Stuffed Animals Are My Friends Too!

    While still waiting for 1.10, I thought a brief diversion from the world of gaming might be in order… a sort of a break before the hard work of figuring out new character builds and Lister strategies begins. A recent holiday brought to mind an old suspicion of mine, and I figured this would be as good a time as any to share it.

    First of all, a disclaimer. I am 22, a fairly successful college student at a very good university with hopes of going to graduate school. I have a wonderful girlfriend, a good job, and the honor to write for this wonderful web site. I have no serious illnesses, I have beaten Baal in hell, and I am blessed with a wonderful family. In other words, I am in no way out of the ordinary, emotionally scared, or otherwise deficient in any area. I just happen to be a guy who likes stuffed animals.

    Most people have no idea how to deal with this little aspect of me. I make no effort to hide the fact I like stuffed animals. When I go into a candy story, I tend to ignore the candy for the vast array of stuffed animals along the walls. Almost every time I go to Wal-Mart, I have to visit my good friends in the toy aisle and see if any are asking to come home with me. My dorm room has nearly two dozen critters of various sizes. Small, large, pretty, cute, mischievous, intelligent, I have all types about my living space. I see no problem with this.

    Yes, I meant to say mischievous and intelligent. You see, I not only have a collection of animals, they have names and personalities. All little furry friends have their own personalities, just like living animals do. I find those personalities, and find names that suit them. Animating stuffed animals could almost be considered a talent of mine, very similar to working with puppets. Most people find it to be a rather annoying talent, for some reason. I guess my friends are somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of carrying on a conversation with a stuffed panda.

    But to the point, I am convinced that I am not alone in the universe. At the risk of being called sexist and bigoted and other awful names by those wonderful women?s rights groups interested in nothing but promoting harmony and equality between the sexes, I humbly submit the idea that the majority of stuffed animal lovers are female. However, I cannot accept that I am alone in a hostile world. I believe that there are other guys out there , and a substantial number of them, who also enjoy having a plush menagerie in their home. I am convinced that, somewhere, there is in hiding another animal animator waiting to come out of the closet. This is not idle conjecture; I have evidence.

    As I said, I frequent toy aisles and other stuffed animal displays. Usually I have my girlfriend (also a lover of the furry little guys) with me. More than once when we have been, um, examining the wealth of animals, I have seen other guys come up to the display. Sometimes they are alone, sometimes they have a female or a child with them, but I am not sure it matters. It is amazing how much fun the guys seems to have hunting through the animals, showing off their finds, and arranging them so they are peeking out over the edges of the shelves and bins. In fact, the guys often have as much or more fun as the people they may have with them. I hypothesize, then, that the extra person along with the guy is merely his cover. He is really at the display having a blast himself, but has to make it look like he is with someone for whom stuffed animals are a more socially acceptable. I encourage you all to haunt your local stuffed animal displays and watch this phenomenon yourselves. It may take a few trips before you observe someone subversively frolicking with plush pets, but be patient. He will come. In the meantime, I have another bit of evidence for you to ponder.

    Why is it that, even though cute stuffed animals are among the favorite presents to give to females, most displays also have not so cute critters in equal numbers? Do all women and girls really enjoy a stuffed hippopotamus, or a plush iguana that hisses? Is the secret to a great Valentine?s Day present a realistic miniature giant squid instead of a cute little horse? Is there something here that all guys have been missing out on for years? I think not. My humble proposition is that these, shall we say, less-cuddlesome creatures are the aimed at an altogether different market. I think that, perhaps, the vultures and tortoises of the plush community are targeted at guys. Anyone who has even a basic knowledge of economics can tell you that no company will try to sell a product that no one wants to buy. If the furry warthogs are being made, then it only makes sense that someone must be buying them. Lots of someones. Having visited displays of stuffed animals often, I can honestly say that I have never seen a girl pay for a stuffed rhinoceros. No offense to the ladies of our fair community, but if my own girlfriend is any indication, the women of the world gravitate towards the bears, the horses, and the puppies of the plush world. The snakes and sharks have little interest for them. If, then, the ladies of the world are not buying these animals, who is? I see only one alternative.

    To the underground society of plush toy loving guys, I urge you to come out and make yourselves known. Come forth all you who play the druid because you think the bear is pretty cute! Arise all who hide your collections and hope no one finds out. Emerge into the light all who buy animals as ?car decorations.? Admit your passion, and be free! Rally to the toy aisle of the world and shamelessly enjoy the wealth of soft and cute critters on display!

    My little friends and I will be here when you get back. After all, “Salem’s Fire” is named after a small bear.

    Disclaimer: Salem’s Fire was written by Luke Blaize and hosted by diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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