Monday, March 9, 2009
Happy Birthday Barbie and Saint Catherine
Today is Barbie’s 50th birthday. This very day. If you were listening to Brian Lehrer on NPR this morning you would have heard women from all over the Tri-state area calling in to reveal the myriad ways in which they dismembered or maimed or altered their Barbies. Only recently I learned that this was in fact a widespread phenomena and I was enormously cheered, because for so long I thought that my own predilection to inflict strange things upon my Barbie was a sign of my warped personality. (Perhaps relating to my affinity for early Christian female martyrs?) Now it seems I share this warped personality trait with a large contingent of American woman. Alleluia. And not just me, but also my daughter.
I seriously considered calling into the Brian Lehrer Show (93.9, WNYC) and relating how my son carefully dismembered his older sister’s Barbie and flushed, or attempted to flush, all the body parts down the toilet. This necessitated calling the plumber. Though when I called in the plumber I did not know what was causing the stoppage in the toilet. And when Barbie’s limbs were extracted, one by one, we all assumed it was Reine’s devilish little brother who had done this.
Then, about a year ago and almost two decades after the event, Reine confessed to me that she was the one who had disposed of Barbie’s body parts and allowed her brother to take the heat. My memory is that he never denied dismembering Barbie, which makes it a little more complex.
I didn’t call Brian Lehrer.
Saint Catherine of Bologna, whose feast is also today, never made it to 50. She died at the age of 48.
She was buried directly in the ground without a coffin, and stayed there for 18 days. Following a spate of miracles, she was disinterred and found to be sweet smelling and intact. And ever since then(1463 AD) she has resided in the convent church in Bologna, sitting upright inside a case of glass.
Like Barbie, forever, young, unchanging.