Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Favorite Mermaids

Recently, I had occasion to re-watch "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" (and when I say "I had occasion," I mean "I turned on the TV, which was tuned to HBO, and there it was"), and I paid particularly close attention to the merpeople part, because that is also the part that features Viktor Krum from Durmstrang half-transfigured into a shark.  This part is VERY IMPORTANT to the history of our family, because:
(1) Once upon a time (like, six months ago) my shark-obsessed younger child insisted on dressing as the Ian Ziering character from "Sharknado" for Halloween, at which point my older child offered to dress as THE ACTUAL SHARKNADO, at which point I was called upon to MacGyver a sandwich board-style sharknado costume, like so:
(2) Little Kid got very frustrated that he could not finesse the Ian Ziering thing for his school's storybook parade, because - unfortunately for Little Kid, but fortunately for fans of literature - no one had thought to pen a novelization of "Sharknado."  And then he had a brainstorm:  Big Kid's shark hat could be the basis of a Viktor Krum-as-half-transfigured-shark costume.  And so it was that, in the same week that I crafted a snarknado, I found myself making a Bulgarian Quidditch Team jersey.  Throw in a repurposed Jedi robe and a broom from the porch, and BOOM, instant Viktor:
(I used good old-fashioned iron-on numbers and letters for the jersey, which the boys found endlessly fascinating.  "Soooooo, back in the day, when you wanted a cool shirt, or a personalized one, you just BOUGHT these weird fuzzy letters, and your mom ironed them onto a t-shirt?"  Yes, and sometimes you PAID someone to do the ironing for you at the store.
And, yes, I did create a sort of Viktor Krum trading card featuring an image of my child and post it to Facebook.  I think I was seriously bored that day.)
During the merpeople part of the movie, I remembered just how creepy, off-putting and distinctively non-Ariel-ish I found them, and that got me thinking about my favorite mermaids.  In reverse order, my top three:
#3:  Celine Dion in the "My Heart Will Go On" video, AKA "some sort of a French Canadian Space Mermaid."
John Oliver's words, not mine.  If you don't get the reference, then you need to track down the episode of "Last Week Tonight" where he rebuts the eyewitness accounts that the band played "Nearer My God to Thee" as the Titanic went down (he's confident that they heard "The Titanic Song," as sung by the French Canadian space mermaid pictured above).  (He then proceeds to offer a replacement for CNN's "doomsday video" - a tape apparently on file at CNN HQ and marked for release just prior to the apocalypse, which assumes that we will have sufficient warning for some production intern to queue it up.  Said replacement video features Martin Sheen, a human-history blooper reel featuring YouTube fails alongside marching Nazis and an atomic bomb blast, a saloon filled with cats dressed up as Wild West characters and the graphic "WELL PLAYED, LIONS," referring to actual lions, as opposed to football players from Detroit.  In short, it's genius, and you should watch it.)
#2:  Fat Amy from "Pitch Perfect," when she's mermaid dancing.

#1:  Sea Wees.  Fortysomething female friends, please tell me that you remember these toys, initially released in 1979.  BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL KINDS OF AWESOME. 

Clockwise from the top:  Sandy (blonde), Coral (redhead) and Shelly (brunette).  (What was it about the Sixties and Seventies that you always had to have the hair color trifecta?  Like the sisters on "Petticoat Junction"?)  Initially, they just sold you a mermaid, a sponge and a comb:
Then some marketing genius pointed out (entirely correctly) that the only thing girls like more than a doll with comb-able hair is a doll with comb-able hair PACKAGED WITH A BABY:

And then, at some point, they started to release progressively glittery versions - very space mermaid-ish, actually.  They were Celine before Celine was Celine.

And that's all I have to say about mermaids.  Which is surprisingly more than I ever thought I would say in written format.

Carry on, and enjoy your day.

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