Stuffed animals and senile dementia

Birthday


I have always loved stuffed animals: they are goofy and cute and soft and they make comfortable pillows.  I still have my childhood teddy bear, which (after so many decades) is now completely hideous; it sits high up on a shelf in my bedroom, in comfortable retirement, surveying everything.  It saw a lot of hard work back in the 1950s and 1960s, and it needs its rest.

 

 

What (or whom) do we have now?  A shark, from Ikea, three feet long.  A little scruffy dog, presumably a Golden Retriever puppy, ten years old (not a puppy anymore!), going a little bald now.  A mangy fat polar bear we won at Dave and Buster’s (he didn’t have good eyes, so I glued google eyes on him, which are a tremendous improvement). A disreputable purple platypus who tries to sting the other animals.  A lion from FAO Schwarz in New York City, who thinks he’s better than everyone else.  A black rat, also from Ikea, with buck teeth and a long hairless tail.  A small moose from Clark’s Animal Farm in New Hampshire, the baby of the family. 

 

 

And many more. 

 

 

They talk.  (Well, we make them talk.)  They say outrageous things.  They fight with one another.  Sometimes they get married.  The polar bear likes to ride the shark.  The dog and the polar bear are rivals.  What can I tell you?  I’m a child.  I love my stuffed animals, and I still play with them, and I don’t care what you think of me, so nyah.

 

 

Not long ago, while walking to work, I found a very small stuffed lizard on the sidewalk.  It’s about three inches long, all done in bright colors; I think it was probably a keychain item, or maybe a backpack tag.   I carry it in my pocket every day now; I bring it out at opportune moments, and it insults people.  Just the other day I brought it out and it told my work friend Cathleen to shut up.  She was completely bemused.  “You know,” she said, “it’s amazing.  You’re in your fifties, and you’re still playing with stuffed animals.”

 

 

“This is nothing,” I said.  “If there’s a program on TV about polar bears, the polar bear has to come and sit on the bed and watch it with us.  And comment on it.”

 

 

Cathleen groaned.  “When you finally get senile dementia,” she said, “it will be spectacular.  I can just picture the nursing-home staff coming into your room, and you telling them to talk to the polar bear, because he’s not very comfortable.”

 

 

“If the polar bear lives that long,” I said.  “He’s not looking so great these days.”

 

 

She groaned again.  “You’re losing it, kiddo,” she said.  “Very, very quickly.”

 

 

Probably she’s right.

 

 

I’ll have to talk to the polar bear about it.


 

 

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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