Saturday, May 16, 2015

"I was the kid next door's imaginary friend." (Emo Philips)

So, this week, a friend of mine posted a story about a man who killed his imaginary friend, then turned himself in to the cops:

"Geoff Gaylord walked into a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and confessed to his crime: he had repeatedly stabbed his friend "Mr. Happy" with a kitchen knife, cut up Mr. Happy with a hatchet, and buried him in his backyard. Let me remind you again that this occurred in Florida, so perhaps it should come as a surprise to no one.

Gaylord and Mr. Happy were friends for seven years but, according to Gaylord, he killed him for a few reasons:

"He left his empty vodka bottles all over the kitchen... never picked up his empty cocaine baggies...He messed up my apartment to the point where I just couldn't get it clean...Before Hap started doing drugs and acting weird he was my BFF...We'd go
dancing, play on the children's park equipment, both huge fans of doom metal – listened to it for hours with the lights turned off."

When Mr. Happy crashed Gaylord's car, and Gaylord got arrested instead, Gaylord had had enough.

"That drunk driving incident I got unfairly blamed for and just how messy he had become put me over the edge and I murdered him."

Gaylord was eventually taken into custody when he threatened police for not giving him the death penalty. Police found drug paraphernalia and a machine gun in Gaylord's house, and was booked on multiple charges.

So much for the BFF bracelets these two exchanged."

Apparently, it's a story from a fake news site, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
It reminded me of my imaginary friends, Mrs. Seal and Mrs. McGillicuddy.

Imaginary friends are awesome- Calvin had Hobbes, James Stewart had Harvey, Big Bird had Snuffleupagus (by the way, only Big Bird can follow Snuffleupagus's Twitter account. No one else that tries to follow Snuffie gets accepted. It's brilliant.)

But my imaginary friends weren't too imaginative. We didn't have crazy adventures or exciting mishaps. They were really pretty boring. Mrs. Seal was a retired schoolteacher, with cat's eye glasses, who always wore plaid wool suits. We tried to win a rubber raft in a radio contest once.

I don't really have an idea of what Mrs. McGillicuddy looked like. I think she was sort of an absentee imaginary friend. I used to beg to buy postcards on which I would scribble barely legible notes to Mrs. G and pretend to mail to her. We were more pen pals than friends, I guess.

With my dad having been a Navy SEAL, I think that explains where Mrs. Seal got her name. I watched a lot of I Love Lucy when I was a small child, and the fact that Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille McGillicuddy is my only explanation for my Mrs. McGillicuddy. I never did learn either of their first names.

Lawrence Kutner, in Insights for Parents: Midnight Monsters and Imaginary Companions says that, 

 "Imaginary companions are an integral part of many children's lives. They provide comfort in times of stress, companionship when they're lonely, someone to boss around when they feel powerless, and someone to blame for the broken lamp in the living room. Most important, an imaginary companion is a tool young children use to help them make sense of the adult world."

I'm not sure how Mrs. Seal and Mrs. McGillicuddy fit into that description. I didn't feel any kind of fondness for them and they disappeared pretty quickly from my life, without much emotion on my part. They weren't particularly fun or jolly ladies. I don't remember having a lot of laughs with them. I don't remember being particularly comforted by either one. I may have bossed them around, but that's not out of the ordinary. I had no need to shift blame to them for my misdeeds, as my brother Kevin's escapades went above and beyond a simple broken lamp in terms of occupying my parents' attention. They were a lot like Mary Poppins without the magic or
the singing- more governess than friend, really. I guess they taught me something about how to navigate the adult world; they were good preparation for the humorless, straitlaced folks you encounter as a grown-up.

I feel like this was a huge missed opportunity. I was usually a very imaginative child- almost too much, sometimes- and I can't believe I wasted the role of an imaginary friend on two such dull women. But maybe it's time to revisit and reinstate the imaginary friend. Today I learned that both my bus driver (Bus Driver Ralph) and our mailman at home and work (Mailman Carl) are getting assigned new routes and I won't see them regularly anymore. Without these characters in my Sesame Street-like world, I'll need someone new to chat about vitamins and the euro's value against the dollar, and to bring the gossip about the people in my neighborhood, the people that I meet each day. I'll be accepting applications until the end of the month.

And a quick link to show that my imaginary friend situation was nowhere near as effed up as it could have been.

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