Frankenstein and Myrrh?

red_present_box_wrapped.jpgWhen I was a kid, say about 7 or 8, my dad brought home a holiday gift that was emblematic of his personality: Frankenstein’s monster, a foot high, standing on a metal pedestal, dressed all in black with a large flat chalk green plastic head, decorated with bumpy zigzag cherry red scars. His black gash of a mouth spread across his face in a faint smile. The best part about this Frankenstein was the little switch on his back. At my father’s insistence, I pushed that switch and the monster, arms outstretched, started to shimmy back and forth and side to side. Then just as suddenly, my sister and I could hear a little grinding sound and click, off slid his pants. There he was, Frankenstein’s monster, no longer shimmying, just standing on his pedestal in red and white striped boxers. That faint smile of his now revealed a slight insouciance. Our gleeful giggles were overpowered by my father’s healthy, if sinister, chortle. To this day I am still not sure whether he loved the toy or our reaction to it. Knowing him, though, my money’s on the toy.

frankenstein1.jpgCut to my marriage of several more years than I had ever expected. It’s that end of year holiday season that puts everyone into a tizzy, and my husband brings me what he calls a special gift. Nope, no velvet covered satin or sky blue boxes in this house. I open the foot long rectangular box to find Mel Brook’s version of Frankenstein’s monster: a foot tall Peter Boyle, tinted to look as if he just walked out of a black and white movie – skin perfectly gray, felt coat and pants an ensemble of black and gray, hair (despite the male pattern baldness) perfectly black, as are his lips, eyes, handcuffs.

boyleyf.jpgYes, this monster comes with accessories and removable limbs. I can take off the hand that clutched the bowl that could never quite catch the soup that blind Gene Hackman ladled out to him, and replace it with the hand with the burning thumb – again  a result of Hackman’s hilarious gaffe. This monster does not shimmy, but he too brings gleeful laughter and healthy chortles. All I have to do is look at him and remember his heartfelt and ridiculous rendition of  “Putting on the Ritz”  and equally ridiculous laughter bubbles up in me.

So now it’s the holidays again, and while most of my gal pals are hoping for something that sparkles and commemorates love and joy, I am too. . . You think it will be Igor this time? Or should I say, EYE-gor?


Pamela Felcher is the English Department Chair at Hamilton High School's Music and Arts Magnet.