My dear sweet mother never once in her entire life smoked a single cigarette or sipped a single drop of alcohol. To my knowledge she never even said a cuss word except the one time she read a Van Halen t-shirt out loud which doesn’t count because she was asking me what it meant. She married the only boy that she ever kissed and kept her vows until death did they part. She taught Sunday School and took meals to sick people and visited little, old ladies and wrote books for her grandchildren and crocheted (not joking here) Christmas cards every year for everyone she knew (and some she didn’t). She was the supreme epitome of absolute uncorrupted purity, selfless compassion and life-long humility. But she had a dark side. A dark side that could have landed her in prison had the feds caught up with her.
She was a bootlegger (not the moonshine kind). A knockoff artist. A copyright infringer of epic proportions. There was a time in my life when I wanted nothing more that a pair of Nike’s™. Those were the days when black and red Air Jordan’s™ broke the lid off of what retailers would dare ask for a pair of shoes. I didn’t dare ask for those. All I wanted was something, anything with a swoosh™. It was reputational suicide in the fifth grade to wear anything but Nike’s™ and I wore Traxx™ . . . from K-Mart™ . . . with suction cups on the bottom that popped when I walked down the hall at school (which I now call the Green Mile™). I begged and pleaded and I’m pretty sure I even prayed for a pair of Nike’s™ but my tender, compassionate mother’s only solution was, “Let’s just get the plain white Traxx™ and I’ll paint the Nike™ swooshie™ thing on them.” She had no grasp of how much that would NOT solve the problem.
Had it been an isolated incident I’m sure any judge would have been lenient considering her otherwise pristine record. But it wasn’t. When she discovered fabric paint at Joann Fabrics™ she jumped headfirst onto the slippery slope of brand replication. By the time I was in high school I had a Chicago Bulls™ sweatshirt, a Cubs™ cap, a crocheted Nerf™ basketball hoop and a hand painted t-shirt with my name and basketball Jersey number on the back which bore an uncanny resemblance to the shirts that the rest of the team (the cool kids™) wore . . . until you looked at it with the lights on. Her illegal endeavor to trip the retail system was relentless but her reasoning, I believe, was solid. Although she never quite articulated it quite this way her position was simple. The real travesty is a society so consumer driven that shoes cost more than a small car and fifth graders would sell their siblings to wear them. Not a bad point really.
My mother would have truly connected with China. Not so much for the constantly growing presence of Gucci™ and Prada™ and Louis Vuitton™ and the thousands of young Chinese consumers who can now afford them. On the contrary she would have instantly bonded with the producers of Guppi and Praba and Louise Vutton. She would have proudly associated with the multiple millions who either remain too poor to buy the real thing or quite frankly think it would be downright stupid as long as there are stores that sell perfectly good fabric paint. China takes the heat for their lax enforcement of copyright infringements, piracy and cheap knockoffs which is only fair if they want to play on the global stage. But mom would have loved Abibas™.
I’m going to assume it’s because of the nearly identical “a’s”
and “d’s” but I don’t think there is another brand that is so
frequently or with such variety “knocked off” in China.