Everyone’s heard that their past has shaped them into who they are today. The trials and tribulations of life make you a better person. The following story is of a tribulation that has done nothing for me except arm me with another embarrassing memory.
There is no other way to spill it. When I was younger I uncannily resembled a wooden, freckled-faced, marionette from the 1950′s named Howdy Doody. Like it’s not hard enough growing up as a red haired little milk toast; I had to look like this freaky western doll.
The only time I did have fun with the fact that I had red hair growing up was when people would ask, “Where did you get that RED hair!?” My dad taught me the clever and disturbing response, “The bug man!” Since my parents didn’t have red hair, we didn’t have a milkman, and the mailman was a lady, the only plausible explanation for my copper top was that my Mom fooled around with the bug exterminator.
Anyway, luckily, my friends and classmates weren’t aware of my likeness to Howdy Doody. It quietly remained an inside joke of the family. And then it happened. I was 6 years old. The year was 1989. We were past Back To The Future, E.T, and Star Wars and everyone was looking to the future. Everyone except for The Orange Blossum Mall in Ft. Pierce, Florida. WHO IN THE HELL HAS A HOWDY DOODY LOOK ALIKE CONTEST IN 1989!?
SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER TO LOSE
Strongly against my will, my mother registered me for the contest. From her point of view, how could she not? I looked just like him and there was a prize of $100 at stake. I was the western red haired Pinocchio that got his wish to be a real boy, became self-aware, and then got really pissed with the hand he’d been dealt. I was dragged to the mall to be put on a stage in front of an audience just for the way I looked. It doesn’t feel good being the star in a freak show. It was not a pretty picture. I was scared that my friends would see me dressed up in cowboy clothes while my mom was teaching me to move like a doll. This is the first contest that I ever wanted to come in last place.
You know what sucked about this whole deal? I won. I came in first place, but not because I beat out the competition. After waiting and waiting for the judging to take place, someone quietly notified us that I was the only contestant! They handed me a $25 mall gift certificate and appologized. This was a raw deal! I was the only kid that was was tortured into this and I didn’t even get the full prize for winning. There weren’t even any stores in the mall that I wanted anything from. That day was shameful and dissappointing…Sigh