When teddies die


These teddies were found in the laneway bursting out of a bin liner as if emerging fully-formed from a gestational sac. In that sense, I’m not sure if they are dead or just born. They look new-born to me, given the way their limbs are flung out in all directions and the difficulty they are having making eye contact. Their fur is so clean and bright too, as if uncuddled by human hand.

But, seriously, what sort of person dumps new-born teddies in the back lane? For that matter, why would you dump dead teddies? Why not do what everybody else does and pack them them away carefully in a cardboard box, laying them down as if for a prolonged hibernation and then, having said your goodbyes (perhaps with a certain sadness as the moment stirs an awareness of your own mortality, the fact that you are growing/have grown older), put the box in the loft for ‘safe-keeping’. Maybe you keep one or two ‘special’ teddies out on display for sentimental reasons, a reminder of earlier, more innocent days. Even boys can do that with the right degree of irony and the right teddy.

I don’t know how many teddies I have in my loft but it’s a decent-sized colony – or sleuth, to give it the correct term – including one teddy which is bigger than a real-life cub. I’m not quite sure what they are doing there (by which I mean I don’t know why I’m keeping them – I know what they’re up to… partying!) but it points to something about the nature of teddies that most children, adults and child-adults choose to keep their teddies (based on a recent poll of 1 – me). Certainly you don’t see a lot of illegal teddy dumping, and it’s rare to come across a sizeable teddy dump like this one.

In these circumstances, who wouldn’t be tempted to pick up a teddy and take it home? Perhaps pass it on to somebody who is seriously lacking in teddies, or least find it a nice cardboard box and a place to ‘rest’ in the loft.

Then again, perhaps that’s why these teddies were abandoned like this in the back lane, in the hope that someone will pick them up and give them a good home, a fresh start (or at least take them to the charity shop). It wasn’t a callous or cruel act at all but rather an act of kindness, setting the teddies free in the hope that they will go on to better things in life. And isn’t that a far, far braver thing to do than simply keeping your teddies out of sight upstairs in the dark?

I don’t profess to know the answer to this dilemma and I am loathe to pass judgement on how people treat their teddies. It’s a personal matter, something to be resolved between you and your teddy. All I know is that when I passed this way again a short time later, the teddies were gone.

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