Hi. You’re going to have to bear with me on this one. It gets a little weird and I might lose some of you along the way. Come on, though. We all need a little weird in our lives, right? Is that from Alice in Wonderland? Willie Wonka? The Shining? I have no idea. Again, just go with it.
Since I was old enough to name things, I have given life to countless inanimate objects in my home. This started as a kid, when I began calling my stuffed toy dog “Joey” and moved into my adulthood with a family of plush monkey-bears that wore Build-A-Bear tuxedos to my wedding. I hope they got their deposits back.
This cast of strangeness changes constantly with new ones introduced and old ones put out to pasture. Some have stood the test of time. Others, like Ishy The Fishy (a houseplant, not a fish), haven’t.
This isn’t limited to dolls and figures, but it helps. With that, you’re probably thinking that every big stuffed animal in the house gets a name and a backstory. Nope. It’s all hit-and-miss. My son has this giant turtle that, by all accounts, should have a full-blown personality. He doesn’t. He’s not funny or witty. He’s not Mr. Turtlehead or Shell Silverstein. He’s usually just in the way. Lucas throws him over the gate when he wants to get my attention. No one cares about you, turtle.
You still there? Good. Meet the family.
This squeezable giant squishy octopus thing was a throw-away Easter gift that the Bunny grabbed as he was hopping out of our local Target earlier this year. That’s all he was meant to be. He’s fun to squeeze or wear as a hat. Both of my kids adore him. He’s Orphie.
I approximate his actual age at around 14. The only reason I say that is because Orphie is constantly trying to one-up my teenage daughter. If she got a 98 on a test, he got a 99. If she scores a no-look basket on our arcade basketball game, he did it yesterday. This past year, when she won two awards at the 8th-grade assembly, I told her, right after, that I was as proud of her…but that Orphie won three.
Samurai Baby holds the sponges…for now. I just got this metal fella at the flea market, which has birthed so many of these insane beings. I was holding him for less than a minute when the point of his finger cut my finger and made me bleed. At that point, I knew I had to get him. I don’t know why. I think he was mad.
He lives here now. As soon as he got back, I texted my daughter that Samurai Baby lives in our home and she will respect him. God help us if he ever decides to put that sponge down and do some real damage.
UPDATE: As I was writing this, I came downstairs to find…he had dropped the sponge. I am ashamed to admit that I screamed at him and told him has brought great dishonor to our family. No one else was home. I worry about myself in those moments.
I don’t know what Googardo is holding. Some say skulls. Some say Rice Krispie Treats. I always figured it was supposed to be coffee, that’s why he stands by the coffee. He serves no purpose other than to take up room that isn’t available in an already crowded space. Yay, Googardo!
Some of you might get the reason for his name. It comes from an insane Family Guy segment where Quagmire mistakes a man named “Frank” for “Googardo.” I had just seen this YouTube clip the day I found this flea market find. So, of course, I named him that. Now, whenever his name is said, it’s in the voice of Family Guy’s Glenn Quagmire. If you can’t do a Quagmire impression, that’s OK.
Then you can’t talk to Googardo. It’s as simple as that.
The second oldest character in the house, Nuck-Buck-Chuck-Bluck was purchased in Hawaii. He was so important that, nearly twenty years ago, he was put into a suitcase and flown home from my honeymoon.
The name “Nuck-Buck-Chuck-Bluck” comes from an old Mad TV comedy song entitled “The Only Gay Eskimo.” I bet you’re thinking, “Oh. He’s the gay eskimo?” No. He was another eskimo that the gay eskimo mentioned. Actually, he wasn’t even that. It was “Nuck-Fluck-Chuck-Bluck”. Buck rolled better off the tongue and here we are.
By the way, I know “Eskimo” is the wrong term, but that’s the name of the song. So it’s essential to use it in this listing. The views are not mine or Nuck-Buck-Chuck-Bluck’s. In fact, he’s not even an Eskimo. He’s from Hawaii. In all honesty, it makes no sense. I get that. I told you it would be weird. Glad you’re still reading.
Eddie and Racquel
There’s a world in this painting and two people we all wonder about. I call them Eddie and Racquel. My daughter named them Dennis and Lorraine. Most people name them, “What the hell are you talking about? That’s a painting. You named them?!”
In my head, Eddie is a private investigator in the 1950s. He enjoys a good cigar and bourbon. Racquel is the dame he just can’t get out of his head and his heart. She may be the bee’s knees, sweetheart, but she’s poison. She’ll break ya heart.. Ya hear me? Poison. Still, he can’t get enough. He needs to get information for his big case and he has no choice but to listen. It’s a jungle out there, baby.
And I think about all that as I dustbust stale waffle pieces my son dropped on the floor beneath it. I’m a suburban dad.
When the Purge happens…and it will happen…Verlyn will defend me. This nightmare creature will crawl into your brain and destroy you.
Here’s the best part. Are you ready? Verlyn moves. That’s right. He’s constantly plugged in and very slowly, he moves his hands back and forth. It’s terrifying. The most common things people say when they see him?
Ugh. He’s so scary…Oh my God! And it moves?! No. No. No…
Can you imagine breaking into a house and seeing this thing staring at you? Forget being afraid of Verlyn himself. What about the fear of a family that would welcome such a thing into their home?
This is my bobblehead, Lil James. Think of Lil Bow Wow, but instead of Bow Wow, it’s James.
I had always wanted to get a custom bobblehead and spent so long talking myself out of it. Finally, upon moving into my first solo place last year, I bought one. It took a Groupon deal and an internal “you deserve it” monologue, but I bought it.
When I showed my daughter, I started to explain my reason for the purchase and how I had talked myself into it. So I started to say:
Isn’t it cool? I got it because…
Turned up smirk. Classic snotty teenage glare.
…you’re a narcissist?
I didn’t want to laugh, but I did. Ridiculous. How can I be a narcissist when I’m so perfect in every way? Puh-lease.
And that brings us to Egg. The granddaddy of them all. He has outlasted everyone, and he currently lives in my son Lucas’s room.
Egg was purchased around Christmas 1997 at Toys R Us. I remember having him in the passenger side of my Mitsubishi Mirage as I drove down Sunrise Highway listening to Opie & Anthony and WBAB. It feels like a hundred years ago.
Actually, it’s one-quarter of that. Yikes. I was exaggerating. Now I feel ancient.
The name “Egg” was inspired by a Malcolm In The Middle episode a few years later where the youngest son brings an even younger kid home and proclaims the boy to be his pet. The boy’s name is “Egg.” It was one of the funniest things I ever heard up until that day. The name went to the stuffed dog.
As time went on, there were life changes and kids came along. It was a little over ten years later when my then-toddling daughter renamed him “Mister Doggy Brown.” Much like Egg was the funniest thing I had heard up until that point, this was the cutest. Suddenly, Egg had two names.
Egg has outlasted my marriage, a slew of relatives, and every other doll that came after him. He’s been there for the birth of my kids. He’s witnessed the entire 15 year lifespans of my cats and been a comfort with the passing of friends. He’s lived in six houses and is always proudly on display.
Egg reminds me why I do this silliness. This insanity makes memories out of nothing at all. It gives you something to smile about on days when you can’t find other reasons. I love that stuffed dog as if he was family. That’s the whole point. Maybe it’s not so weird after all.
Nah. Who are we kidding? It’s weird. Sweet, but totally weird.