Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Riddle Me This

Let's just start off by agreeing that I am, and always have been, an excellent big sister.  I have a good memory, so no point in challenging me on this.  (Anything you hear to the contrary is Lies All Lies.)

Many years ago, back when our house in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan was green, Marathon Bars were plentiful at the local pool in the summer, and bicentennial quarters were new and shiny, my brother owned a Riddler doll.  It looked a lot like this:

(They don't make villains like that anymore.  Probably for good reason.)

Anywho, to make a long story (the way my brother tells it, anyway) short, I pitched the Riddler out the second story bathroom window.

I know!  But listen, it honestly had nothing to do with any animosity toward my brother, or even toward that most puzzlingly dressed of all of Batman's nemeses, it was more about physics.  Sometimes you just want to see something fall.  And I wasn't going to drop something I liked.  That would be stupid.  And I defy anyone to say it wouldn't cross their minds if they were standing by an open second story bathroom window with a Riddler doll that they wouldn't want to see it plummet to the ground.  It just kind of had to happen.  The damaged doll subsequently fell into the hands of a neighbor who denuded it and buried it in the yard.  (This part is not my fault, and yet gets lumped into the retelling of events as if I hurled the Riddler out of the window directly into the arms of the neighbor with the peculiar toy handling proclivities.)

My brother has never quite forgiven, and certainly not forgotten, this incident from our childhood.  He recounted it in astonishing detail the night of his wedding fourteen years ago after dinner during a spirited round of "The Ungame."  (My family knows how to have a good time.)

In any case, apparently someone found a replacement Riddler doll for my brother, and over the holidays I noticed it being used to prop open our second floor bathroom window.  Seriously, what did they think would happen?

Now, I did not chuck him out the window.  I am a mature adult responsible grown-up type person.  But I wanted my brother to think I chucked him out the window.  (Because I am not a completely mature adult responsible grown-up type person.)  I hid the doll under my pillow and drew a chalk outline on the walkway directly below the bathroom window then went to join the rest of the family for breakfast.

One brother walked by and said to me rather cheekily, "Have you seen the Riddler?"  To which I replied, "Have YOU seen the Riddler?"  He looked suddenly both surprised and concerned and alerted our other brother that something wasn't right, and they headed upstairs where a moment later we heard a sort of whoop.  Then many people headed outside where they saw this:

It was determined after a few moments that I was guilty.  (Only my sweet, loyal Aden refused to believe I could be capable of such a thing, but I hugged her and assured her that oh yes, I definitely was.)  My Aunt, the judge, agreed with my insistence that past deeds could not be brought into evidence against me.  I suggested that my sister-in-law's mother visiting from India may have framed me, and she did not dissuade anyone from that idea.  (She also may not have known quite what was going on, but she cooks well enough no one would have turned on her regardless.)

After breakfast I decided the best way to return the Riddler was scavenger hunt style.  When I was in high school a friend and I used to orchestrate elaborate road rallies where carloads of people would have to solve clues to get from one location to another all over town.  (I miss that and would love to do it again.)  This was my own on the fly mini-version where I came up with ten clues that sent my brothers out to the snowy trampoline and down to the basement and even required they hunt for one clue directly on the dog.  The whole thing eventually led them back upstairs to the bathroom where I could claim the Riddler had stayed all along.

Anyone can host Christmas with presents and lights and cookies.  But a truly thoughtful sister will help you relive your most memorable childhood moments as if the nightmare the magic was happening anew.

Happy 2014 everyone! 


  1. I personally believe that DC allowed a reissuing of a handful of Batman-related action figures for the sole purpose of facilitating therapeutic processing of childhood calamities such as this one. We can only wonder if @rno Klein has benefited from this recent memory-warping ordeal and that 2014 will see a coming-to-terms with Riddler's ancient fate.

    1. We can only hope the next things to be reissued are Welcome Back Kotter Color Form sets and Dukes of Hazard Shrinky Dinks.

  2. Oh Kory, as if the post weren't enough to have me howling, the lovely discussion between you and Barrett was a perfect finishing touch! Thank you SO much--you are a masterful storyteller. :o)

    P.S. Could you *really* shrink Daisy Duke's shorts any shorter? Who needs the Shrinky Dinks? Just sayin'. ;o)

    1. The Dukes of Hazard Shrinky Dinks were actually a gift for the neighbor boy who stripped down and buried all the hand-me-down dolls. They are mostly remembered in my family for not only the sheer absurdity of their existence, but that my dad always referred to them as "The Hazards of Duke Street" which always makes me laugh.

      Arno took his Welcome Back Kotter Color Form set to first grade after our mom advised against it, and then a bully took it! Weirdly enough he then received a new set anonymously in the mail many years later and he thought I'd done it, but it wasn't me. Wouldn't an Arnold Horshack color form brighten anyone's day? Time for a revival.

  3. Family/sibling hijinks are the best :) And I love the picture of everyone looking at the Riddler's chalk outline, including the dog!!

  4. I had Smurf shrinky dinks. Haven't thought of those in probably 2 decades, or since my youngest siblings were toddlers.

    Your creativity is great. I bet scavenger hunts like that could be fun with my toddler. Maybe two or 3 steps. I gotta try that on the next cold snap. :)