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Mirror, Mirror

Monday, 11 April 2011

I don’t like Jack-in-the-Box toys.

In fact, every element about the darn thing makes me a bit unhinged. I don’t like clowns. The song gives me the creeps. And I don’t much care for being startled out of my wits.

But the number one reason that I don’t like that toy is because it reminds me of Romper Room.

Yes, Romper Room. The precursor of Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The same Romper Room with that bee. “Mr. Do-Bee.” Meant to teach proper behavior through the unlikely, and misspelled, use of the tzivui. As in “Do Bee good boys and girls.”

But what thoroughly and completely freaked me out was the magic mirror that Miss Mary Ann would peer through at the end of each show.

Romper, bomper, stomper, boo.
Tell me, tell me, tell me do.
Magic mirror, tell me today.
Did all my friends have fun at play?

And then, Miss Mary Ann would start naming the kids that she saw through the Magic Mirror. The kids who were watching at home.

I can see Brent and Jenny and Susie and Robby and Sally and Chad and Karen

Good-night! That was all I needed to hear. “You mean she can see us through that damn mirror and straight into the television?”

Nope. Not for me.

Jump ahead a few decades. Sitting at a recent funeral, it all makes sense.

And now that you have departed this wretched place, we rejoice in your homegoing. Where you will see your beloved mother and father. Your brother, Timmy. And Neighbor Sue. You’ll see Principal Brown, Ole’ Man Richards, and your best buddy, Lou.

{Yes, that was my stifled giggle of discomfort you heard.}

That is some Magic Mirror, Miss Mary Ann.

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