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Friday, October 13, 2006
Friends with Inanimate objects

...On Virgin Radio a couple of weeks ago they asked if anyone had ever formed a friendship with an inanimate object. I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, and cocked my head (much in the style of the old RCA Victor dog staring at the phonograph) and listened for a moment. They usually ask unusual questions in the 10pm timeslot on Virgin Radio, but this was more unusual than usual. After all, what small child *hasn't* formed a friendship of sorts with inanimate objects.

I remember being a child and having my Pooh Bear, who was not only Pooh but also a friend of great breadth and ability. He could fly, he could hug me, he could tell me that I was his bestest friend in the whole world. Everyone should have a bear like that, and I had two - because I also had George.

George is a lovely 12 inch tall brown bear, very snuggly, and used to keep a pink bow tied around her neck. Yes, *her* neck. No, George isn't short for anything. She told me her name and left it at that, and I've not bothered to question it in the 20 years that I've known George. And B doesn't question it either since George sits on her bed and keeps watch over her in the night.

But George isn't the favored inanimate object of my youngest child. That honor belongs to Snuzzles, a lovely little green elephant that she received as one of her first Christmas presents. I honestly don't remember what else she got that year, because she glommed onto Snuzz and that's the end of that. If you want to know what one looks like, just search eBay for Playskool Snuzzles Elephant and you'll see some outrageous listings for this little plushie toy. Oh yes, very popular, very hard to find, very cuddly and lovely. And she's B's bestest friend, even though B is 9 and we're on our second Snuzzles.

A has a purple hippopotamus named Shelby - I think she got named after one of A's closest friends, but A's not admitting anything about how Shelby got her name. And A will give personalities and life stories to all her stuffies, no matter how big or small. I worry about that, she being 10 1/2, but she writes constantly and has an imagination that's filled with wonderful stories and creatures and so I'll let her be with her stuffed friends and their lives.

Many of us grew up with an inanimate object that was our secret friend. Not an imaginary friend, mind you, but the secret little friend that we carried around, couldn't get to sleep without, and told all our secrets too. They were the only ones that understood us before we could verbalize that no one understands us. They continue to be our best friends and most perfect confidantes.

Some would even argue that they're not inanimate objects because everyone knows the toys come to life when you're not looking or are asleep. I think A has just been watching 'Toy Story' too often when she tells me that...

...isn't that right, Pooh? *turns slightly away from the Pooh Bear sitting on her desk and thinks she sees a quick nod out of the corner of her eye*