Like most households that include little kids, we have loads and loads of stuffed animals. They accumulate in the house as though they’re actually pairing up and breeding.
We have stuffed animals of all kinds: rough, soft, cheap, luxe, teeny, huge, realistic-looking, unidentifiable, from other countries, impulse buys, formerly part of another toy or a flower arrangement, holiday-commemorative, adorable, ugly-cute, plain ugly. The vast majority of the stuffed animals were gifts.
Then there is a whole other type: stuffed animals won at carnivals or amusement parks. These are all in the Ugly-Cute and Plain Ugly categories. I call them the Carnies.
This is Hersh. Short for Hersheypark. Hersh is a big, soft, sweet guy. You got a problem? You can talk to Hersh about it.
His name is Shifty. He used to be a pickpocket and small-time con, but he found a new home with the Carnies.
This guy’s brogue is so thick, we can’t make out what he’s saying most of the time. His name is Angus… we think.
Barney. Used to be Barbara.
Mitzi depends on the kindness of others.
Young Blouie had dreams of becoming a bass player, but he never grew past 10 inches.
Tina is the smallest of the bunch, but she gets around.
Wink is the best of broads. But don’t get drunk with her; she will beat your ass. Wink has issues.
No, she’s not one of the Real Housewives of Miami. If there’s a leader of the Carnies, she is it. Nica has named her Angry Duck. I like to think of her as No-nonsense Duck, myself. When asked to comment on the group, Ms. Duck said, “I like bears. They’re hard workers.”
The Carnies, 2012