This one time I was eight years old. Surprisingly, I was eight years old every day for an entire year of my life, which is not a rarity, but it is definitely an accomplishment. But I was eight, and consequently in third grade. Within the first week we began studying the fierce and noble pioneers, and along with them, Kirsten Larson.
Kirsten, in case you are unaware, is a fucking doll. She had her own story, and books to prove it. According to the books, Kirsten was "A pioneer girl of strength and spirit," and as I read those words on the front page, I felt connected to her, and thought, "I am also a girl of strength and spirit."
Those were like, the coolest books ever. I identified with them on every level. Kirsten liked ponies. I liked ponies. Kirsten went to school. I went to school. Kirsten's favorite color was blue. My favorite color was blue. Kirsten lived in a log cabin. I made a log cabin once out of Lincoln Logs in my grandparents' basement. It was like we were the same person. Basically, I wanted Kirsten, and didn't hesitate to tell my parents at dinner.
"Ma, Dad," I'm decisive at eight, so I straightened up and looked them straight in the eyes, "I wanna Kirsten."
Mom laughed. "I...don't know what that is."
"Yeah, what are you talking 'bout, honey?"
"She's like, the most super cool doll in the whole world," I imagined reading books to her. The books of her own story. We were strong and spirited together.
My dad, for the first and only time in his life, forgot he was in the process of chewing his dinner. This revelation was far more important than food. "Whuuuuh? Ooo wanna dah?" He spat the words out, like, with his food. Mashed potatoes or something.
My mom rolled her eyes at him, then targeted me with disbelief: "You want a doll?"
"Yeah. Kirsten. Mrs. Hegg says that she's an American Girl, and you can get a magazine, and she's got different dresses, and books."
Dad, by now, had finished chewing. "What are you going to do with a doll?"
"Dolls are dumb," Katsisch chirped from the bench, and threw a half-eaten chicken nugget at me. Immediately after, Yellavitch started laughing from her high chair, because it was time to throw food again, and that was her favorite part of dinner.
"Kirsten is not dumb," I chucked the nugget back. Nugget chuck, stupidhead. "And she has books, and one of them's got a pony innit."
"Ohhhh." All four of them understand pony.
"PONY," Yellavitch shrieked, and tossed a bunch of somethings from her plate. For Yellavitch, corn was like confetti.
"Well, do you really want the doll? Or do you want the books?"
I pondered that one. "Both."
"But, honey, you've never asked for a doll before."
"But now I found one that I LIKE."
"Honey, it's not that we don't want you to play with dolls," my mom looked sad, because she really and truly did want all of us to have tea parties and play dress up and wear matching pink clothes. She had three brothers. "It's just that, well, you never liked them."
"But Kirsten is different."
"I just can't help thinking that you would never play with her." Moms and their logic. Sucks.
"No, I would, I promise, I'll take real good care of her."
I flashed to my single Barbie, who was recently thrown in a jail of Legos after being tried by a jury of My Little Ponies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a Pound Puppy I named Frishus, R2D2, C3PO, Tenderheart and the Cloud Keeper, Slimer, and three small stuffed kittens that my mom named Merry, Pippin, and Frodo, because my mom is retarded for Tolkien. They convicted her of having unbendy legs that were therefore unsuitable for riding, so she had no business being around any of my plastic horses, (all of which also had unbendy legs). No business at all. But Barbie is not nearly as cool as Kirsten. "I can braid her hair, and change her clothes, and read her books."
My parents started laughing at me. "You don't braid hair," Katsisch squinted and snarled because she's a know-it-all. She really could be a little bitch sometimes. Once, she threw a toaster at my head. Different story.
I did the only logical thing you can do to Katsisch when she's being a little bitch. I slapped her.
"No hitting," she growled, and attacked me with sticky fists. I just shoved her off. I was eight, she was five, of course I was going to win.
"Girls, no hitting, or you're going straight to bed." This was a hollow threat, and we knew it. My parents didn't have the energy to care.
Then we go through the whole "she started it" routine. You know: She started it no you started it no you started no I didn't you did well you're stupid no you're stupid well at least I don't look like a monkey butt well at least I don't have FOUR EYES don't make fun of my glasses mom she's doing it again man this is so unfair haha you want a dumb doll don't call Kirsten dumb because she is a girl of STRENGTH AND SPIRIT.
I continued to badger, and they kept on laughing. "If you really want a Kirsten doll," Dad reasons, "Why don't you start saving up for one?"
"That's a good idea. And then, if you save up half the money, your dad and I will pay for the second half."
That was the best fucking news I'd heard in my life.
So I did. Do you know how fucking hard it is for an eight year old to save up forty dollars? It took me two years, and by that I time I was you know, ten years old, and I didn't give a flying fuck about Kirsten anymore. But I'd had a goal, dammit, and I took that forty dollars and gave it to my mom, who paired it with her half and sent it to American Girls.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
I sighed. "Yeah. I'm sure."
So I got a doll. And I never cared again.
But, it's turning out to be forty bucks well spent. Because so many other people had their own American Girl dolls (fucking everyone), and a couple months ago me, Muffy, and Schmee got hammered and decided our Halloween costumes. Tonight we will be Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha, our personal dolls, respectively. A pioneer girl of strength and spirit, a lively, lovable schemer and dreamer, and a bright, Victorian beauty of pride and courage.
To quote Muffy, "Dude, Molly is the shit, yo. She's O.G."
"Schemin' and dreamin' your way up the charts," I said. "America represent."
Tonight? We will be the Original Gangstas of the American Girl Empire.
I'm straight up Pioneer, bitches. Yeah, you know you want my bonnet. And this wooden spoon? Oh yeah, I'm a Quaker Dominatrix on weekends. "What does thee wish, bitch? Lick mine foot, and then lick thine."
We are going to dress up, get hammered, snag our old dolls and our old books, go to the American Girl store downtown on Michigan Avenue. People will probably get mad at us. Sure hope so.