I blame the Velveteen Rabbit. When I first heard the story I took it as gospel truth: stuffed animals are not inanimate objects but creatures with souls. Child psychology calls these playthings ‘transitional objects’. They are semi-real things which help us evolve from juvenile thinking to ‘real life’ . Apparently I am neurotic as hell, fixated at 3 years old for I never outgrew seeing stuffed animals as alive. My teddy bears were as real as could be. Throwing out a stuffed animal was unspeakable. You would no sooner discard the family dog.
When I see a stuffed animal without an owner I see a sad and abandoned being longing for the love of a child. I go into hysterics when I see an unpurchased doll or (worse) a teddy bear lost in a public area. Teddy is obviously frightened at the separation from its loved one.
Little old ladies do this for stray cats and it is charming; a 50 year old man getting worked up over stuffed animals is maudlin.
At the clinic where I work there is a Winnie the Pooh style little bear who has sat in the conference room for several years. I suspect a child left him behind after an appointment. The toy was never reunited with the owner, despite being set out for viewing. It was like one of those terribly depressing ‘lost pet’ ads posted on street corners. I am ashamed to admit I’ve become quite concerned for Mr. Bear. Heaven knows I don’t need another bear. But dammit the Inner Child says he needs a home. If someone doesn’t claim Edward by the end of the Christmas season I am going to adopt him. He can join the other house bears, and become ‘real’.
So there you have it. The whole internet now knows I am a big wuss.