August 17, 2011

Why Animals Should Dress for Dinner

My wife and I (as our infant daughter’s proxies) received a gift from a very well-meaning relative. It was a stuffed Teddy bear. A white Teddy bear. A Teddy polar bear, to be specific. He arrived wearing a sweater. And he smelled. Again, to be specific, he stank.

He also came with an itemized receipt. For one Bloomies (ie. Bloomingdales) Xmas Special Edition Polar Bear. With sweater. Dated late-December. 1996.

As everyone knows, it is not polite to look down upon well-meant gifts, so naturally we welcomed the bear into our home.

But as was previously mentioned, Teddy smelled. Teddy had come from the smelly basement of a rather smelly house. The Recent Paterfamilias is familiar with this house. The smell is an old one, like that in an antique shop, mixed with decade-aged mold and the aroma from a 1984 house fire. And this particular perfume had embedded itself within Teddy’s sweater as well as Teddy himself.

I took them both, one wearing the other, to my local dry cleaners. They laughed me out the door, but not before suggesting that I might have some luck with one or two gallons of spray Lysol. So, I Febreezed the hell out of the poor bear as well as his sweater. Bear came out OK. Sweater didn’t fare as well. The stink remained.

It was necessary for an executive decision to be made. The sweater met an untimely death in the trashcan.

But now, as was pointed out by my infant daughter’s mother, Ted the Bloomies Polar Bear was hanging out in our nursery naked. Well, this just didn’t seem right. Ted needed some clothes.

Alright. Fine. But what does one get for the Bear who had everything?

The answer was obvious enough to make one feel idiotic: A bow tie, of course.

So I ran out and picked up a bow tie at my local discount retail joint. It was a pre-tied job (although I’d been hoping to find the hand-tied alternative) and it fit nigh perfectly.

Great. Problem solved. Toy Ursus maritimus was no longer naked.

But now our other stuffed people were seeming a tad underdressed. So I ran back out. I bought more ties. I came back home and tailored them accordingly (other stuffed necks in the nursery failed to possess the…how shall I say it?...the girth of White Teddy’s).

Before long, I was living in a world of well-dressed beasts. Another Teddy, a pony, an alligator (or is he a crocodile? it’s so difficult to tell), a gorilla, a drunk-looking monkey, et cetera. But now, our possession of this crew in their custom-made neckwear was threatening to make my wife and I look like “silly people.” And even silly people, like my wife and me, don’t enjoy looking like silly people.

So I needed to come up with an excuse.

And the easiest way to avoid appearing a silly person? Manufacture a justification for all recent silly actions. That was certainly simple enough. We decided, when asked, “Why are many of your daughter’s stuffed animals wearing preppy bow ties?” we would simply reply:

“Well, obviously, they are all dressed for dinner.”

There. Silly people persona cleverly avoided. Excellent.


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