The Androgynous Bear

What? You had one of these things at your grandma's house, too? Wasn't he the best? Or is it a she. It's a bit androgynous, isn't it? I think it likes it that way -- this giant teddy bear pushed through the taboo. We'll never really know if he's a she or if she's a he, just like the time Chris Hillard (Matthew Lawrence) stuttered to his sister about Mrs. Doubtfire, before he realized she was his father: "He's a she...she's a he-she..."

As an adult, the teddy bear doesn't really match up to what it was like as a child. When I was little, this teddy bear was huge. As a child, this bear was the size of a person. It was a person. No good Chris Columbus movie could've been made about the bear and how it would come alive and save nanna from having to sell her house. Nah. Instead, this giant androgynous bear was good for one main thing: sliding down the stairs. 

If you collect teddy bears, you may want to avert your eyes. It gets a bit sacrilegious. Since it was the perfect size, and my grandparents had a staircase, it stopped being my friend and became a sled. 

Don't get me wrong, laying on my stomach and sliding down the stairs and getting constant rug-burn is thrilling, but why should a child risk a fabric-induced burn when a giant teddy bear is just sitting there, waiting. My cousins and I would sit on top of the bear and ride it down the stairs. We would rumble down -- thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump -- hit the tile and barely slide into the wall. Luckily we never got hurt, nor did we ever hit the wall. 

I'm surprised the bear held up. We didn't exactly take care of some of the toys my grandparents had a their house leftover from the childhoods of my mom and her siblings. After numerous rides down the stairs, the bear never split, the thread always held, and its fur never wore down. This bear was the cat's meow. 

Now, it's just a larger-than-normal bear. I also decided that it looks a bit like a Shih Tzu.