The Case of the Multiplying Barbies

Once upon a time there was a child in my son’s second grade class who had a birthday party. Not just any birthday party: it was a birthday party held in a bowling alley, where all the children could bowl (in lanes with inflatable bumpers to cut down on the gutter balls). There was also a sheet cake with a Barbie on it, because this little girl absolutely love Barbies.

In fact, she loved them so much that she asked my son if he could please get her a Barbie for her birthday. That was a simple enough gift, and readily available, so I went to the toy store and got her nice Barbie in a box. I wrapped it and put a bow on it, but was pretty obvious what was inside and I hope that the little girl would see the shape of the box and know exactly what she was getting.

The day of the party arrived. My son put on his Sunday best and we drove to the bowling alley. As is my habit, I got there a little early, and asked if there was anything I could do to help the party. The birthday girl’s mother smiled and said no, and when I asked her where to put the box with the obvious Barbie wrapped in it, she smiled and pointed to a table where the gifts were supposed to be placed.

One by one, the little girls classmates came in, bearing gifts. One by one, the same shape of box was seen under the wrapping paper and bows. Little by little, the birthday girl’s mother became more embarrassed and the birthday girl herself became more and more excited.

And when it was time to open the gifts, one by one the little girl opened up 31 presents containing Barbies.

Despite her mother’s embarrassment I decided the girl was going far. I love a woman who can tell everyone what she really wants.

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