Hello, Dolly

Preparing for a yard sale can be murder. Just ask my friend here.

People always ask why I'm afraid of dolls. They think I'm exaggerating for humorous effect, overemphasizing a peccadillo, overstating the facts when I say I WILL NOT SLEEP in the same room with a doll. I do not care if said doll is antique, foreign, valuable, smiling, cute, wets herself, or belonged to an ancestor of mine. No bedroom is big enough for the two of us. The doll waits outside until my eyes are open again, and I can watch her like a hawk.

What I don't understand is why people don't understand why I'm afraid of dolls. Take a look at this little Chuckie-in-waiting, found crumpled in the corner of my childhood closet:

The question is, why aren't you afraid?

My fear can be traced to a specific day in history: the day my cousin told me that dolls come alive at night and kill little girls. She told me this because she knew that I, at the advanced age of 5, was to sleep in her room that night with all of her dolls on the shelf. Chalk it up to revenge, sharpened to a point by the innate cruelty that little girls elevate to a martial art.

The thing is -- I already knew that dolls come alive at night, that they hated me and wanted to kill me. I had figured that out all by myself, simply by gazing into their soulless plastic orbs. It wasn't difficult to see that the dolls were angry at the mobile, agile humans who picked them up and tossed them willy-nilly around the room. The doll tribe would take any opportunity for sweet vengeance that presented itself. The trick was, they couldn't strike until the humans were somehow incapacitated.

Sleep! Ah yes, that will do nicely. And will we prey on the big ones, who could tear us asunder, say the dolls? Oh, no. We go right for the throats of the little lambs, defenseless in their dreams.

This made perfect sense to me at 5, and it makes even more sense to me now that I am one of the big people. It's my job to protect the next generation.

That's why, as I helped the family rummage through closets and under beds for items to contribute to the yard sale, my eyes were peeled for plastic or porcelain horrors. I knew they were in there waiting for me.

Luckily, someone got to her before she could get to me or mine.

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