Wednesday, March 11, 2009
On the Ocassion of Barbie's 50th Birthday--"The Diary of Ken Doll, Post Break-Up"
February 17: Woke up drunk for third time in as many days. If I even look at another Fuzzy Navel I’ll throw up. Spent entire day lying on my West Elm wood-frame sectional, recalling Barbie’s last words to me before she drove off in her Dream Tesla—“Well, like, bye!” Tried to forget whole agonizing ordeal by playing Xbox but couldn’t get through a single game of Dance Dance Revolution Universe 3 without sobbing.
March 9: Filled with rage and the most delightful strawberry whipped cream cakes from Phoenix Bakery. How could Barbie leave me for a guy who still wears pleats?! Clearly everyone was right— our relationship was a joke! All we ever did was spend time at her house, drive around in her car, eat at her restaurant, make tennis bracelets with her soldering iron. I was always following her orders, always doing things her way! That’s why I vow today, on this very page, that the next woman I fall in love with will at least let me lead in flamenco class.
April 12: Was working on tan when Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” came over spa’s intercom system. Despite pleas from management I refused to come out of my booth for the next three hours. Dermatologist later said I’m lucky to still have an epidermis. Also said not to wear any Lycra for the next two weeks. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.
May 4: Broke my lease, gave away the last of my possessions on Freecycle and said my goodbyes to coworkers at the Jamba Juice Bar. Today begins a new chapter in the life of Ken! No more being someone’s second banana. I’m going to see the world, test my limits, expand my horizons, embrace new ideals and, with any luck, work off the last of my winter pudge.
June 1: Have yet to make it past San Diego. Surf’s up and fish at Rainwater’s has never been so flaky and tender. Still, it’s imperative that I leave California, leave the country, if I’m ever to leave any bad memories of my break-up behind. That’s why I’m presently on my way to the airport to buy a one-way ticket to the first far-flung destination that sounds like an exotic spice. Adventure!
July 22: It’s been well over a month since I landed in Ulaan Baatar (which sounds less like an exotic spice and more like a villain from Barbie’s discontinued “Oriental Malefactors” series from the 1940’s) and I’ve never felt so alive—or been so frightened for my life—in my entire life. They do things differently down or up here. Take the beatings, for example. They have them! Every day! In the one, lone pub, behind the dune, in the back of the head, wherever, I keep getting punched. The elders say it will build my character and help train their young. I consider it a baptism by fire. Speaking of fire, apparently someone burned all my clothes. But I don’t need them anymore! I’m a new man, with the friends and multiple contusions to prove it.
August 7: Awoke scarred, starving and stripped of all clothes in a Shaolin temple. The monks tell me they saved me from a “dragon of many mouths and temperament most displeasing,” even though the last thing I remember before passing out in Mongolia was being traded to some robed gentlemen at the Naadam Festival. Every morning, afternoon and most of the evening I repay the monk’s rescue by scrubbing the floors, washing the walls, doing laundry and tending to every disciple’s needs. At night they teach me such venerable Shaolin Gong Fu tactics as “The Five–Finger Exploding Heart Technique,” “The Crane Technique” and something else that I could have sworn I once saw Billy Blanks do on a Tae Bo tape but the monks swear to me is an ancient martial arts move. They are a kind people and their constant laughter in my presence is proving quite infectious, although when I laugh along with them they tend to stop, look at me in a sad way and just shake their heads. Perhaps I have not yet earned the right to join in their merriment. Nonetheless, this is the most spiritually fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!
October 14: Having been banished from the Shaolin temple several weeks ago--just around the same time I finished laying the foundation for their swimming pool and cabana house (I fear I inadvertently insulted the monks in some fashion)--I now find myself to be the second-most powerful cocaine lord in Bogata. I am both impressed and puzzled by this accomplishment, seeing as that I don’t remember amassing my fortune, hiring my men or even laying my eyes on any drugs. But my second-command Juarez (who for some reason also has an ID that reads “Agent Ted Simmons”) assures me of both my stature and previous deeds. I’ve even met the new love of my life, Alameda, who revels in my tales of the girls of Wisteria Lane and playfully calls me “Tonto Americano.” I had planned to take her on a picnic in the back of my palatial estate—which I have yet been permitted to see much of outside of my bedroom—but Juarez/Ted says tomorrow I must meet the first-most powerful cocaine lord in the region. Juarez/Ted says I must meet him alone but should anything “go down” he and his men will be there “to pick up the pieces and close down any and all operations.” Nonetheless, this is the most emotionally fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!
