Friday, June 18, 2010

Ode to a Childhood Toy

So I was able to see Toy Story 3 at midnight Thursday night (or Friday morning?) and I'm so glad I did. I saw it next to a friend of mine I've known since second grade and promised that I would see the movie with them in high school. We did. It was absolutely amazing. In case you haven't read the bios on this blog, I'm 19 years old. I saw the first two in the movie theatre way back when, and I still revisit them on my VHS. When I was little, I convinced myself that while I was gone my Barbies, horse figurines, Power Rangers, dinosaurs, and the GI Joes I stole from my brother went on adventures together, much like Andy's motley crew of play things. As the third movie came to a close, I cried, like I do at most movies, but for different reasons.

I don't think there's many movie trilogies that literally grew up with its original audience. When the first movie came out, I was living a life similar to Andy. I was a little kid with a dog, a little sibling, and a bunch of toys playing out huge adventures in my head. As twelve years passed between the second movie and the third movie, I grew up. I was just in Andy's shoes last year, going off the college with a very old dog, a now-pubescent sibling, and a bunch of toys in storage, neglected in the corners of my room, or out on the curb. Sure, I kept the ones that had memories attached to them-a pink flamingo my dad bought me when he was stuck in a Florida airport on my birthday, Ugly Dolls because I still love them-but, I've been getting rid of the toys that are broken and sending anything that is still in one piece or has all its pieces together to various foundations or my attic.

There's something really bizarre about sitting in a movie theatre and seeing that the kid on screen that you identified with in a weird way was as grown up as you were by the end of the film. While I highly doubt that most of us would be able to be as selfless as Andy was at the end of the movie, us viewers that are 17-20something know very well what it's like to be in-between two versions of yourself- a high school senior and a college freshman-and be totally aware of it.

Like Andy, we all had That Toy. You know what I'm talking about. The one that is in every photo in your family's album. The one that your parents mention you toting around. The one your mom not only threw in some form of a washer on several occasions, but made sure to check the instructions so it wouldn't get damage. That toy was your best friend, especially when you really didn't know the word for it yet. For me, that was Brown Dog, a furry brown creature of no real breed with plastic brown eyes and suede paws. He was given to me via my mom at my baby shower, and I don't think he's left me since. He's endured millions of hugs, vacations across the eastern seaboard, and a few washings that resulted in his fur being matted and his stuffing isn't distributed properly. While Kimberly the Pink Ranger occasionally seemed as if she would replace him, she never did. He was the Woody to my Andy. Sure, he was low tech, kind of floppy, and legitimately older than me, but he was my Brown Dog.

When college ended up becoming more than just a fantasy of sorts, I initially decided that Brown Dog deserved a retirement. After serving 18 years as my best friend, he deserved to perch on my bed at home and not have to do anything for a long, long while.

I decided last second to bring Brown Dog. I thew him in a green cube with my posters and DVDs and brought him to Rutgers, where he lounged on my best, went on a free trip to Florida, and even got caught in a makeout session between me and my SO. But what's hilarious about the life of Brown Dog is that college gave him a comeback- people would go into my room and take him off his spot on my bed and on their head, or on their shoulder, or just gave him a hug. He's been tagged on Facebook and now has a fanpage which you should be a fan of. Brown Dog isn't exactly everyone's childhood toy, but he reminds them of that time.

The only thing I will never understand is how make believe, pretend, making up stories is so great and so cherished when you're little, and yet we can't play pretend unless we're doing kinky shit in the bedroom when we get older. Sure, it's probably not a good idea to jump around in your room and be like "I'm a fairy princess yayyy!", but that doesn't mean that you can't play pretend in your own way. Write something. Seriously, just write it. Put your pretend on paper. Hang on to your One Toy and hope to pass them down to someone, or just hang onto them. Be aware of your inner child, because if you take yourself too seriously, you're going to lose it. And that's what Toy Story 3 has taught me to embrace. Crazy, but true.

I'll write something more serious/commentary-based in a little bit. For now, just think about this. If you want, become a fan of Brown Dog on Facebook. Feel free to comment about your childhood friend :) Or even say what you think of the movie!

1 comment:

  1. I gave away pretty much all my toys in high school and I never really had a favourite, but in the last couple of years I've bought new stuffed animals, and I am totally not ashamed to say I sleep with them.