Who says the folks in Barberton don’t have a sense of humor?
Here’s a tiny sampling from my mailbag in the wake of a column I wrote suggesting that Mattel should relocate the Barbie doll from Malibu to Barberton.
You are pathetic, Bob.
Really — this is what you get paid for — to insult an entire town? No wonder the ABJ continues to see its circulation decline. Between you, Stephanie Warsmith and Trexler — the paper has become a joke dedicated to printing the talking points of the mayor and now, insulting people at will.
And for the record — if you want to insult someone — take a look in the mirror — you look like a marmit. Seriously, did your head get caught in the birth canal years ago?
I wasn’t sure what a “marmit” was, so I figured I’d better do some research. Still puzzled, I wrote him back:
“I just Googled ‘marmit,’ and discovered it’s a toy company in Japan that makes a variety of funky-looking animals. Is there a particular type of Marmit you had in mind? Or did you mean ‘marmet’?
“I’d really like to pin this down.”
I’m actually hoping he meant “marmot,” because those fuzzy little creatures look pretty darned cuddly.
Perhaps I’ll never know; he didn’t write back.
Unfortunately, plenty of other Barbertonians took offense to the tongue-in-cheek column. Just trying to have some fun, folks. Had Mattel named the doll Tammy, I would have launched a “Tammy to Tallmadge” campaign.
I like Barberton. I frequent the Green Diamond Grille, attend the mum fest in the fall and check out the tulips in the spring. Sometimes I just hang out at Lake Anna.
But since that column appeared, I must admit I have learned some things about the city, one of which came as a real shock:
Barbie already lives there!
At least that’s what Holly McInerney says.
“We already have a living Barbie here in Barberton,” she wrote. “She is intelligent, well-educated, musically gifted, accomplished and the principal of our middle school.
“So that plastic imitation with the empty head is welcome to go anywhere else. We already have the real deal.”
The principal of Barberton Middle School is Judy Myers. After looking at her headshot on the school’s website, I saw some similarities. So I wrote Holly back.
“The principal of your middle school is 39-18-33?!”
“Probably not those dimensions,” came the response, “but she is very tall, fit and mostly blonde.
“When my (at the time) 5-year-old daughter, a Barbie expert, saw Mrs. Myers in a hot pink sheath dress, with matching heels and headband, she asked, ‘Are you really Barbie?’
“It was a fun moment!”
Hoping to share in the fun, I contacted Barberton’s pre-existing Barbie and asked whether she remembered the inquiry from little MollyRose McInerney.
“Of course I remember the moment!” she said. “It was one year ago, on our last day of school, and we were celebrating the end of our first year in the new building.”
Sad to report the principal is not 39-18-33 “and never was.” Myers says she can actually relate much better to Barbie’s little sister, Skipper.
Less flash, more focus.
“I work daily to instill the values of loyalty, respect, dignity, responsibility and overall professionalism in my students and staff,” said the school’s skipper.
Since joining the school system three years ago, Myers has been telling people Barberton is “the best-kept secret in Summit County.”
She has been pleasantly surprised at the quality of students and staff, and the support she gets from the community.
None of which sounds much like Barbie. So I figured we were back to Square One.
I figured wrong. Get a load of this email.
Bob: On my youngest grandson’s report card, along with glowing reviews on his brilliance, was a comment about his struggle learning to use sarcasm appropriately. (He’s basically a wise guy.)
When I read your column about a new home for Barbie, I felt that maybe you also had the same problem that my grandson does.
I was born and raised in Barberton and have worked at the public library for over 40 years. No one loves Barberton more than I do! To paraphrase Judge Judy, “The people are real, the situations are real and the chicken dinners are final.”
Therefore, I choose to take your tongue-in-cheek report at face value. Why can’t Barbie’s new home be Barberton?
We have beautiful Lake Anna smack in the middle of town; we have festivals celebrating our cherry trees and mums; we have free summer concerts; we have the best public library and the most attractive staff anywhere; and speaking of appearances, the mayor is very good-looking, too.
So, with your kind help, I would like to announce the “Barbie, You Belong in Barberton” campaign, with headquarters at the Barberton Public Library, 602 W. Park Ave.
Fans are invited to bring in their Barbie dolls by July 1 for a display (tags will be available to affix their names to their dolls). The library will take a picture of the group in front of the main-floor windows overlooking said Lake Anna and send it off to prove that Barbie would look good in Barberton.
Hopefully, it’s not too late to realize our dream — and I know that we can count on your support!
Mary C. Eritano
Mary: You most certainly can! In fact, we will send a photographer to photograph your photographer photographing the Barbies. Then we’ll write about it and send it off to Mattel.
Hey, you never know! Maybe Mattel would actually consider sending Barbie to small-town Middle America, where people buy a lot of dolls.
Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for my next campaign: Ken to Kenmore.
After that, of course, it’s Midge to Tallmidge.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.