I don't know if it's a product of being an only child, or if it's like some genetic sensitivity thing, but when I was little, I had this affinity to stuffed animals, but also to other inanimate objects, basically believing that even the bathtub had feelings and would feel neglected if you didn't use it or at least pat it reassuringly on occasion. But my stuff animals, because they were, you know, shaped like animals, all got names and I worried about them a lot--you know, like the fairness of who should get to be in the bed each night. I won't go so far as to claim that my toys were on a rotational basis, but I'm sure that it crossed my mind to dole out the affection in an equal way. I didn't necessarily feel the same about dolls, because dolls could be just this side of creepy. One second, they were little girls that you took care of, and the next second, they could be possessed by demons and try to kill you. I must have seen any early film starring Karen Black that taught me that. Also, my mom once bought me a dried apple-head doll that I've never recovered from seeing. I remember thinking when she gave it to me, what little kid would want to hold a doll that looks like her grandmother.
And in moving some 20+ times over my life, the stuffed animals have usually made the cut, whereas only a few of the dolls survived. Well, including Bernadette, the doll that's from my mom's childhood. I think I have a picture of her somewhere and maybe wrote about it in a previous post. I know that my friend Leigh Ann remembers Bernadette because the dolls were delivered to my work and LA didn't like Bernadette at all.
I feel the same way about animals and people, even today. Give me a choice between seeing a TV show or movie where a child is hurt and one where an animal is hurt, and I'll pick the kid every time.
This is a bear that lives in my office. Would it be weird if I started bringing him to meetings?