Monday, November 12, 2007

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking

This week marks the birthday of the author who created that terribly cute character Pippi Longstocking. Pippi claimed that her full name was Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking. Her creator had an equally ambitious name, Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren.

I have to admit that I didn't come to know and love Pippi through Ms. Lindgren's books. I recall a Saturday morning television adaptation that ran during my childhood (in the 1980s) with fantastically bad dubbing into English over the original Swedish. I believe an animated Pippi was recently released that I have yet to see, nor plan to see. I appreciate animation but Pippi needs a flesh-and-blood actress and an assorted menagerie of animals to round out the cast. I believe the animals talk, right? I know she lived alone in a rambling Victorian house with a monkey and her horse. I remember them having conversations. Animated talking animals is just plain cheating. And I know she was a very, very strong girl--able to lift cars and the like.

If I had to bet money on whether or not the animals were loquacious, I wouldn't bet a dime on my memory. Especially these days. I have to admit that I have always possessed a degree of whimsical absentmindedness. (Back in the day, it was known as air-headedness.) I lose my keys. I leave for the airport without knowing which airline I am flying. Friends call me to remind me to attend social functions in my honor. Mostly it is harmless. Mostly it is annoying for me and not for others. (I hope.)

This past Monday I had prepared a Trader Joe's brown paper bag filled with items that needed to be hauled via metro to the post office. I had big plans to mail several packages. The key package contained a reverse-birthday gift. You would think that life long friends could remember each other's birthdays. Well, like attracts like because my friend and I resorted to reverse birthdays several years ago. On his birthday (sometime in earlyish July) he sends me a gift. On my birthday (mid-Novemberish), I send him a gift. This way we ALWAYS remember to celebrate each other! I was enormously proud of myself because I had his gift ready to go and ready to mailed in time to arrive for my birthday.

I lugged the bag of stuff--including several books--to the metro. Walked to the post office. And the door was locked. I rattled the handle. I sighed. Yes, it was Veteran's Day. Deeper sigh. I turned around and did the reverse trip home. I entered my foyer and set down my bag of goodies to dig for my mail key. I opened my mail box and then, duh, it was still Veteran's Day. I cursed our third floor walk up. I cursed my wasted trip.

The package was eventually mailed after my birthday--more than a week later. Luckily reverse birthdays are month-based instead of actual date-of-birth centric. Ms. Pippi Longstocking would admire our creative reverse birthday pluck. She would not, however, condone my lack of outing guile.

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