That Doll Ain’t No Lady

We have a lot of orchids. Thirteen in all, but we used to have more. Now their leaves emit more anxiety than oxygen, on account of them watching us give away their peers to Orchid-newbies (read: certain death. Or we’ve slowly killed the others out of neglect now that we have children. But somehow they bloom. I have a theory that by keeping them in a constant state of distress they bloom out of desperation in a futile effort to reproduce,kinda like the way salmon so selflessly do: laying their eggs and promptly keeling over. Unfortunately the long-nosed hawk moth of South Africa or whatever is never to be found fluttering inside our house at night so their flowers eventually drop, unfertilized, to the floor, waiting to be grabbed by the drooly hand of a passing baby and promptly gummed into oblivion. Fortunately none of them are poisonous…that I’m aware of.
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I do have a favorite: Phragmipedium Sunset Glow 4N. Phragmipediums are the South American version of the more familiar Paphiopedilums native to southeast Asia. You probably know them better as lady slipper orchids, and indeed that is what they look like. So when this particular orchid, which has been reliably blooming for months, dropped its final bloom, I scooped it off the floor and gave it to my daughter. She asked me what it was, and in hindsight I don’t know why I didn’t tell her its latin name, since this is the three year-old who will drop “Pachycephalosaurs” or “Parasaurolophus” without blinking, but I said, “It’s a lady slipper orchid.”

She climbed out of her chair excitedly, and ran for her toy box. Confused, I watched her return and then realized what she was doing.

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Adorable right?

But you don’t know this doll. If you knew this doll, you’d see one of Cinderella’s bitchy step-sisters – the one who skanks around in seedy clubs, goes home with the guy in the fishnet top, and is the bread and butter of Saturday morning cabbies – trying to fit her foot in a slipper, far too pretty for her cheap pedicure.

I smiled and, in my best, Clark Gable impersonation, made the comment, “I don’t know Josie. From what I know of that doll, she ain’t no lady.” And this is the problem with being a comedian to toddlers: they’re literalists, and even if they weren’t, they focus on words they’ve never heard their dad say before, like ain’t, and miss the punchline anyway.

I have my good friend Matthew Martz to thank for this and another doll’s personality, because one night he channeled their thoughts to the delight of Josie. Apparently they were quite catty that night, and ever since when I catch Josie playing with the two of them, they are just as evil as the night Matthew gave them voices. None of her other toys are like this. Every stuffed animal she has is an angel she loving tucks in at night with a napkin. These two though…they’re like the douchey spawn of Snooki and Kevin Federline. I have fears that someday Josie will catch a clip of Miley Cyrus twerking on TV and later that night, while I’m cleaning up the toy wreckage in the living room I’ll come upon one of these girls bent over, in front of her stuffed Eeyore, who for all intents and purposes, will appear to be giving it to her doggy style.

Thanks a lot Matthew.