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Coming To America Wrapped in Plastic and Cardboard

July 7th, 2010 by Brad Lawrence

My wife, Cyndi (who all of you got very acquainted with yesterday) and I live at the corner of three neighborhoods. To the Northwest is the Mexican neighborhood, Southeast is Chinese, and Southwest is Turkish. The restaurants have Cumbia Karaoke, the grocery stores have water chestnuts in a can and wasabi paste in a tube, and the coffee shops have hookahs and they’re for men only.

And by men, they don’t mean me.

So, it’s always an education. But some things are not spelled out and it is up to you to figure out what it all means. And so, I give you Defa Lucy and her packaging. There are an infinite number of ways Lucy’s cryptic copy can be interpreted. The simplistic view is “Oh, those crazy foreigners who can’t speak English.” But I tend to think there is more going on here. You have to think of the demographic.

These dolls are being sold to the children of people who have left their homes to come to a place that is (no matter how many planes land at JFK in a day) far away from everything, because they have some idea of what the place offers them in the way of a future. There is something in this broken English that speaks to me of what these folks want and what they expect and what they think is expected of them in their new home.

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So you have the straight up material issues, sure. But don’t we all want to be fashionable and pretty. God knows I do. I also enjoy having my hands and legs bend. Lucy can also move freely which does indicate a misconception about the size of apartments in New York.

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There are also misunderstandings about the over all chemical effects of caffeine. It must be heart breaking to find out that you get jittery and irritable in America just the same as the rest of the world. I think they are thinking of ecstasy. And, again, there is that coffee shop, vagina conflict.

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This is just some screwy English. But in its clumsiness it does bring up that little girls dream of the same thing everywhere: a romantic wedding day, that they will remember forever, to a man with a full head of hair and who owns a set of attractive clothing.

That means that if you are out there right now, wearing a T-shirt with Darth Maul on it and a pair of Birkenstocks, without a decent suit in your closet, there is not a single nationality of woman who is not disappointed by you.

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Lucy either has an Ed Hardy nine millimeter in that drawer or a pair of heels that qualify as a weapon.

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You know, most people in our neighborhood come from places where, at best, dogs are nuisance scavengers if not sometimes a necessary part of the food chain. The idea that you could come to America and take in a random mammal to suck off your income like a giant furry tick, well we really are stupid rich up in this joint.

But, I am glad that they grant us the benefit of the doubt and think that the doggie spas in Midtown are because of an excess of mercy and not because we have more cash than brains. That’s generous.

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Well, in the end, I think that for most families that make the journey to America, it comes down to more than this. But identity, and the opportunity to express it, these are vital things and not to be discounted. In some of these countries, such things can have you imprisoned or shunned by your community. In this way Defa Lucy is a bright shining light of freedom, a better life, an infinite number of possibilities, and lots of pastel.

Lots and lots of pastel. Yes, Defa Lucy is a Lady Liberty for a new era. And I salute her.

Asary, however, is just a tramp.

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By the way, please feel free to check out my blog – www.billyjoesboy.com.

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