February 4: Although I seemingly played an important role in the CIA’s sting operation and eventual capture of “El Rey de Cocaína,” they thought nothing of leaving my bullet-ridden body in a Colombian square. Fortunately I was taken in—or just taken—by a band of Basque National Separatists, who have taught me to shoot in the name of I think sheep-grazing rights. After months of training I have finally been given my first assignment—“Kill the thieving fucks at Barcelona General Motors.” Initially I thought this to be less a matter of ethnic pride and more a grudge against a single car dealership, especially since our group leader has spent the last two weeks doing nothing but complaining about the sluggish brake response and poor turning in his new Opel Coupe, but he swears to me it’s a matter of greatest and gravest importance for the cause.
April 3: So here’s what happened in Barcelona. Armed with several high-powered rifles and detonation devices, I spent several days idling in a parking garage across the street from the dealership, waiting for the right time to make my move, only to asphyxiate from carbon monoxide and wake up three weeks later in a city hospital bed between two guys who stabbed each other over a gun. It was during my lengthy convalescence—which took place not at some overpriced hospital or rehab center but rather at a youth hostel with a rented DVD player and a self-improvement disc titled So You’ve Gone and Hobbled Yourself—I decided to once more take stock of my life. I finally came to the conclusion that I am far too trusting of people. I trusted the Mongolian elders. I trusted the Shaolin monks. I trusted my best friend with the alternate identity in Bogata. I trusted the terrorists. And most of all, I trusted Barbie. And where has it gotten me? A one-cot room with 12 German tourists who don’t understand that you simply do not wear socks with sandals! From now on this Ken is going to look before he leaps! From now on this Ken is going to be wary of all strangers and offers. From now on this Ken is going to make only smart moves.
May 11: I’m a pirate! Yesterday I was begging for change in a Lisbon bar when I was approached by a few tough-looking men my coworkers back at Jamba Juice would have immediately pegged as “rough tricks.” Turns out they were honest-to-goodness buccaneers! They had eye patches, they wore striped shirts, their breath stunk to high heaven—the whole deal! They said they needed a new recruit to row their “pirate thing” and asked if I was interested. At first I was skeptical, recalling my recent pledge to be more alert and remembering that pirates tend to use engine-powered boats now. But then they said they had some shiny gold doubloons back at their “hideout” and asked if I wanted to see them. Quickly ascertaining that people who already have money—especially doubloons—wouldn’t have any reason to scam or do harm to a person like me, I quickly agreed to join them in the five-hour car ride to their base (I’m writing this as we round the last turn to what appears to be a heavily-wooded area). I really believe this is the start of something grand. Adventure!
July 6: Men are animals! That’s all I have to say about those so-called “pirates.” Animals! Had my body not been found by those Swiss hikers I might still very well be in those woods, trying to get a signal on my Blackberry Pearl. The Swiss family has since given me a job as an au pair for their three adorable charges. During the day I look after the children. At night I frequent a bar that’s a magnet for other American nursemen. We exchange child-rearing tips (“Never turn off the Noggin Channel”) and laugh about our occasional misadventures (happily I’m not the only one to have singed a tot’s eyebrow or two in my day). Odd thing though—yesterday when one of the au pairs asked me which family I worked for and I answered “The Sventons” the entire bar suddenly got quiet. Then another babysitter strongly suggested I buy myself a flak jacket. I guess there’s so much more I still need know about this business.
August 20: Well, the kids and I have been kidnapped. Turns out the Sventons are so obscenely wealthy that their children and current caretaker are held for ransom every four months. Once the kidnappers’ price is met they release the children for another day—since they are too young to be reliable witnesses and are no good to the hostage industry dead—but kill the au pair for fear of being identified. In fact, so certain are they of their plan that they’re letting me write down this entry in my diary, since they’re only going to burn it along with me. I fear this is my last day on earth. No one knows where I am, no one is coming to my rescue and no one will fall my clever ruse of letting me “take a jog just to stretch my legs.” All I ever wanted to do was move on from Barbie, to start over, and now I have only hours to live before the ransom is wired, the Sventons pick up their children and the kidnappers tie up all the loose ends before going back to class on Monday. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.
