I’ve been a pet sitter (or should I say pet walker?) off and on for over ten years. When you are allowed entry into strangers’ homes you are surprised to learn how people really live. Strangers are indeed strange. One day maybe I’ll write a book detailing the lives of these people, like the guy who slept next to hundreds of bags of used kitty litter to the single woman who literally owned three of everything (yes…three toasters, three coffee pots, three televisions in a row). One pet customer owned a bunch of yappy Pomeranians, which wasn’t the bad part; her house resembled an antique store full of useless crap. Probably the only stuff that was worth any value (and that’s if you’re into that sorta thing) were the unopened boxes of Barbie dolls. She literally had hundreds lining her walls and bookshelves. Actually Barbie collectors are quite common in the world, but the Pomeranian lady has a long-lost soul mate in the dude who collects Ken dolls. Yep, you read that correctly. His name is Jef Beck (by taking off the second ‘f’ in his first name you have not confused him with the Jeff Beck) and he considers Ken to be his best friend. It all started back in 1969 when he received ‘New Good Lookin’ Ken as a Christmas gift. His collection has grown quite impressive since then, in a scary collector kinda way, as you can see on his website Man Behind the Doll where an entire room of his house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been taken over by Kens. If you wanted to know the history of Barbie’s so-called boyfriend, well, this is the place to go.
Things I learned: The first ‘Alternative Lifestyle’ Ken (also known as ‘Earring Magic’ Ken) was introduced in 1992. Wonder what Barbie thought? Ken’s best friend is named Allan/Alan, and he married Midge (Barbie’s best friend). Ken also has two African American pals named Brad and Curtis. Oh, and even though Ken has been around for fifty years, he didn’t find out he had a baby brother named Tommy until 1996. Some of Ken’s career outfits include ‘Beach Bum’, ‘Campus Hero’, ‘Tourist’, ‘Soda Jerk’ and ‘Pizza Delivery Boy’.
Definitely check out the About Me section on Jef’s website if you have a few precious minutes to waste. There’s more to him than just his cats Casper & Jaspar…and Ken.