Tuesday, July 07, 2009
secret 7 - barbie girl
once upon a time many years ago, i had a very good friend that i hung out with all the time. she worked at the same newspaper i did and was in charge of all the kids who had paper routes, so i used to tease her about whether she'd done her paper route that day. i actually used to tease her about a lot of things. because she could take it and she could tease back.
we had a lot of great times together. we ran the hash. we had sloth weekends where we did nothing but play nintendo all weekend. we played cards into the wee hours of the night. we had a game called "drink two" where you had to name who sang a song first when it came on the radio and if you did it, the others all had to take two drinks of their drink (i was rubbish at that game). we watched star trek: next generation marathons and real world marathons on MTV. one sloth weekend, my sister and her friend went to target and came back with presents for everyone. they brought me something sparkly and they brought michellea a pork sandwich.
back then, i had a little bit of a thing about barbie. i collected the christmas barbies and other collectible editions of barbie (hmm, maybe that should have been my secret--oh well, consider it a little bonus extra secret, because the real secret is coming up and it's a doozy). these, i had on shelves in my living room. well, michellea wasn't really a barbie girl. and in fact, on one or other sloth weekend, she let it slip that she was kinda freaked out by dolls in general (a bit like i feel about clowns) and that all those barbies staring down from the shelves above the t.v. were kinda freaking her out. i surely laughed maniacally at the time.
well, college ended and we all went our separate ways, moving to other states, but staying in touch. in those days, via telephone, where we could actually have three-way calls due to the miracle of mid-90s technology.
i always kept the doll thing in the back of my mind and then, when a friend was visiting from germany, i told him of the plan i'd been brewing. i would cut up a barbie doll and put the pieces into identical envelopes and send them to michellea from all over the world. i'd send a couple home with him for him to mail from germany. i'd distribute the others to other friends and ask them to send them from places that michellea wouldn't suspect of me. i'd save the envelope with the head myself and send it after a few weeks with a note, revealing it was me and go down in the annals of practical jokedom. it was a genius level practical joke.
so my german friend used his pocket knife to chop up a barbie (it hurt me a little bit to cut up barbie, but it was also cathartic in a way). we carefully placed the pieces of her in identical little manila envelopes and i printed address labels and addressed them. my friend took several of the envelopes and i distrubted the rest to other friends to send from random postmarks.
in those days pre-9/11, my sister actually got a guy who sat next to her on a flight to denver to take one of them and mail it from his home in colorado. he thought it was a hilarious story and thought it would be a riot to take part in it. another friend was going to the bahamas and she took a couple along with her to mail along her journey.
michellea was working at a big university, running a residence hall. the bits of barbie began to trickle in. and she, of course, thought it must be someone in her hall--there was a guy who was a bit delusional and fancying himself the new jesus and he headed her list of suspects. my sister and i were also on her suspect list (she knew us well) and i remember that michellea called me and we had a three-way call with my sister, wherein i remember strongly denying the whole thing, tho' i had to use the mute button to laugh uproariously. then, sadly, the unabomber, who hadn't been caught or active for some time struck somewhere or other and then the bits of barbie began to seem a bit frightening. we heard that michellea's mom wanted her to call the police. so we called her& right away and told her it was us and that it was just a practical joke. by then, i had sent the head, revealing the trick.
michellea never did get all of the pieces of barbie, some were lost in the mail. she kept them in a shoe box for quite awhile thereafter. and she had to admit, unabomber aside, that it was a pretty good practical joke. the only thing is is that she's not yet paid me back for it. so i'm still on guard.