June 25, 2009
I’ve stayed as far away from the Octomom story as one can get while remaining on this planet. Still, I felt uncomfortably close when I stumbled over a photo in the Los Angeles Times. It shows a display mounted on the outside wall of a Volkswagen parts business in Whittier, Calif., where Nadya Suleman lived until recently. (It’s something on the subject of my distance from this story that I learned the woman’s name for the first time today. For real.)
The item in the Times reads, in part, as follows:
Back in February, the world’s media converged on Whittier hoping to get a glimpse of octuplets mother Nadya Suleman and her 14 children.
There, drivers can’t help but chuckle at a display owners Ralph and Diva Chase have set up. Mounted on the wall of the building is half a grabber-blue 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Inside, a black-hair mannequin — respectfully named Teri, not Nadya – is sitting with her legs crossed and is surrounded by babies. A box of diapers sits on the bug’s roof.
Ralph Chase said his 22-year-old niece, Jenna White, put the display together, meant as a tribute to Suleman and her mark on Whittier. “She’s Teri’s stylist,” he joked.
They sometimes change Teri’s clothes to freshen her look, and some people have come by to donate clothes for the display.
What caught me up short was the blue Beetle. See, I drive a blue Beetle. It’s not a ’69; it’s a ’99 with more than 167,000 miles on it, but from a distance it looks uncomfortably like the one Teri and the kids are sitting in.
So this is “a tribute to Suleman and her mark on Whittier.” It got me to wondering, if I were to sacrifice my Beetle to commemorate someone’s mark on Whittier, whom do I envision beaming out from behind the wheel. Oscar de la Hoya? Nomar Garciaparra? Andy Etchebarren? Eric Stoltz? Or – should I even say it? – That Man who, the tapes tell us, wanted to “destroy” Thomas Eagleton – “pipsqueak that he is”?
I have to go with Andy Etchebarren. He was the last player to bat against Sandy Koufax – and he hit into a double play. That seems about right.