Monday, April 19, 2010




1 : musty, stale
2 : having a slovenly or uncared-for appearance

On easter when I was a year old my father gave me a stuffed animal rabbit. The rabbit's tag (pictured above; it normally resides in a cheap frame displayed on my head board) reads "Tubby Rabbit"—more than likely a reference to the rabbit's chubbiness, but the name stuck.

Tubby is the only thing I own that my father gave me. I'm sure he gave me other things during the short interim in which he wanted to be my father, but this rabbit is the only object that absorbed any significance. Tubby was always my favorite stuffed animal; I cannot remember a time I did not sleep with him in my bed. My family treated him as a member (this is not unusual), throwing small birthday parties in his honor on easter. My mom would construct two three-dimensional cakes in the shape of bunnies, nestled in a bed of coconut shreds dyed green like grass.

I had a younger cousin, Megan, a brat in the truest sense of the term. One time—I was probably ten years old, making her five—she was visiting, and I locked myself in my bedroom because I was sick of her bothersome and insulting behavior. She banged incessantly on my door, screaming that if I did not let her in she would kill all of my stuffed animals, especially Tubby (I still don't understand how one "especially" kills something). My blood boiled. I honestly thought that if she came near Tubby I would have ripped every dirty blond hair out of her five-year-old head. And probably dislocated both of her shoulders.

I used to have dreams as a child that I was in a spaceship heading toward the sun. The only way to turn the spaceship around was to sacrifice Tubby by throwing him into the sun's flames. I was devastated; I never made the call, always feeling more comfortable with accepting that I had to die a fiery death. I would wake up sweating and holding Tubby against my chest.

I'm almost thirty years old and I still sleep with this rabbit. At this point, he is ragged, FROWSY, and molded to my body*. I sleep with him more out of physical necessity (as one who habitually sleeps with the sound of a fan, or a pillow wedged between their thighs) than out of companionship, although I still have an undeniable fondness for the animal. He has most definitely seen better days (see above), but at this point his degradation seems to have reached a plateau.

When new boys come into my life, I often show them Tubby right off the bat, as though to offer two things:

1) To say, I still sleep with a ragged old stuffed animal. If you think less of me for this, you should leave now; and
2) This may be what you resemble if you also sleep with me for 28 years.

Just a forewarning.

*He also lost one of his cheeks about 20 years ago. I don't know how this happened.

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