I had a collection of dolls as a child: a baby doll, a couple of knock-off American Girl dolls that were sold at Target, some Polly Pockets (do those count as dolls?), and a number of Barbies. To go with these Barbies, I had some clothes, some shoes, a house, a Ken doll, and, most importantly, a hot pink Barbie-sized convertible.
One time when my cousin came over to play, we decided that Barbie needed to go on a trip with all of her fellow Barbie friends. We placed a Barbie in the driver’s seat of the convertible and proceeded to pack the other dolls in with her. We pressed and we shoved and we crammed and we scooted. The car was really only meant for two dolls at a time, but that was unimportant. We were going to Jenga our way into fitting more Barbies in than it looked like it could hold. It would be my Barbie-branded clown car convertible.
About five Barbies in, it had become nearly impossible to squeeze in any more, but maybe, just maybe, a sixth would fit.
That’s when there was a pop! and a Barbie head shot up into the air. Apparently the pressure in the car had become too great and that poor Barbie just couldn’t take it anymore.
I picked up the decapitated head by its blonde ponytail and went to replace it on the body, but the plastic neck was cracked, which was either a cause or an effect of the head flying off. I could slide the head back on, but it was too loose, and would often fall off. The neck itself was deemed too fragile to fix.
My mom made me throw away the body because she didn’t want the sharp edge of the cracked neck to be inside the box of Barbie storage. However, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the rubbery, decapitated head.
From then on there was just a loose Barbie head floating around in the Barbie box, staring at whoever dared to open it, a reminder of hubris and thrill.