Democrat stuffed animals and Republican stuffed animals

stuffed animals

(Warning! If you are nauseated when you read about grown adults playing with stuffed animals, and making them talk, and pretending that they’re real ladies and gentlemen, then look away. This is icky-poo stuff, and you should look elsewhere for something more adult.)

(Still here? Okay.)

Partner and I have noticed lately that the stuffed animals in our household are drifting apart. They all began in the bedroom, where we’re most comfortable, but some have lately migrated to the living room, where they seem to feel more comfortable.

We recently discovered that this was for political reasons. The bedroom animals are Republicans; the living-room animals are Democrats.

Well, first of all, we found that the bedroom animals were almost always having secret meetings under the bed, and when we dragged them out, they were very tight-lipped about their conversations. And who are they? The moose, whom we acquired in New Hampshire (a Republican state). The polar bear. (He’s white. Enough said.) And the shark (whom we bought at Ikea, okay, but who’s a shark, which means he almost certainly has Wall Street connections). There’s also an Ikea rat in the corner, peeking at the rest of them (probably a lobbyist).

In the living room, we have a jaguar (whose manufacturing tag informs me that his name is JAMAL, which means he’s either a Muslim or an African-American), and a lion whom we purchased in New York City (liberal enough for you?). Also Pluto from DisneyWorld, who’s a moderate, but with Hollywood connections. And a purple platypus, whom we believe to be emotionally disturbed. In brief: the Democratic caucus.

They have taken to shouting at one another from one room to another. It started with: “Vote Republican!” “Vote Democrat!” It’s gotten uglier lately: they’ve taken to name-calling. Nasty stuff!

It’s a shame when fuzzy little stuffed animals can’t agree.

I fear for the future of the American republic.

How to wash your stuffed animals


(This blog is going to be terribly icky. If you can’t stand to read about adults playing with stuffed animals, click away now.)



(Still with me? Read on.)



We have a houseful of stuffed animals. The best-loved are a little brown dog who came from CVS back in the 1990s, and a big fat polar bear we purchased with prize tickets at Dave & Buster. We act out little dramas with them, and generally have a good time. The dog’s name is “Blot,” by the way. If the polar bear has a name, I don’t know it.




When animals get played with, and roll around on the floor, they get dirtier and dirtier. The formerly-white polar bear was turning dingy, and a little whiffy.



Neither animal wanted to go for a ride in the washing machine, though I tried very hard to make it sound like fun.  So I looked up instructions online (from a charming website called, and it turned out to be pretty easy, as follows (all stuffed-toy owners pay attention, now):



        Make sure your pets are washable. If they are stuffed with polyester fiber, and don’t have all kinds of things glued on them, then you are in luck. Polar bear had google-eye appliqués, which I removed. Both dog and polar bear were wearing pretty necklaces, which I also removed.

        If they’re stained, dab laundry detergent on the stains.

        Put them in a lingerie bag or pillowcase, and tie it up. (The spin cycle can be traumatic if you’re a little brown dog.)

        Wash on the gentlest cycle.

        Dry carefully. (I took them out of the bag and let them go commando in the dryer. In forty-five minutes, they were nice and dry, and neither looked the worse for it.)

        If they’re not entirely dry, recommends using a blowdrier. The kids can help with this; tell them that it’s a pet makeover session, and the pets are going to the salon.



The whole family is clean and lovely now. I reglued the Polar Bear’s eyes, and he can see again. He was a little shell-shocked by the washer/dryer thing, but when he saw how bright and clean he was, he forgave us. The little dog is also much cleaner, and looks much fluffier now.



And both of them are bragging about how brave they are, and how the other was crying like a baby the whole time.



But you know how kids are.


Stuffed animals and senile dementia


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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