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Brian Evankovich

Evil Vending Machines; or, What's Next for Barbie
By Brian Evankovich
Feb 18, 2004 - 2:54:00 AM

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Never get between a girl and her Cheetoes.

I learned this important lesson at work the other day. While at my desk in the newsroom of the broadcast facility for which I toil, one of the production assistant’s, whom I’ll refer to as Cindy (not her real name), wandered around the corner to the vending machine. A moment after she vanished, the madness began.

Thud… thud... thud…

The walls shook. Vibrations rattled the floor. I leaned back to see what I could observe but was unable to determine the source of the noise.

Thud… thud… thud…

I said: “Is anybody even remotely curious as to what that sound is?”

Thud… thud…

And then it stopped.

Cindy came back ‘round the corner straining to open her snack.

I said: “What were you doing back there?”

“The [expletive deleted] machine wouldn’t drop my Cheetoes, so I shook it.” She held up another package, added: “It gave me a free fruit snack, too.”

That same morning, no more than an hour later, the fire alarm went off. Loud, pulsing; strobe lights flashed as well, just in case we weren’t paying attention. But nobody made a move to leave; instead, there were calls to “Turn that thing off,” and “I can’t concentrate,” – because we are broadcasting professionals who are paid an embarrassing amount of money to go down with the ship.

The two engineers on duty stubbed out their cigarettes and looked around, said: “Guess we better check this out,” and wandered away. Never to be seen again.

We think they ran outside and never looked back.

Another smart aleck said: “Where’s the fire? I gotta pee!”

Then the alarm shut off, and an announcement was quickly made that it was a false alarm, a smoke detector had malfunctioned, and we were not to evacuate the building.

“Way ahead of you!” the smart aleck said.


This isn't the kind of story you want to read on Valentine's Day weekend. I found it Sunday morning.

Barbie and Ken - sniffle - have broken up.

The Associated Press broke the story Sunday morning, stating that after 43 years of going steady, they had decided to go their separate ways. According to Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, Barbie and Ken “feel it's time to spend some quality time — apart.”

Quoting the AP story: “…the separation may be partially because of Ken's reluctance to get married. ‘All those bridal Barbie dolls in toy chests around the globe are really just examples of Barbie's wishful thinking, [Arons] explained.’”

Alas, it is finally admitted what we knew all along: Ken was just a big moocher. Living in the dream house, riding in the pink Corvette - plus the other fringe benefits - just wasn't enough to make Ken want to tie the knot.

But Barbie is already making the transition to single-ness. A new “Cali Barbie” will be in stores soon, complete with a revealing hoochie-momma outfit consisting of shorts, bikini top, metal hoop earrings, a deeper tan.

And she’s already has a new beau lined up – Blaine, an Australian boogie boarder.

Doesn’t waste a minute, does she?


Brian Evankovich lives in California. Contact

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