Ok, so it was my birthday last week, so I thought I would share a birthday story with the world.
When I was about 7 or 8, I was invited to a birthday party for Jessica P, who lived down the block from me. It was to be held at McDonalds, where ALL the parties were. Suck on that, MTV's Sweet Sixteen! Anyway, Jessica wasn't really a good friend of mine. I think she was a year or so younger than me, which was a VERY important detail at the time, and she was also boring. She was the "friend" I played with only when my top tier friends were unavailable.
So, my mother took me to the store to buy a gift. We ended up selecting the unbiquitous Barbie. I wanted one too, and was denied. I was offered an imitation, which I refused. Imitation Barbies sucked. Parents who buy cheap toys will lie and say they are the same as the real type, but kids know the difference. Real Barbies don't have hollow legs and thin to bald hair, and clothes in strange colors like mustard yellow and eggplant.
So the damned doll was bought, taken home, and dutifully wrapped. I still wanted one of my own. The party was not for a couple of days, and the need to have This.Very.Doll. for My.Very.Own. grew and festered. So I unwrapped it, removed it from the box and played with it. The day of the party arrived, and I could not bear to part with the doll, nor could I put it back neatly in the box with all the twist ties that hold a Barbie captive in her box. So I hid it.
I knew where the wrapping paper was, the tape and scissors too. So I snatched up a dress from my closet floor and wrapped THAT up in the paper. Whichever parent drove me to the party was oblivious to the fact that my poorly wrapped gift was not in the size or shape of a Barbie box. And the wrapping was not quite up to the usual neatness one would expect.
I don't remember much about the party except that Jessicas parents gave me filthy looks, which only caused a momentary guilt response in me. At the time I just knew that I had my own darn doll, and that was all that mattered. For the record, I did have other dolls, and other Barbies, but I really needed this one.
It is only now, after over 20 years that I can think of things from Jessicas parents point of view - the dress I wrapped would have clearly been used, possibly stained, probably wrinkled and most likely not even the right size for Jessica. And though my parents had and have many faults, this level of tasteless gift giving is not one of them! I wonder if they ever thought that it was all me and not my parents who gave their little girl a used dress, so Marsha and Don P, if you ever read this, I am sorry.
And this, dear readers, is reason 25408 why I should not have my own children. There is no doubt that they would turn out EXACTLY like me!