A More Plush World

Most small children have a comfort blanket or a cherished toy that they carry everywhere with them and go to for emotional relief. I know I had a special cabbage patch doll that never left my side. There is just something about the stuffing and soul of a toy that seems to soak up all of a young child’s frustration, sadness, and anger. The child can play rough with his or her friend and it will willingly take the abuse. It will be glad the little Johney is throwing it into the wall over and over again, because it knows that after this, little Johney will feel ten-thousand times better. But when a child reaches a certain age, a certain level of grown-up-ness, it is instructed to put its stuffed friends away and to move on to real people for security and confidence. The world would be a much better place if our stuffed childhood friends were there for us as we grew older.


Life doesn’t get any easier as we grow up. In fact, it gets harder. As a child we were terrified the other children at Recess Elementary School would think that our heads were too large or that we had a big fat crush on so-and-so. We worried about getting put in time-out for refusing to turn off the cartoons during dinner or that our little sister was going to steal our crayons or copy a breakthrough idea we had had. As we reach our teenage and adult years, however, our problems get more complicated. We dread the Calculus 1 tests that Mr. PhD seems intent on making us fail, and we spend hours in front of the mirror every day so that Billy Beautiful will give us a by-your-leave when we walk past his locker. When it comes time to pay rent for an apartment or mortgage on a house, buy food, and take care of those dependent upon us, there is no end to the stress that is created to make sure that the month runs out before the money does. But just as our life is moving from the simplicities of childhood to the more difficult times of being a grown-up, we are told to leave our comforting stuffed friends behind for the more acceptable human friends. Humans are far more selfish than our stuffed cuddle-buddies. They are made out of the same icky goo that we are made out of, and it is not as good at absorbing problems as the soft stuffing in a bear or doll. Our icky goo is too absorbed with its own problems to take in anyone else’s.


Imagine a world where it is acceptable to keep our cherished toys even as full grown people. If the President of the United States could go home at night and throw his teddy bear against the wall, scream all of his problems at it, and end up cuddling with it while he fell asleep, the country would be run by a much less stressed-out guy. Maybe if that abusive mother had been able to cry into Sally the doll’s shoulder, she would have had more patience with a whiny two-year-old. And the teens of today’s world are fighting their inner wars, as well. They are balancing work and school and family and sports, all at the same time. They are trying to discover themselves as well as develop into successful adults, and it is a very stressful time. More and more teens are getting depressed and turning to alcohol, drugs, sex, cutting, eating disorders, and other self-destructive behaviors to cope. If these troubled souls had a doll to confide in or a pillow that has just the right amount of cush for optimum huggability to turn to when times got tough, wouldn’t there be less pain in this world?


Many people realize that children seem to be the happiest people. Maybe it is not a coincidence that they also are allowed to be weak and to sleep with plush tigers. They have a best friend with whom they can snuggle with, confide in, and be nothing but themselves around. The world does not get easier as we grow older, and yet we are told to give up the stuffed buddies who give us the most comfort. Your favorite stuffed polar bear will not be angry if you take him out of the attic after thirty years. It doesn’t hold grudges. It is one hundred and eighty two percent accepting of you and everything you do. It loves you and understands your problems. And it wants a hug just as much as you do.





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