The year I was born, Mattel, Inc. introduced a new doll called Barbie. Here is how she looked at her birth.
I was about five when I got my Barbie. I say "my Barbie" because in the day you only had one Barbie. She was your Barbie, and you knew not only her but also all of your friends' Barbies. You never changed Barbies, you only changed their clothes. And if your mama could sew, you were the envy of the neighborhood.
Barbie always made me nervous. I didn't like her body. I thought her boobs were too big and her waist too small, and those perpetually pointed toes just bothered the hell out of me. I pinky swear this is true. Even as a kid I had Barbie issues.
My mom couldn't sew a lick, but she noted my Barbie issues and bought me a gorgeous blue velvet Guinevere gown for my Barbie. It covered Barbie's toes. And if I'd kept the damned classic Barbie and the dress, they would cover my daughter's first semester of college.
My sister loved Barbies and was also very fussy about her belongings. So when my daughters came along, Sis had all this vintage Barbie stuff in mint condition. She gave it to me. Did I put it on ebay like a smart person? Nope. Handed it over to my kids, who played it into the ground and then some. Not a piece left.
I have changed a great deal since 1959, but look at Barbie. She's not only prettier, she's still got those whopping gazongas and that wasp waist. And I can state for a fact that her feet still hold the high heel pose, because when The Heir and The Spare were little, I stepped on about 1,283 Barbie high heels in the dark of the night.
The Barbie culture changed a lot between my Barbie days and my kids' Barbie days. By the time The Heir was about 12 and The Spare about five, we had a whole bin of Barbies, most of them naked. Oh yeah, and we also had Sis's classic Malibu Ken. (I saved him, but he's naked. He used to have a leather leisure suit that really buttoned.)
It irked me that humans grow old, die, and decompose, while Barbie stays forever young and doesn't even fall apart in the landfill. Not that I'd want to be an immortal, big-boobed, wasp-waisted zombie who can only walk in high heels, but I got tired of staring into that bin.
What does this have to do with white magic? Well, I just made a wish. I wished someone would do something about the Barbies in my house to make me feel better about them.
Some time later, I heard the unfamiliar sound of my daughters playing together amiably, up in the room where the Barbies were stored. I guess The Heir was about 14 and The Spare was about 9.
I went upstairs to lurk.
The Heir had put the whole force of her artistic abilities to work on the collection of Barbies. She had drawn dark circles under their eyes, given them bad haircuts, punked their clothing, and splayed their limbs in grotesque poses.
The Heir was entertaining The Spare with a show about Barbies Gone Bad. Some of the Barbies were on drugs. Others had gotten bad boob jobs. They were all malajusted, except for Malibu Ken, who was attired in the prettiest dress in the bin and flirting with a picture of Charles Barkley. (This photo illustration is not one of The Heir's efforts. Her Barbies had varicose veins from shooting up.)
The Spare was wide-eyed throughout the exhibition. She was a tad young to understand the whole plot The Heir was crafting on the fly. But she got the jist. The over-arching theme, so to speak.
When playtime was over, the Barbies Gone Bad were flung back into the bin. They looked about 50 times more horrific than the Transylvanians in Rocky Horror Picture Show. As time went on, The Heir and The Spare competed to see how low they could get their Barbies to stoop. Malibu Ken was the only one who retained a shred of dignity, because The Heir loves drag queens.
Sorry, but I found this refreshing. Barbies Gone Bad not only looked frightful, they imparted wholesome messages about avoiding drugs and unneccessary plastic surgery. And they also said that The Heir and The Spare would never buy into Barbie as a role model. Can I get a yee-haaa for that? Thanks!
White Magic Lesson: Keep your wishes small and harmless, and you'll be happy whether or not they come true. And if they do come true, you'll be even happier. Until you remember that leather leisure suit and how well it would have done on ebay.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS