I just watched a commercial about the Loving Family Dollhouse. It struck me as odd: I vividly remember being a kid and playing with dolls that I pretended were my age now. I watched the kids in the commercial play with the dolls and walk "the grand staircase" and I chuckled at how their play probably didn't include mommy and daddy freaking out over how the sluggish economy was now affecting their small business or how politicians are crooked and people are sheep.
Then I remembered my cousin Joe.
When I was little I would spend the night at my cousin Ginger's house and we'd stay up all night playing with her massive collection of Barbies. Joe, her older brother by a couple years, made our Barbies' lives a living hell. When Joe got bored with his video games he'd bust into Ginger's room and ask to play with us. Initially we didn't refuse. He'd give us each an equal share of Monopoly money and Ginger and I would be all "WOO! Barbies AND pink five dollar bills! Yeay life!" Then Joe would announce that he was the landlord and that we had to pay him $500 of our Monopoly money for rent. And then Ginger and I were all, um, OK." Because Joe was taller than us, he was the only one who could reach the chain on the ceiling fan light and if it was night, he'd turn it off until we gave him $50 each for our electricity bill. He was Man Electric, too. Eventually our Ken dolls got laid off, the power was turned off, and our houses foreclosed. Our Barbies always found themselves homeless, dragging a paper bag full of miniature belongings down the hallway to go live in the government housing that was the kitchen cabinets.
I hated playing with Joe, but I learned a lot about life in
(Ginger and Joe aren't their real names.)