Stuff It!

Oct 05

Attention: Toy lovers and/or neurotics:


A new line of stuffed animals with mental illnesses has been introduced by The Paraplush Toy Company in Germany.

There’s Dub, a severely depressed turtle (Are turtles ever happy?), Sly the Snake, who has terrifying hallucinations (Could it be guilt over that Garden thing?), and a crocodile with an irrational fear of the water (Bad news for a more or less amphibious creature).

Other characters suffer from bipolar disorder and multiple personalities. What? The teddy bear thinks he’s a reindeer? The tortoise (who’s already depressed) thinks he’s a hare? This could make you crazy.

To help sort things out, each animal comes with a written medical history and treatment plan.

Kind of like Cabbage Patch Kids with character flaws and health coverage.

I got wind of all this from my favorite part of New York Magazine, The Approval Mattrix. It was in the Despicable/LowBrow quadrant of the page, but personally, I don’t think that these toys are such a bad idea. In fact, I don’t think they’ve gone far enough.

I think they should make customized animals for your very own situation . . .

At the moment, I’d like a plush toy that represents having an elderly mother in the hospital, dealing with an even more elderly father, while navigating our broken health care system, which involves talking to endless doctors, nurses, aides, and other healthcare workers, some with attitudes, and to relatives who keep calling for updates and to tell me what I’m doing wrong and/or to “help.” (Well, to be fair, some of them actually do.)

I don’t know what this animal would look like: it feels like a 900 pound gorilla, Maybe with a cute little straight jacket, although I doubt that even FAO Schwartz could pull that off. Whatever it is, this toy would be for me, as I am currently experiencing severe nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and rage.

But what I’d really like is a nice soft plushy animal for my Mom, the one who’s going through all this, who sometimes gets lost in the shuffle between the bedpans and the bureaucracy.

Paraplush: can you handle this? It’s true emergency.


Meanwhile, I do have a stuffed animal to help with my problems.

He’s the one on the right, name of Fleischmann, for the doctor on Northern Exposure where moose were part of the scenery, and he is an extreme worrier. The little guy with him is Bullwinkle, named for another moose of note, but he has an upbeat personality with no mental illnesses we know of. In the picture, they’re on vacation in the Caribbean trying to get Fleishmann to relax.

You think we’re crazy for not only collecting stuffed moose, but for creating personalities for them? And bringing them on trips?  Hell. We were just ahead of the curve.

I’ll tell you more about All My Moose in another post, but at the moment I’ll just say that Fleishy is doing well because I’ve given him his favorite job: worrying about the current crisis. Yes, yes, I know. I’m enabling. But strange as that may sound, this bit of transference actually helps. A little.

So tell me: would you want one of the Paraplush animals? The one for depression? Bi-polar discord? Multiple personalities: maybe you’d need more than one.

Or would you like a customized cuddly critter to fit you own personal needs?

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