My first grade son had out the puzzle map of the United States, the dinosaurs, and Barbie. As I made breakfast, I listened to Barbie’s decision to become President and take over the world. The first thing Barbie did was dispatch California and NewYork. I asked, from the tall sideline, where I can occasionally expose my grupignorance, “Why?”
President Barbie herself answered with a maniacal laugh, “You can’t take over when the cities on the ends have anything to do with it! I want only TEN STATES. I will keep the map the same for the outline, but we’re destroying all the rest of the states! These ten states will comprise the TEN STATE SOLUTION: Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Nebraska”
Everything Barbie says is insistent, proud and maniacal. Always punctuated with exclamation points. He explains that this is part of WHY she became President.
“Why was she elected President?”, I naively asked.
“Oh,” he said with rueful disdain at the common man, “She did a bunch of work. Just enough. People wanted her to be President. Till they realized she was so crazy and mean. But, by then it was too late.”
Barbie had several advisors. Every time they began to question her Ten State Solution, or her fetish for removing the waters under the Bronx-Whitestone bridge and other such useless and massive undertakings, she would cut them off before they finished their sentences, which caused great hilarity for my son. Finally, President Barbie wearied of all the questioning and decided to place her cabinet and the Congress in jail. I had to ask; I just had to question the Presidential powers.
“Mom! All that doesn’t count when you have Dinosaurs! The Dinosaurs are Coming! We are also going to have tornadoes! (Barbie can create these.) If you have Dinosaurs Coming, you can throw anyone you want in jail for disagreeing with you!” He ended with a very good Wicked Witch of the West peal of laughter.
It’s quiet right now. My son has out his scissors and red construction paper and is reconstructing the map of the United States into ten gigantic and, yes, red states. Barbie is on her throne, advising him that it was too dangerous, really to allow states to have any power that are right next to other countries. Sometimes I hear the muted cries of people crying outagainst the massive recreation of our states, but the shrill laughter overwhelms them as he cuts away. It’s also close to Memorial Day, and all the kids in first grade have been practicing songs for the assembly. So, he is breaking into tuneles srenditions of “God Bless America.” President Barbie has a themesong. It goes,
“This Land Was Your Land and Now It’s My Land. There’s No California or New York Island, Cuz This Land is All Tennessee!”
I had to ask one more question—why?
“OH! [the naïveté]” SELFISHNESS, MOM, SELFISHNESS! Now I just want to play!”