no closer to a satisfying answer.

The titular question asks for Peanut Jr.’s birthday, so doesn’t August 11th — the day that he turns twenty-one and becomes Peanut Jr. — make the most sense? No. That would be too simple and the answer can’t be that simple. If it were that simple, this wouldn’t be worth reading and Peanut Jr.’s driver’s license also tells us that his date of birth is “COMPLICATED,” which, as thesaurus.com tells me, is the opposite of simple.

That driver’s license is the key to this mystery, I believe. In the nineteen second video announcing his coming-of-age, Peanut Jr. presents his driver’s license to the camera. The driver’s license has stuck out to me — it looks like mine. To say nothing of our shared physical features, Peanut Jr. appears to have a driver’s license from California with its distinctive double striped top edge and large bolded text.

From looking at sample driver’s licenses from every state, I can say with confidence that California has the best design and, more relevantly, that Peanut Jr.’s license is modeled after California’s, only with our state’s iconic imagery replaced with Nutmobiles. This may seem like a tangent and indeed it was meant to be, but the fact that Peanut Jr. hails from California leads us to an important revelation.

Peanut Jr. did not turn twenty-one years old on Tuesday, August 11th, 2020. In California, a driver’s license is oriented horizontally for those over twenty-one years old, allowing others to quickly verify that its holder is of age. To get such a license one must apply for or a renew their driver’s license after they have turned twenty-one years old and this new horizontally-oriented license will arrive in the mail within three to four weeks. I called the California DMV to confirm this fact, but the recorded message at the beginning warned of higher call volumes due to the pandemic and I felt bad for taking a place in line and wasting an employee’s time, so I hung up. Let’s just assume that the DMV cannot print out and mail a driver’s license on the same day that it’s applied for.

Peanut Jr. could not possess a horizontal driver’s license by his twenty-first birthday, so did he actually turn twenty-one on Tuesday? One more interesting tidbit is that a California driver’s license will expire on the holder’s birthday, which, according to the video would put Peanut Jr.’s birthday on August 31st. All of this brings up more questions than answers, so we’ll ignore it altogether even if it might have led us to the right answer.

Instead of going down the rabbit hole of bureaucracy, I have pioneered the field of reverse astrology. Rather than using star signs to understand personality traits we will do the opposite and attempt to assign a star sign to a set of personality traits — Peanut Jr.’s personality traits. Based on his possible birthdays, Peanut Jr. could be a Pisces, Leo, or Aquarius.

Seeking help with developing reverse astrology, I reached out to professional astrologers and psychics. All but one ignored me — perhaps they see the rise of reverse astrology as a threat to their livelihoods. One person did reply with an automatic email and I managed to snag free mystical blessings, which I will use in my quest of employing reverse astrology to find out Peanut Jr.’s birthday.

I am sorry but I am traveling
Many blessings [in pioneering the field of reverse astrology]

Kabir D., Owner of Mystic of East

My brother and I are Pisces, my best friend from high school and his twin brother are Leos, and two of my cousins are Aquariuses. Which of us are the closest in personality to Peanut Jr.? In my original essay on Mr. Peanut’s reincarnation, I argue that it is impossible for the mischievous and immature Baby Nut to be that very same dignified but cold Mr. Peanut. But maybe it is possible and maybe people (anthropomorphic peanuts included) don’t have just one set personality traits that can easily be categorized.

Astrology is hard and they say the eyes are the window to the soul, so I set out to collect eyes. This task proved to be harder than expected and cost me a dollar — people tend to ask a lot of questions when you ask them for a picture of their eyes. Nevertheless, I persisted and I’ve managed to photoshop the eyes of a Pisces, a Leo, and an Aquarius onto the face of Mr. Peanut. The answer to our question is quite clear.

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