As Wreck-it-Ralph says, “I’m bad, and that’s good.” I was thrilled to see I’d won a “dishonorable mention” in my favorite writing contest, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/) Where “www” means “wretched writers welcome.” It’s not exactly something you can put on a resume (Hey, look at me! I won a BAD writing contest!) but I think Wreck-it-Ralph would approve.
Here’s the story behind it:
I grew up with eight brothers. As a small female among so many males, I was an easy target. I wouldn’t say I was a girly-girl, but I did own two dolls, both of which my brothers loved to torture. One was a Barbie doll (Pretty in Pink) and the other a Cabbage Patch doll. I don’t know where I got the Barbie, but I doubt it was from my mom. My mom bought books, not Barbies. The Cabbage Patch doll was not from her either. The Christmas I got mine, Cabbage Patch dolls were the hottest toy out there, and not only did you have to pay exorbitant prices for one, but also stand in line for hours and use elbows for the honor of paying the exorbitant price. My mom didn’t go in for that kind of nonsense. But in 1986 we spent Christmas at my Grandma’s, and elbowing one’s way into shopping sales was just the kind of nonsense my Grandma went in for.
I loved that doll. She had big blue eyes and dimples, blonde yarn hair pulled into pig tails, with a curly yarn fringe framing her face. The birth certificate declared her name to be Kathleen, which I immediately shortened to Cathy. I changed Cathy’s diaper so many times on the way back from California to Utah, the diaper tabs lost their stickiness and had to be discarded. And of course she came with that heavenly new doll smell.
Anyway, back to the eight brothers. As everyone knows, brothers sometimes express their…um…dare I say love?…to sisters by bugging them. Well, I have very smart, very clever brothers. So the standard poking, chasing, name-calling, teasing, etc. was not enough to satisfy them. This could not have been better illustrated than the day I came home to find a ransom note on my bed where Cathy used to be. The note said that unless I gave into their list of demands, my brothers would turn my Cabbage Patch doll into COLESLAW.
I found Cathy soon afterwards in the backyard. She was hanging from the rim of the basketball standard, stripped, her piggy tails pulled out, and my brothers throwing snowballs at her. There is probably some psychoanalyzing that could take place here, but I knew my brothers, and I knew that this whole thing went down because they’d seen a cartoon where they make one of those ransom notes out of newspaper clippings, and my brothers wanted to give it a try. I was the target.
Cathy’s hair was never the same. It took me until age thirty to laugh at the coleslaw line. I can admit now, it is funny. And I have put their hurtful wit to good use. My winning entry in the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest was inspired by their prank from years ago.
Here’s the entry:
Over KFC, Raul broke up with Sheila a second time, (the first time shrinking her heart until it was only fit for a tiny doll,) tearing what was left of her heart to shreds, like the shreds of coleslaw now clinging to Raul’s beard; a fitting analogy since the aforementioned doll Sheila was thinking of was a Cabbage Patch doll.
It won dishonourable mention for the romance category. My first win. So, as you can see, sometimes it’s advantageous to have eight brothers. Who’s laughing now, boys? Hmm? Who. Is. Laughing. Now.