The Object of Our Affections

by Margie Borschke

It seemed only normal to be attached to some stuffed animal or another — all the kids were doing it. However, the task of obsessive attachment, even indiscriminate affection, presented me with a problem. Among a three-foot teddy bear, a Loch Ness monster, a battery operated crawling doll, Mrs. Beasley, Wendy Walker, Dressie Bessie, Raggedy Ann, Baby Skin So Soft, a stuffed tomato, and nameless others made of plush and plastic, I never managed to select a favorite. Frankly, I couldn't have cared less about the lot of them. I remember propping them up against a wall and, with all the 7 year old determination I could muster, trying to select a material soul mate. I never succeeded — I was a failure as an obsessive child.

This shortcoming was not unprecedented; as a baby I had no cherished blanket, pacifier or stuffed toy. I was an existential tot, staring into the abyss without a piece of flannel to temper the horror. I set out unaccompanied on my search for meaning in it all. Why was it that I, an otherwise happy, normal child, lacked a security object? All my life, everywhere I looked, people were clinging to their fragments of security: both my siblings had their blankies, my college roommate had the remains of hers and a boyfriend had a teddy swaddled in flannel. This phenomena wasn't confined to my circle of acquaintances: Linus has his blanket, Steven Tyler has his mike-stand bandanna, Bob Dole has his pen, and Tori Spelling has her creepy silicone tits. For god's sake, even poor old Sisyphus had his rock. But what about me — am I the cheese?

Never one to pass up the opportunity to assert my individuality, I rationalized my freedom from objets-des-comfortes as an early assertion of my independence and Zen-like lack of faith in the material world. All those blanket carriers and thumb suckers and pacifier pussies just took a little longer to face the fact of the cruel hard world. And how to explain that many of my friends still possessed their objects as grown-ups? Permissive parenting, of course. Damn hippies!

Talk!I decided to dig a little deeper into the collective psyche of my generation. I pestered friends, STIM contributors and staff, and the occasional cute boy at a rock show about their lost "wankies", "gullies", and "baboos". Overwhelmingly the subjects I chose did have security objects as children (here, I include those with nature's pacifier — the thumb) and a little over 60 percent of those profiled here still know where to find it in a pinch.