Three years ago my husband did a favor for our
friends, Alyson and Chase, when he donned an Elmo suit and performed (I use
this term loosely) for a wild bunch of toddlers at their son’s second birthday
party. The costume was a rental and was clearly not licensed by Sesame Street.
It looked more like Elmo’s shady cousin than Elmo himself and was thus dubbed,
“Schmelmo.” The Schmelmo incident will not soon be forgotten. All I have to do
is conjure up the mental image of my husband in the jacked-up red suit walking
down the hallway and I will be laughing out loud in a matter of seconds.
I was reminded of Schmelmo last Thursday after
having lunch with my friend Jacquelyn. We pulled into the Pizza Hut parking lot
after taking the kids to play and noticed a large purple and green furry blob
standing by a car. Inside the blob was a 20-something kid and there was a
couple close by doing their best to zip up the Barney suit. We caught the tail
end of this process and, even though we both had places to be, we decided
pretty quickly that this scene was not one we could leave. We had to wait it
out. It took a while to get the Barney head on but they did it and we decided,
at that moment, to open up the sliding doors on my van so the kids could check
out the purple dinosaur (they were too busy talking to notice). Jacquelyn and I
got out of the car and waved at Barney. I asked if he would come over and say
hi to my kids. He politely obliged. Upon closer inspection it was clear that
this costume was also not licensed by Barney or any of his cohorts. It was
Schmarney, Barney’s sleazy uncle.
We asked the woman with Barney for an explanation
and she informed us that her child was in preschool across the street and they
were having Barney (her favorite character) personally deliver her valentine’s
gift. OK. That’s pretty sweet. The preschool, like I said, was across the
street and thus begged the question that Jacquelyn asked, “So, is he just going
to walk across the street in costume?”
“No,” nice Mama said, “We’re going to drive him over
Jacquelyn and I watched as they tried to squeeze
Barney into the backseat of their Escalade to no avail. Our kids watched in
horror as Barney jumped in the back like a dog and spread out on the floor. We both
wished that we had brought a camera to document this bizarre scene. My son
piped in and said matter-of-factly, “Mommy, Barney is not wearing a seatbelt.” Touché.
Miley Cyrus and Achy Breaky are in good company now.