I am probably eight years old. We are at Rehoboth Beach in one of the many junk shops where we purchased two hermit crabs earlier in the week: one for me, one for my brother, with whom I have stopped bathing since he noted the first sprouts of pubic hair as I held a contortionist’s position in order to give him enough room to wash his hair.
Our hermits are in tiny plastic cages with chunks of natural sponge soaked in water, strange little cornmeal cakes, and the next-size shell on the bedside tables at our condo. This is around the time that The Noid from Dominoes pizza is a thing, and there are five-inch tall plush Noid dolls as well as Spuds McKenzie, a dog, which is for beer, I think, but I am not sure because I have learned to read and I do not do a lot of TV.
There are shelves of curious objects of which I have no understanding, very tiny drinking glasses—are these for dolls? Why do they have ladies in bikinis on them? There are snow globes that snow glitter on the beach, and I feel—even at eight—that they are silly. There are a lot of fashionable fluorescent designs and words I don’t read on piles of T-shirts.
There are rows of plastic dolls that I do not like, buckets and shovels for sand castles, and shallow cartoon molds of crabs and fish for sand sculpting.
Then I see a thing that is extremely interesting. There is a Santa doll.
He is about three inches tall. Why is there a Santa in the gift shop on the beach? Isn’t it summer? Who would buy a Santa in summer? I approach Santa. He wears tiny plastic sunglasses. Haha, I think. Then I notice that Santa’s tiny felt pants are more like a skirt and I think huh?
So I lift the tiny pants to see if Santa is broken, and I find a very long, presumably flaccid flesh-colored Santa penis, complete with little horizontal wrinkles and a circumcision, that nearly hits the glass shelf on which Santa is standing next to all of the other adult-themed gift items that suddenly fill me with shame and send me to the part of the store where my mom is glancing through post cards and swaying my very tiny baby sister on her hip.