Friday, October 25, 2013

Don't lose your head

"How does one kill fear, I wonder?
How do you shoot a specter through the heart,
slash off its spectral head, 
take it by its spectral throat?"

-- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

Barbie disguised as the Headless Horseman
with polymer clay Jack 'o Lantern head and a bronze horse 10-25-13

"No, you must believe me. 
It was a horseman, a dead one. 

-- Sleepy Hollow

"I just sort of lost my head for a little while."

-- John Mayer

"I like a woman with a head on her shoulders.
I hate necks."

-- Steve Martin, A Wild and Crazy Guy

I have played with Barbies more during this 365 days project than I ever did as a child.
And here's why.
At least, here's why I think why.

I have 3 sisters. And with 3 sisters you don't play Barbies alone.
If you have sisters, then when you play Barbies, you play Barbies with at least one other person.
And when you play Barbies with others, especially strong-personalitied, opinionated, bossy others, they often try to dictate what and how your Barbie does what it does.

Because they also have a Barbie. And the Barbies must interact. The Barbies can't just live independent, parallel lives that never intersect. That's the whole point of playing Barbies. You've got to make them interact. They have to come out of the Barbie beach house and socialize.

For instance, your sister's Barbie needs to borrow a pair of rubbery pink pumps because she only has yellow ones. So she hops her Barbie over to you and trades shoes, and you get the pink ones, one of which is chewed. 

Or your sister's Barbie wants her Barbie to go cruising in the pink Corvette and wants your Barbie to ride along. But your sister's Barbie gets to drive, because it's her Corvette, which means your sister gets to push the car while you just sit and watch.

Or your sister says your Barbie can't wear the sparkly dress because her Barbie is wearing a sparkly dress, and they can't both wear sparkly dresses, because that's copying and her Barbie had her sparkly dress on first.

So you dress your Barbie in a pair of Ken's bell bottoms and maybe a nice sport coat and a pair of loafers, and calmly watch your sister lose every last bit of her ever-loving shit.

If you've followed the blog very long, you might know that back in March I bought a bag of 7 Barbies for $2.99 at the thrift store. They were all buck naked, but otherwise in really good shape. Among other things I've put mustaches on them, stuffed all their heads into a Chinese takeout container, turned one into a zombie, painted a Day of the Dead face on another, and covered one with blood a la "Carrie."  

Good, good times.

Today, I popped the head off one and replaced it with a Jack 'o Lantern that I sculpted from clay. I even painted blood on her neck stump (with permanent marker) and hot-glued a sword in her hand (I glued it because the bitch can't grasp. My G.I. Joes can grasp. Ever hear of a little thing called the "Kung Fu grip"?)

Trust me, if I did any one of those things to any one of my sisters' Barbies, they would have raised holy Hell and screamed something at me like "I'm telling!"

But I don't have to worry about that anymore. Because now I have my very own Barbies. And I can do what I want because there is nobody here to tell me I can't. And that's why.

I'd say I've definitely gotten my money's worth.

A personal note:

The summer I turned ten years old, my parents took me and my sisters to Mackinaw Island. The trip was my "big gift" (note to parents: if everybody else goes on the trip, too, the birthday child knows they're getting juked, 'cuz everybody else got the same gift as them and it isn't their birthday.) Anyway, the horse in today's portrait was in a gift shop. It was one of a pair of $20 bronze bookends. I only had $10 -- birthday money from my grandparents, who always gave us our age in dollars. Somehow my dad convinced the shop owner to break up the pair and sell me a single stallion for $10.

I loved this horse more than I loved the trip, because nobody else got a horse. Just me, the birthday girl. Even if I did have to buy it myself.

I also remember something about fudge and a rubber tomahawk, but the details are sketchy.