More Than Child’s Play

Ken's Head
I look back on the days of Silverstone and think, in some ways, I was just your average little girl.  Sometimes my sister and I would play Barbies.  My sister had Barbie’s Dream House.  As shallow as Barbie seems, apparently she didn’t dream very big.  Nor did she dream of furniture other than a white plastic bed.  We spent a number of hours making up various scenarios.  My sister and her multiple Barbies donning multiple outfits.  Me with Ken, GI Joe and Big Jim.  GI Joe was a hand-me-down from some family friends who had a teenage son.  Not only did I get GI Joe, but I got his Jeep, which I absolutely loved.  My sister had Barbie’s brightly-coloured, happy-looking camper and I had GI Joe’s tough-looking Jeep.  We played together, but we were kind of in different worlds.

Big Jim was a Christmas gift from my parents. One of the few I remember really wanting and really liking.  You may not have heard of Big Jim before.  He never did make it to the big time.  He was short, muscular and – are you ready for this? – he could wield a mean karate chop.  That’s right – just press the button on his back to bring his arm up and down with lightning speed.  He was my favourite.  At some point, my sister acquired the Sunshine Family.  An odd couple with a baby that rode on their canopy-covered bicycle built for two.  Give me a break.  For a while I added Mr. Sunshine to my collection, but quickly returned him to his family.  I’ve never been the judgmental type, but I’m sorry, Mr. Sunshine was a scrawny wimp. I had no doubt that Big Jim could karate chop him in half and I didn’t want that to happen. And he was just a little too happy for my liking.  It was bad enough that I allowed Headless Ken (his head didn’t stay on very well, causing him to frequently self-decapitate) to join the ranks of GI Joe and Big Jim.  At least Ken had the headless thing going on.  He had issues.  His life wasn’t perfect.  Big Jim, GI Joe and Headless Ken – in some ways I wasn’t your average little girl.

Published excerpt from: “The Life of a Loser (a work-in-progress, so to speak).” Portfolio milieu 2004.  Vancouver, BC: milieu press; 2004.