One of the many awesome things CS Lewis said was this: When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. Which is a slightly self-conscious way for me to ‘fess up to the fact that—since becoming a grown up—I’ve acquired a pretty impressive collection of plush animals.
I could probably trace this back to childhood trauma (only in the sense that you can trace everything back to childhood, not in the sense of being actually at any point traumatised) but basically I think it comes down to the fact that … they’re really cute.
My favourite supplier (is supplier the right word? makes it sound like drugs) is Keel Toys because their animals are super soft and snuggly, charmingly characterful and sometimes just plain weird. Like … everything you need to know about Keel Toys comes from a brief glance at their ‘Bobballs’ range. Bobballs are teeny-tiny squishy-round animals with silly expressions and googly eyes. Needless to say, I’m into them. Here’s a picture:
So, yeah, you’re probably looking at that thinking “okay, right, it’s some cute animals, what’s he getting so excited about” but keep looking … spotted it yet? Bottom row, fourth from the left there’s … yep … that’s a pineapple.
I would totally love to be have been a fly on the wall in that design meeting.
Manager: Okay team, we’re introducing a new range called Bobballs. The concept is adorably spherical animals. What have you got for me?
Designer 1: Um, well I’ve made this super happy looking clownfish
Manager: Nice work, Michelle. I imagine that’ll be really popular because the second Finding Nemo film just came out.
Designer 2: I did a tiger
Manager: Okay Imran, I see what you’re going for there. It mean it’s very inside the box but kids always love tigers. Good call.
Designer 3: I made this … yellow bird thing, could be a chicken, could be anything avian to be honest, but it’s got a hilarious look on its face.
Manager: You know something, Helena, I’m going to trust on you on this. I love the suppressed madness in its eyes. What about you, High-As-A-Kite Bob? What have you got for us?
Bob: … a pineapple.
Manager: … a pineapple?
Bob: Yeah, man, a wild pineapple, king of the beasts.[Long pause]
Manager: I LOVE IT.
They also do a range called Pippins, which I don’t think Bob was involved in, the design principle of which simply appears to be: so cute it hurts.
Anyway, I was recently on Amazon where my ‘inspired by your shopping trends’ is almost 100% cuddly animals and romance novels. And up popped this adorable duck.
So, obviously, being a mature adult I had to have her.
Charlotte Duckas was listed as “keel 30cm duck with sparkle eyes’ and the description was simply ‘soft cute cuddly’ – which seemed, at the time, fair enough. There was one review, as below:
Thus, I felt no particular qualms as I ordered my adorable cuddle duck.
And then my duck arrived. Here is a picture of my duck.
Yep. She hates me. She hates everything. She is the angriest duck in the universe. A duck with a grudge. A duck you would not turn your back on. Or allow to approach you down a dark alley in a dodgy part of town.
Which left me in a bit of quandary because, while she definitely wasn’t the duck I had ordered, I wasn’t entirely sure how to return her:
Dear Keel Toys
I ordered an adorable duck from you, but the duck arrived hateful. The description of the duck is listed as ‘soft cute cuddly’ but my duck would be more aptly described as ‘malignant sneery hostile’. Under the trade descriptions act, I believe I am entitled to a new duck.
PS – Please do not tell the duck I have written to you, as I believe she will kill me in my sleep.
Anyway, I brought the problem (and the duck) home to H – who promptly accused me of being mean to the duck, since apparently some people can’t help being hateful, and refused to let me return her.
I am now constantly trolled in my own home by an angry duck. Sometimes H tucks her into my side of the bed when I’m out of the room:
And I swear to god she’s watching me:
Obviously we couldn’t call her Charlotte Duckas any more – because while Charlotte has a wicked streak, she is not a psycho. So the duck was re-named Caroline Beakley, which seemed more appropriate.
Sometimes we also call her Chris Duckicho because she looks like a bit Chris Jericho when he’s heeling it up:
And sometimes Harvey Duck because, once we got used to her mean little face, we realised that it’s actually an angle thing – and while she looks utterly contemptuous most of the time, she’s kind of adorable if you come at her from the right direction:
Although, honestly, day-to-day we usually call her Ducky.
Her hobbies are going for walks, watching The Sopranos and playing Eldritch Horror.
But I’m secretly glad I didn’t return her because she is much better than an ordinary cute-faced duck could ever have been. Or maybe this is Stockholm Syndrome.
In any case, I think the moral of this story is that sometimes life will send you a really angry duck. And that is okay.