When I was about three or four years old, I slipped off of an inflatable raft and went under the murky waters of Lincoln Pond for...well, about thirty second. Possibly less. Dear old mum pulled me out, and I had the very good grace to yell at her, "I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE A MERMAID!"
Let me just clarify. At four, the prospect of having to become a mermaid was AWESOME. In fact, it was awesome until I was about 12. There was water show at the Great Escape, our little local amusement park, and, when I wasn't dreaming of being a librarian by day and the tooth fairy by night, I was dreaming of becoming the mermaid in that show.
So I love the photo essay Annie Collinge recently did of "professional mermaids" at Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. They're completely eerie, playing off this bizarre little-girl fantasy (Mommy, when I grow up I want....a tail?) and the semi-dilapidated state of the park itself, which was only reopened in 2008 after decades of disuse.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Is it OK if I still want to be a mermaid? Just a little?