Times My Parents Should Have Asked More Questions

My parents are pretty cool parents. Generally, they’re good about discipline and did a great job raising me and my two siblings. Occasionally though, I’ll be telling a story to a new friend and I’ll suddenly be aghast at how little my parents intervened at certain obvious red flags. I know there’s only so much you can do when your kids act strangely, but man, we (me, my parents, society at large) all lucked out by these not being a bigger deal.

1. La Tortura de Barbies

When I was a kid, I used to absolutely future-serial-killer-style torture my Barbie dolls. I’d cut their hair off and hang them from the ceiling fans by their necks using my jump ropes as a noose. My bedroom looked like a freshman year modern art installation protesting the Iraq War for how many maimed doll bodies were lying around. One time, a young male friend and I found matches and melted one Barbie’s face until it turned black and then continued to play with her in regular rotation as just… a burn victim, I guess.

My mom repeatedly walked in on me orchestrating some kind of crazy Barbie doll orgy where all the Barbies would switch partners like a 1970s key party. Some were missing limbs, that one unfortunate soul was facially charred and the rest had their hair or tiny plastic noses shorn off. It was basically a Barbie concentration camp. How do you see that from your child and not ask a few pressing questions?

Best Case Scenario:

She’s just a weird little kid who needs to exorcise a few demons using inanimate objects.

Worst Case Scenario:

She starts burning cats. And then murdering people. We Need To Talk About Gaby.

Question They Could Have Asked:

“Sweetheart… are you an American Psycho?”

2. Agent Foxy Mulder

The Halloween I was in the sixth grade, my friend Jess and I — then both obsessed with the TV show The X-Files — decided to dress like intrepid agents Mulder and Scully. Jess had a David Duchovny poster above her bed and was pretty into him in a romantic sense. I played along like I did too, but really? I wanted to be Mulder, not so much be with Mulder.

That year, we dressed up as the investigative duo — Jess as Scully and me as Mulder. I put my hair up in a fedora and carried around an inflatable alien doll yelling “The truth is out there!” instead of the traditional “trick or treat!”

The reason I had a Mulder costume all ready to go? Because a month earlier when my mom had tried to get me to buy new outfits to wear to synagogue for the high holy days (meaning fancy clothes), I only wanted suits. Pants suits like the ones Mulder and Scully wore. I wanted neck ties. I wanted to look like an alien-pursuing FBI agent at all times. Instead, I looked like a miniature Hillary Clinton.

Best Case Scenario:

Overactive imagination. Perhaps she’ll become a writer or a scientist or go into law enforcement.

Worst Case Scenario:

Proprietor of the net’s premiere UFO evidence message board. Lives in basement. Wears tinfoil hat.

Question They Could Have Asked:

“Also… Mulder and not Scully? Pantsuits? Were you born a 45-year-old lesbian?”

3. One Does Not Simply Walk Into A Cigarette Shop

I fell briefly into the “bad” crowd my sophomore year and started hanging out with the mall goths and artists of my tiny, private, sheltered-as-hell high school. This is horribly embarrassing, but I was also mega-into The Lord Of The Rings at the time and I’d read in a magazine interview that Elijah Wood (a.k.a. Frodo) smoked clove cigarettes. When bad-kid-big-talk push came to shove and the other kids wanted to know what I smoked, I lied and blurted out the only thing I knew: cloves. Then, someone in that group bought me a pack of cloves. Neat! I could pull this off.

Only here’s the thing about cloves: they taste awful. So I smoked them around the other kids, but mostly I kept them in my backpack. One day, my mom was doing her usual “cleaning”/snooping in my room and found my cigs. Ruh roh. The conversation went like this:

Mom: “Whose are these?”

Me: “They’re not mine. They belong to… uh, my friend. I am, uh, holding on to them for her.”

Mom: “Oh. Okay.”

And that was it! Are you kidding me?! That’s all it took? I can’t remember if she actually took them away or not, but man. I must have totally Jedi-mindtricked her.

Best Case Scenario:

She’s going through a phase and cloves are gross. She’ll grow out of it.

Worst Case Scenario:

Emphysema. Cancer. Lord of The Rings cosplay conventions.

Questions They Could Have Asked:

“Hahahaha. Your friend’s? Seriously? These are obviously yours. You’re grounded. Forever.” TC Mark

image – The US National Archives


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  • Reni

    Tortuga in Spanish means turtle. Did you mean to say la tortura (with an “r”) de barbies, ie. torture ?

    • http://gabydunnthoughtcatalog.wordpress.com Gaby Dunn

      Hahahaha. I did. But that’s really funny. Thanks for pointing it out. What if I did mean Turtle Barbies? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

  • http://gravatar.com/debrouillarde Meghann

    La Tortuga de Barbies? What about a turtle?

  • B

    Tortura, not tortuga.

  • http://twitter.com/mbp817 Marc Phillips (@mbp817)

    I’m LOLing at my desk. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/summer.gillen Summer Gillen

    Apparently the whole torturing/ orgy fascination with barbies is a thing. I did almost the same exact thing with my plastic victims…for most of their existence in my house. Glad we can unite on this.

  • http://thewonderlandtimes.wordpress.com Coco Jeannine

    I’m dying @ “One does not simply walk into a cigarette shop.”

  • alanapaints

    Tortuga: where Captain Blood fought on the beach with Levasseur for the virtue of Arabella. Basil Rathbone chewed scenery better than anyone: “These are the rosary of pain”

    My barbies got tied up and passed over the barbeque “volcano” a few times before they somehow managed to free themselves and escape into the ferns behind the hose faucet. Wily girls, they were.

  • http://palabrah.wordpress.com palabrah

    HA! Excellent post

  • Barbie Genocide

    I cracked up and starting full-on LOL-ing when I read the barbies one. I did exactly the same shit, down to the ceiling fan :). I actually microwaved a couple of my barbies, as well as froze them in jars of solid ice, and called them barbiesicles. …………….i’m normal I swear.

  • SaraLily

    oh I tortured my Barbies too! Mostly in the bath or pool. My sister liked to pretend they were drowning. And they wre always having orgy parties and I CONSANTLY shoved bouncy balls up their dresses to make them pregnant. Guess my parents should have had questions too…

  • Rose Georgia

    i think every girl must do that to her barbies. my friend and i cut off all our barbies’ hair then painted their heads with black nail varnish. we also tried to burn them at the stake and hang them a few times. i had a beauty and the beast ken doll so sometimes barbie and ken got down with some scissor action. luckily i had no interest in ken’s removable beast head/mask thing so things never veered toward bestial.

  • http://duncansomerside.wordpress.com duncansomerside

    I on the other hand, a gay man, played NICELY with my sister’s barbies… Until my mom sold them at which point I had to settle for play-mobile people.

  • http://harrisonwilder.com Harrison Wilder

    Will definitely have to absorb this and see what lessons can be applied to my posts on generational relationships :-)

  • Lady of Press

    my favorite– “tiny, private, sheltered-as-hell high school.” Oh, Posnack! Hahahaha

  • http://rsmithing.wordpress.com rsmithing

    And yet, you seem to have turned out fine. Not like you’re divulging tales of parental naiveté mixed with your own borderline personality behavior, right? Oh, wait… Cool post. ;)

  • Suraiya Sarwar

    Lol I love this!

  • KRose

    Hilarious! However…um… since when are cloves awful? I miss them with all my heart and soul.

  • çok güzel

    The same “they are not mine, I am holding them for a friend” excuse worked on my mother when she found a pack in my bookbag. Only I was in college, and she was visiting me in a foreign country where EVERYONE smokes. Mothers are just kind of funny like that.

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