Toys and Dreams

12/08/2010 By Shawn Burns

There’s a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll in Adrian’s crib. Both Adrian and Erin like to have plush toys when they go to sleep. I don’t remember being like that when I was a kid. I remember have some kind of stuffed, pleather, E.T. doll that was with me for years, but I didn’t sleep with it. I tied a knot in his arm one day and couldn’t ever get it out again. Scraping my teeth against the finish of the pleather to pull the knot loose didn’t work. And as I got older my fingers grew bigger, so my chances of manipulating the arm knot with my fingertips diminished. I don’t know what happened to that toy. I think I bit one of his sewn-on-eyes off, one of those half-spheres with a white backing, black circle for an iris, and clear plastic covering it. I was not a good toy owner.

I had a plastic Gizmo toy. I picked it out shortly after seeing “Gremlins” for the first time. I was six, I think, and my mother drove me into Ottawa from our farmhouse in Carp to go to the movies. Shortly after I was in possession of a Gizmo doll that was roughly of a size with the film version. I was so excited about the Gizmo toy after I brought it home. I played with it all day and then set it on my nightstand at bedtime.

Peeking at it there, standing on the table next to my bed, I was convinced it was going to turn into a gremlin and eat my face. I didn’t move for a long while, and when I did it was to throw Gizmo under the bed where I couldn’t see him. Under the bed is where all toys lose their powers.

Sometimes I think Erin has nightmares. She’ll wake up crying in the middle of the night and then it doesn’t matter that she has her stuffed Piggy in bed with her. He doesn’t keep her safe. He’s just a pillow. Adrian’s Mickey and Erin’s Piggy are just pillows with arms and faces. They won’t turn into gremlins, but they don’t keep the gremlins away either.

You have to throw Gizmo under the bed to keep the gremlins away.