My bike helmet is at least ten years old. I recently found out that the plastic degrades, and that helmets need to be replaced every five years or so, just like car seats. I celebrated a bit. Ever since getting Rhubarby I wanted something cuter, hopefully with some red to match my bike bags. I finally had justification.
After trying on dozens of helmets in multiple bike shops, I purchased a shiny white helmet with a red brim and zoomed around in it for a few days until facing the truth. It was too tight, and on long rides it gave me a headache.
I received a hot tip that Goodwill had new helmets for $15 and took the boys with me to check them out. The only one that fit was red. Sold! It’s a huge melon protector, but it works. For $15 I would trade a little style.
We headed to the cashier until Charlie read a huge “TOYS” sign. I told the boys they could look but I wasn’t buying anything. They dove into the broken car tracks, plastic guitars, and stuffed animal snakes like monkeys in a pile of bananas. The misfit toys collection of 2015 received some serious love.
I spotted Connect Four and, sucker for games of my childhood, reneged my promise. “Boys, I’m getting you this!” Excited about the new game, they left the aisle of crack with ease. Our most direct exit was blocked, forcing us to walk through the adjacent hair care section.
This may have been the best detour of our lives. When The Bearded Head caught my eye, I snorted out loud. It was laughter at first sight. A perfect blend of horrific and hilarious. “You know what boys? We could prank Papa with him!” The boys and I giggled like mad in that aisle, dreaming up everything we could do. We had to bring him home with us.
Please welcome the latest addition to our family! His name is in progress, and I’m fairly certain it will change frequently, because this guy deserves NAMES. According to Miles, he is GI Joe. Charlie calls him Big Beard. Harry and I are going with Allen. Sometimes Barney. Tortuga when we’re needing Walter White, Rico Suave when I’m trying to gross Harry out. Either way, let me introduce you:
The boys carried him proudly through Goodwill, generating a Candid Camera reel. “We could put him in our bike bags and bike around town with a head sticking out!” Doubled over, we chuckled our way to the line.
A woman ahead of us watched us cautiously, never breaking a smile. She must not like severed heads. Or children. Or moms. Maybe we are so goofy that we’re scary. Easing my growing embarrassment, a man ahead of us smiled and laughed. “You guys have plans, don’t you?” Well, the boys took the bait and ran, spilling out everything we intended to do with The Head. Our cashier informed us she was pleased he was leaving because “he” had bothered her since he arrived the past week. “He’s just so weird!” Yes, he is. Yes, he is.
He’s perfect for us.
Miles held him in his lap for the car ride home, frequently talking for him using a low, gruffly voice, and making him look out the car window.
We arrived home and concocted our plan. We’d tuck him into bed, with a pillow for a body, and tell Harry the boys made something for him that is in the bedroom.
Harry arrived later than any of us could barely handle, and the boys flew out of their dinner table seats to scream, “We made you something! Go to the bedroom!” Of course, Harry had no reason to be suspicious. The boys always leave food behind and act freakishly excited about creations in our bedroom.
So, he entered dramatically. Then, he hesitated a bit, laughed hysterically, and promptly removed Allen from our bed to put him on the mantle.
I think Harry was jealous. Allen probably shouldn’t be in bed with me. Don’t show Harry these pictures, because we started warming up to each other. (ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTION, PEOPLE!)
Oh my. What a ride.
We have a lot of adventures A-HEAD of us with Allen. He needs to go on a bike ride. Harry suggested putting him on the back with red lights blinking through his eyes, or on the front with flashing white lights. Crazy freaky. If our kids weren’t being dropped off at preschool and elementary school, this would be hilarious and worth it. In fact, now I can’t wait for middle school pick-ups.
In the meantime, Allen might answer the door on occasion.
He’ll watch as we play Connect Four.
And show off his handsome beard and oh so sexy, devoid-of-all-color lips.
If I get invited to someone’s house, he may come along. If someone wants to show me their new puppy or baby, I may ask if I can show them Allen. We’ll keep you guessing.
(Oh my goodness, I hope he doesn’t have lice. Can mannequin heads have diseases?)