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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thoughts on Nancy Drew, Being a Girl, & Spending the Rapture at Applebee's

There are fifty-six books in the original series.  There are currently twenty-three (soon to be twenty-four) computer games, now in both the PC and Mac formats.  There was a totally awesome TV series is the 70s, a decent TV movie in the early 2000s, and a pretty terrible Emma Roberts monstrosity on the big screen rather recently.  Why all the fuss over outdated old Nancy Drew?

Because she's fucking awesome, that's why.

Pardon my French (which she probably speaks).  But, if you don't agree, it's only because you don't really know Nancy or you're insanely jealous of her wonderful life.  She's the only daughter of her lawyer dad, Carson Drew, she has a housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, and she has a totally hot, totally charming, totally chivalrous, totally college-aged, totally football-playing boyfriend named Ned Nickerson.  Her best friend, Helen, vanished after the second book, only to resurface later, married and with a mystery to solve.  Her two other best friends (she's allowed to have more than one) are the cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne.  Bess is pleasantly plump, kind of dumb, and likes to eat, yet, ironically, she's the one you call for hints in the PC games.  George is lean, kind of dumb, and butch - she carries the bags, plays sports, and steps in as hero to Bess' and Nancy's damsels in distress when Ned isn't around.  As a good friend points out, today, Bess and George would probably be in a weird, incestuous, lesbian relationship, simply because of their odd relationship dynamic.  The girls shouldn't take offense to those descriptions, though.  Everyone is stupid in comparison to Nancy Drew.  And there's only room for one pretty, smart, heterosexual girl in River Heights, Illinois.

She's a jet-setter, a small-town suburban girl with a taste for adventure.  Nancy's main hobbies include driving her blue convertible at top speeds, getting attacked by ghost dogs, and getting chased away from treasure by "suspicious characters."  Her official occupation?  Teen sleuth.  And this titan-haired marvel will be young forever, in the hearts of fans the world over (and as long as someone keeps ghostwriting new books under the beloved pen name of Carolyn Keene).  She has always been and will always be the one who drew me to mystery, the girl who gave me hope that I, too, could change the world with my wits and my awesome car.

My car isn't as awesome as Nancy's.

So, sometimes she's a little backward.  So, she goes to visit Ned at college and they go to a dance at his fraternity and nothing else happens (yeah, right, Nance - we all know Ned's an irresistible stud muffin).  So, some of the details don't add up and some stories don't make sense.  Also, what the hell happened to Mrs. Drew?  It doesn't matter.  It never mattered when I took on the roll of brilliant young Miss Drew at recess, running around the kickball field with my two best friends in tow as we alternated between solving mysteries and pretending we were Power Rangers.  Nancy made me proud to be a girl.  She made me long to grow up and seek my own adventures.  She made me hope to be as amazing as she was.  She gave me impossible odds to overcome and incredible dreams to reach and, for that, I dedicate this summer to rediscovering what I loved about her in the first place and finding that same passion within myself that existed when I was seven.

Thanks, Nancy.


Kick off shoes.  Drop purse.  Pet cat.  Sigh.  Drink water.  Change into pajamas.  Worry about weight.  Clothing into hamper.  Worry about future.  Turn on bathroom light.  Brush teeth.  Worry about finding Mr. Right.  Rinse, spit, rinse.  Change music.  Examine teeth.  Worry about whiteness (or lack thereof).  Remove makeup.  Contemplate society's unspoken regulations about feminine beauty and hygiene.  Remove more makeup.  Realize you missed some eyeliner and rub at it with tissue.  Forget about it.  Wet washcloth.  Grab face wash.  Wash face.  Worry about future (again).  Rinse face.  Moisturize face.  Worry about rough skin.  Worry about unshaven legs.  Worry about buying tampons (you're almost out).  Tidy countertop.  Hang washcloth to dry.  Worry about nails.  Shut off light.  Wander into bedroom.  Worry about clothes to wear tomorrow.  Worry about what tomorrow holds.  Scowl at reflection.  Remember that you have to put on more makeup to be presentable tomorrow.  Remember that you have to go through this whole routine again tomorrow night.  Worry about sanity.  Shut off light.  Fall into bed.  Close eyes.  Worry.  Wait for sleep.


Where else would I spend the End of the World but at Applebee's?  If God expects me to sit back and be judged for my supposed sins, he'd better be accepting of the spinach and artichoke dip and Diet Pepsi combo I'm expecting to be allowed to hold onto while my fate is being decided.  Plus, a Last Supper of these proportions should be fulfilling and satisfying, so I can go on the run and fight the zombies that rise when all hell breaks loose (the puns, too).  It also doesn't hurt to know that one of the last people I will ever see will be   the waiter I've had my eye on since Applebee's became the hangout for my group of friends, as he clears away my dinner plate and inquires about dessert.  I just hope he gets back with my cookie sundae in time for the end.

All kidding aside, though Applebee's was a rather strategic choice for dinner, I have to admit that it was incredibly symbolic, too.  The friend that I went to dinner with asked, in the final twenty minutes or so until Judgment Dinner Hour, what kind of things I would want to do in this last hour, if the world were actually ending and I hadn't elected to spend my final days bike riding and stuffing my face with her.  And, honestly, reflecting on the End of the World now that all danger has passed of it actually happening (until 2012, anyway), I'd have to admit that Applebee's would have to be a pit stop on my way to Hell, no matter what.  I'd drag my friends along, of course, as many of them as I could find.  It's been a place to celebrate achievements, to eat our feelings, to eat too much of our feelings, to laugh and almost-not-really-cry.  It's a place for friends - it's the neighborhood (copyright to them; don't steal that).  What better way to go out than laughing at something stupid someone said, surrounded by the people I love, chowing down on a chicken fajita roll-up?

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