Admittedly, I had quite the collection of Barbies growing up and thankfully, my dad is a hoarder and has not thrown the remaining dolls away. For the most part, my collection has stayed in tact, despite my own efforts when I decided Barbies were stupid and archaic - during my tomboy phase - and decided to blow a few up with bottle rockets and M-80s on one fateful Fourth of July or tried to flush them down the toilet. Looking back on the events that transpired, it sounds a lot more psychopathic than it really was. Regardless, I had so many freaking Barbies and a lot of them were like the special edition ones or the ones that were really weird, most likely because I could only con my dad into buying me all these Barbies and accessories. He is pretty odd and finds unusual things amusing, much like myself, so most likely purchased these particular Barbies because they were slightly offensive, he knew that I would find them to be hilarious to play with or would probably never be made again. To really drive the point of how into Barbies I was, all my Christmas and birthday gifts from like age 3 to 10, give or take, were Barbie oriented. I got playstation Barbie games, homemade Barbie clothes from my Aunt Jenny, more Barbies, Barbie storage cases for clothes and the actual dolls, tons of Barbie accessories (cars, pools, bikes, cell phone, etc.), and a doll mini-mansion with miniature furniture and appliances made from the same material as the life-size version. I was quite the little, snot-nosed, Barbie-crazed kid. Times have clearly changed since then, but it does not stop me from reminiscing on the weird Barbies that I had received and fawned over.
To this day, I cannot think about my handicap Barbie without laughing. Her given name was “Becky” or “Share a Smile Becky,” but given that I did not have name tags, had questionable writing and reading skills, and had already amassed a somewhat impressive collection of Barbie dolls that could rival my mom’s so called “investment” in Beanie Babies, I strictly referred to her as “No Bones Barbie.” Becky came with a wheelchair that had reflective tape on the wheels and cruelly enough, did not spend a lot of time in her wheelchair, but rather spent a lot of time falling out of her chair, accidentally rolling her wheelchair into the Barbie pool or the bathtub and getting rescued, participating in wheelchair vs. model car drag races, sprawled out on the ground, and being a victim of various fatal accidents or accidents resulting in injury, where she had to be transported to the Barbie hospital, be treated by Ken or Barbie and sometimes recovered from injury, died, or was paralyzed. In general, I think Becky had a lot to offer for my imagination because she was disjointed. Handicap Barbie was not the only victim to my dramatic play, to which I am convinced might be the entire story line of Grey’s Anatomy minus all of the more adult content (at what point should I make contact with Shonda Rhimes about this?), but nonetheless, she was always a fan-favorite.
Second to No Bones Barbie, “Workin’ Out Barbie” was also frequently involved in my antics. She came with this really awesome cassette tape, to which I swear is the hottest mixtape that has ever dropped. I cannot tell you how many times that I forced my father to pop it into the radio, it was the anthem of my childhood. After reaching out to my father for a statement, without prompt about Workin’ Out Barbie specifically, to which he had a lot to say and replied, “Workin’ Out Barbie and her damn cassette almost drove me to insanity. I still have the cassette tape, please do not play it when you come home though or I might kill you.” In my own defense, I do not think that I played it that frequently, often forcing the likes of Britney Spears or Prince on the car ride to soccer or swim practice, but the nearly six minute exercise tape was quite catchy and instructional for a toddler really trying to get into aerobics. Workin’ Out Barbie’s appeal to me might have more so been in her cassette than the doll itself, despite her colorful clothing and choking-hazardous-small workout accessories. She naturally led a lot of aerobics classes, but otherwise was background and nonessential to the my Barbie world.
Other than these being the more notable Barbies in my collection, for the sake of destroying what is left of my own integrity and a greater word count, I must say I now understand why my father let me have such a large collection of Barbies other than not being as good at saying “no” to me as my mother. The only time that my dad could sleep or do work in peace with two children - a boy and a girl - who were constantly at odds or in war with each other is when he gave us an activity other to preoccupy our hyperactivity. Being an artist and someone in the art industry, my father made sure our activities were more oriented into utilizing, channeling and expressing our creativity rather than mindlessly watching TV - not to mention that there was always a fight over the remote control. Nevertheless, dad always made sure Spencer had a model car to build and me, an endless combination of scenarios to place my Barbies in. My sub-theory is that I had so many Barbies because I was so hard on them in my play that the more I had then the lesser the damage that would be done to each Barbie because I would bench them. In all seriousness, I had no idea how hard I was on them until I asked my dad and I am mortified by some of the things that I did. According to my dad, I had anything from a reunion party to a staged funeral and vigil, using a plastic casket from some Halloween toy. In terms of Barbie-on-Barbie abuse, there was apparently a Barbie that died in her pink corvette in a car crash resulting in a fire, another that had cancer (I did not understand how cancer happened, but knew the treatment) that I insisted had to receive intravenous chemotherapy and ironically enough, the mermaid Ariel drowned in the Barbie hot tub. Despite all their casualties, the last I remember is that they were in pretty decent shape - although Richard does hypothesize that they all might have scurvy in the basement. In the end, I am surprised my father did not find concern in some of these scenarios, especially the ones involving fire, but I guess it was pretty effective in occupying your children. I guess I turned out alright so no harm done, right?