When women get too big for Barbie, they look at you

Burt's Eye View

Terry shook a bundle of clothes loose from the whopping plastic bag. “You wouldn’t believe the bargains I found at the rummage sale today.”

I groaned. “How many times have I explained this? Buying a $20 shirt at 25 percent off doesn’t save you $5. It makes you spend $15 that could still be in your pocket. Bargains are expensive!”

She rooted through the spilled bundle of clothing. “Not this time, Mr. Grumpy Pants. It was closing time so they gave all this to me for free. Now go get the other four bags out of the car.”

“You brought home five bags of rummagery?” I groaned again. “Are you nuts?”

“I’m smart,” she said. “And thrifty.”

I lugged the other bundles inside. I flopped into my easy chair and held the newspaper up in front of me like a wall. I’d been down the rummage road before. I knew what came next.


A shirt-ball crashed through newsprint and landed on my lap. “Try it on,” Terry gushed. “It’s a Vitto Melancholy Vegetable.” (Or something like that — I didn’t quite catch the name.)

“Is there a vaccine for that?” I said.

“It’s not a disease. It’s a big name fashion designer. You’ll look great in it.”

Before I could work up a proper groan, a second cloth missile crashed into me. WHUMP! “Try that one on, too. Its label is Billy Bass Kleinmaker Gootchie-Goo.”

By the way Terry’s eyes glittered, I figured I was supposed to giggle in delight. I’m not good at giggling over clothes.

“That sounded like another groan,” Terry said. “Hurry, try them on. I have lots more over here. Lots more. Isn’t it exciting?”

Why is it that when women get too big for Barbie dolls, they insist on playing dress-up with us instead?

Our mom used to do the same thing to us boys. One aunt or another would clean out an older cousin’s closet and dump a bag or two of the remnants on us. Mom was thrilled. “Oh, I just KNOW that the boys can’t WAIT to try these on, can you boys? Boys? Hey! You boys get back here right now!”

Few things afflict as much torment on a kid as a mom pawing through a bag full of clothes and singing out, “Isn’t this precious! Try it on!” Can’t we just go to the dentist instead?

My only consolation was that when I got too big for my cousin’s britches, a younger relative would be tortured instead. The succession of siblings and cousins continued until the clothes finally groaned and gave out.

At least Terry hadn’t called any of this Ken doll rummagery “precious.”

While I tried to calculate an escape plan, Terry squealed. “It’s a Cottonmouth Pierre Python. Try on this one.” She dangled a Hawaiian shirt festooned with fancy flowers.

It turns out that I can giggle. And guffaw. “You little trickster, you really had me going. Now I get it — you’ve been pranking me.”

A sudden frost chilled the room, which was weird considering the fire burning in Terry’s eyes. “I try to do something sweet for you, and all you can do is laugh? I was just trying to take care of you. I thought you’d want to look nice.”

If you spot a walking flower bed that’s groaning, don’t be alarmed. It’s me. But don’t you dare giggle. Otherwise, I’m handing this rummagery down to you next.

— Send secondhand horror stories to Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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