September 9: If you’re reading this then you obviously know that I am still alive. Alive! On that fateful day back in August, just as the kidnappers were about to do me in, I jumped up from my chair and threatened them all with the Shaolin monk “Five-Finger Exploding Heart Technique.” They instantly collapsed into hysterics, lowered their weapons and blue-tip matches and said, “Oh man, there’s no way THIS guy is going to lead the cops to us!” Once my personal threat level had been lowered to what I call “White” they asked if I knew anything about music. I told them I once carried all the equipment for Barbie’s band “The Clits” (renamed “Barbie and the Barbettes” in America) back in the early 80’s. Right then and there they hired me as the manager and promoter for their band, “The Sventon Kidnappers.” Adventure!
October 4: The Sventon Kidnappers are finishing their tour of the former Soviet bloc and things could not be going more swimmingly! We packed every arena in Moldavia, a country I still hadn’t forgiven for shooting all the guests at Catherine Oxenberg’s royal wedding to Prince Michael in the season finale of Dynasty, only to learn that was purely fiction, the country is now called Romania and maybe Prince Michael had it coming to him all along. Still, I finally think I have found my calling. The music is great, the band rarely holds anyone for ransom anymore (unless we’re low on gas or beer money) and I actually seem to be great at my job. This is the most artistically fulfilled I have ever felt in my life!
November 1: Both the band gear and the band have been stolen. Turns out The Sventon Kidnappers had forgotten they had once signed with a record label run by the Yakuza (Columbia Records). Turns out the band also ran off with money the Yakuza gave them to record their first album, which the label was then going to sell and take all profits from until the loan had been paid with interest—compounded daily. Apparently that’s why they turned to kidnapping, to pay off the debt accrued from their, well, own royalties. And apparently I am once more without money, direction or pants, having sold my last pair of Lucky Jeans to a Wallachian teen for what I thought was a hunk of chocolate cake but turned out to be cured hoof. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.
January 23: Well, I’m back in the United States, having stowed away in the steerage compartment of an oil barge only for it to be immediately dry-docked for six weeks after I sealed myself in one of its containers. Eventually I was rescued after the ship went out to sea and hit a seagull, causing it to instantly rupture and release 400,000 gallons of crude oil and one former amateur California surfer. The Coast Guard deposited me in Los Angeles, where I quickly went for looking for employment. I started by lying about my previous job experience on my resume. So I wrote I was a "Manager” at my last job. On the next draft I wrote I was the "Senior Manager” at my last job. With each subsequent draft I kept inflating my previous job title, from “Senior Manager” to "Vice President” to "Senior Vice President" and so on until I eventually assumed the title of "Super CEO and Ultra Uber-President Publisher Chairman Person of Previous Employer." With each unofficial step up the corporate ladder I entertained better offers, commanded larger benefit packages and granted more and more interviews to magazines, television networks and the U.S. Cabinet. By the time I climbed my way to the title of "Super CEO" (over the course of a grueling two-and-a-half weeks in which I fashioned my own office stationery by pasting words cut out of lingerie catalogues and copies of The Racing Form onto the backs of fliers for tarot card readings), I was mulling over three high-level job offers, two in international political think tanks and one as the President of Argentina. I had also made several sweeping and impromptu statements to the press that resulted in both a lucrative three-book deal and the total collapse of all Pacific Rim economies. But just as I was about to score millions of dollars (not to mention a sweet 42-room presidential estate in Buenos Aires) one of my old coworkers from Jamba Juice just happened to come across my face on the cover of The Economist and Time as well as my interviews on CNN, CNBC and VH1’s "I Love the 80’s Strikes Back.” Talk about bad luck! Still incensed over some Savage Garden CDS of his he thinks I scratched, the coworker revealed my true identity. Within 20 minutes not only were all job offers rescinded but I was sued, arrested and publicly disgraced across all media outlets. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.
February 13: Turns out Barbie saw my fall from grace on one of her own brand of HDTVs (which she quoted me an excellent price on) and felt sorry for me. She even called to say how much she’s missed me since her last boyfriend went away on holiday this morning. She invited me to join her this afternoon so I can help her choose the right Restoration Hardware for all her retro screwdriver needs. I could be wrong but I think I definitely picked up a different vibe from her on the phone, as if she’s changed, she’s noticed how much I’ve changed and that our relationship will not only start fresh but start on the right path toward complete and utter happiness. I do believe this is the most personally fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!