Almost every child can recall that humiliating moment of being publicly reprimanded for having a massive meltdown– or ‘schmuckle’, as my sister’s Godmother likes to call it. At the very least, almost every parent can recall a handful of major tantrums their child has thrown. (Right? Hard to say as a non-parent, but I feel like I scarred my parents pretty badly with some of the whiny shit that I pulled as a youngster.) I distinctly remember that the moment my tantrum was made a public issue, I totally backed off. Sulking back to the car, the bedroom, whatever, I did not like to be called out. (Still don’t.)
My big meltdown took place at an A&P in Armonk, New York at the turn of the century– 1999. I had travelled there for some casual grocery shopping with my dad and my younger sister, Haley. It was a regular evening in a quiet town. All was well, and nothing was out of the ordinary. Haley and I were being silly, goofing around in the shopping cart and running through the aisles, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a “Barbie as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz” doll caught my eye.
She was BEAUTIFUL! With her pretty pink dress, silver-starred choker and giant crown, I felt like there was nothing more important in this world, nay, in this universe!, than attaining my “Barbie as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz” doll. Not only that, when you moved her arm, she spoke: “Tap your heels together three times!” With a flipped ‘r’! An exact verbal replica of Billie Burke’s original phrase!
Unfortunately, when I haughtily demanded it, my dad said no. “You don’t need it. You have enough Barbies.” He said, quite rationally. (Mind you, I did have enough Barbies. In fact, the Carmichaels possess so many Barbies that we have two, giant containers from the Container Store to keep them safe for posterity…#hoarders)
Well, I was not okay with this. “Barbie as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz” was not just any Barbie! She was “Barbie as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz”! I plopped myself down on the floor, dragged my poor sister into the fray, and opted for peaceful resistance. I would sit on the ground of Aisle 4 of the A&P until my wish was granted. I cradled “Barbie as Glinda in the Wizard of Oz” in my arms, and waited for my dad to give in. After all, how could he leave without me and Haley?
Suddenly, over the loud speaker, I heard my father’s voice, a la the Wizard of Oz, but less magical, and far more fear-inspiring. “Avery and Haley. Come to the front. Now!” We panicked and ran to the front, and I swear to goodness, I have never sassed my dad like that again.
**Clearly, my fascination with “The Wizard of Oz” never waned…Fast Food Trick-or-Treats