A Very Furby New Year

November 7, 2007
I hated Furby. Wait, I shouldn’t say that- “hate” was considered as bad as a curse word to my parents when I was seven, and I was punished accordingly if it ever managed to roll off my tongue and form an audible word on my lips.
So, let’s try this again.
I really didn’t like Furby (Is that better, mom?). In fact, I don’t think any second-grader in their right mind did, but it seemed as though everyone’s parents made the mistake of thinking their little bundles of joy would find a plastic, animatronic, bird-like creation covered in neon fuzz desirable. I guess my mother and father interpreted savagely ripping the batteries out of the thing, wrapping it in a blanket, and shoving it to the bottom of my toy box as a sign of twisted affection for the beast. My act of hatred (dislike, I said dislike, mom) was in vain. Everywhere my seven-year-old eyes turned, there was always something with the fuzzy-faced toy plastered across it to remind me of the dormant terror resting inside my toy box.
I guess I never made my dislike for the fuzzy little nuisance apparent enough, considering the surprise I received one Christmas morning. I remember ripping the paper from a box, eyes widening in horror as I held the hideous things in the air, my parents and grandparents cooing in awe. I panicked, wondering if Santa had accidentally placed me on the “naughty” list this year, but instead of coal had brought something far worse- purple furry slippers in the likeness of Furby.
I never got the chance to rip them apart, unfortunately. Instead, I got stuck wearing them before bed every freaking night.
On the other hand- or foot, if you want to be more literal-I would soon be able to use the hated (loathed, do you like loathed better, mom?) Furby slippers to my advantage.
A week or so after receiving the dreaded slippers, New Year’s Eve came. This was the holiday where parents sat at a table, sipped a funny drink called “champagne,” and laughed too loudly as they played boring card games. I remember spending the odd holiday in this place called a “timeshare”- The name seemed silly to me, and I was surprised when the so-called “timeshare” was really a fancy hotel as opposed to a place where people exchanged clocks.
After arriving at the timeshare, eating dinner, and wriggling into my pajamas, I was placed in front of the television and made to watch my drooling brother until he dozed off on the couch, at which time I was left fiddling with a set of dominoes as my parents and grandparents gathered in the kitchen, oblivious to my boredom.
Around ten o’clock or so, which was considered late to seven-year-old me, the adults finally realized I was still awake and ushered me into the dining room, where I sipped soda from a champagne glass and struggled to comprehend the concept of the card game “Phase 10.”

About halfway through the millionth round of the dull game, at this point extremely distracted and bored, I uncrossed my legs and let them dangle beneath me. My feet, of course, were sandwiched inside the dreaded Furby slippers, and sweltering. I could feel the little beads of sweat adhering my feet to the cheap polyester fuzz inside the slippers, which was one of the most uncomfortable feelings I had ever felt. I wanted to rip the hideous slippers from my feet, throw them across the room, set them ablaze, and laugh maniacally as they burned. That, of course, is what any normal second grader in my situation would do. Instead, being the little angel I was, I settled for restlessly wiggling my feet back and forth.

My mother, at that moment, looked up from her hand of cards and asked, with much horror apparent in her voice, “What was that noise?”

The adults looked around uncomfortably, thinking maybe she had drunk too many glasses of champagne. I wriggled my feet again and she yelped, “See, there it is again!”

At that moment, revelation hit me with the force of a two-ton ice cream truck- my Furby slippers made noise when the eyes opened and closed.

Barely able to keep myself from laughing, I wiggled my feet again. And again. And again. Each movement was accompanied by the scratching and clicking of Furby’s eyes, and I reveled in the terrified expression plastered across my mother’s face as her eyes grew to the size of plates and she leaped onto a chair, wailing,

Seeing my mother in such a distressed state, I fell from my chair, rolling on the floor and laughing until tears of glee brimmed my eyes.
If you knew me, I mean really knew me, you would realize my mother leaping onto a chair in fear of noises I myself made (with a bit of help from a revolting pair of slippers) helped shape my character. That’s not to say I hide in lockers or leap around dark corners, hoping to scare the living daylights out of people (well, at least not often, anyway).
So, what’s the moral of this story, you ask? Maybe it’s to ally with your enemies if you want great things to happen. Or to enjoy laughing at the expense of others. Or to not play boring card games with your children. Or maybe I have no ethical values and you’ve been cheated out of a moral.
All else aside, I can honestly say some fraction of a second between my mother leaping onto a chair and my body falling to the floor with laughter, I had never loved anything in the world more than those hideous Furby slippers.

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