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Jewish Journal

Plush Reminders

by Teresa Strasser

February 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

Bunny. Das-tardly Bunny. Stupid stuffed, fluffy gift from his ex-girlfriend. Bunny, you've enjoyed life on his pillow for awhile, but now you must die. Bunny must die.

This is what I thought as I tossed Bunny out the window of his bedroom last week. You see, there's something cute about a man with a stuffed animal, but when I realized they used to call each other "Bunny," it was all too much. Bunny, though cute, was a symbol of a love that had already hippity-hopped on by.

I flung Bunny out into the middle of the street with the deranged zeal of a future serial killer blowing up a cat with a firecracker. Bunny was splayed out like plush road kill.

The Boyfriend ran down the stairs and rescued Bunny with some pathetic excuse like, "Come on, Bunny's mine now. You have to love Bunny."

But when Bunny made it back to the pillow, I tossed it back out the window.

"That was the most juvenile thing you've ever done," he said, out of breath from the Bunny rescue but somewhat amused.

"No, this is the most juvenile thing I've ever done," I said, racing back out the door to place Bunny just under the hefty tire of a parked truck.

I couldn't go through with the Bunnicide. The poor thing looked up at me with its plastic eyes, and I felt certain that it wasn't the little critter's fault. I was just disturbed that the Boyfriend had a past, a past filled with cute nicknames, weekend getaways, her meeting his family, and her moisturizer and hair clips still in the bathroom cabinet. Not that I was snooping.

In fact, it's not just Bunny that bothers me. It's Pookie, Shmoopy and Bobo. It's the ghosts of all the ex-girlfriends past haunting me. In a sense, I'm grateful for all their hard work. They trained him. He opens car doors, shows up on time and doles out compliments. He came assembled. Still, in my mind, the parade of exes are all gorgeous, courteous and easygoing. In short, they are better than I am in every way, and I can't stop wanting to know about them while at the same time wanting them to have never existed.

He has his share of ex-boyfriends to deal with, too. I tried to rid my apartment of all evidence, but when you have as many exes as I do, it can be difficult, sort of like the former Soviet Union getting rid of all evidence of Lenin. Even if photos and trinkets are hidden, the anecdotes seem to crop up. I know it's a bad idea, but I can't stop myself sometimes from bringing up past relationships. The stories can be boiled down into one basic sentiment: It's not like I've never been loved before. You're lucky to have me.

This is lame but under-standable. The question is why I would want to know about Bunny and company. Can I be shallow for a moment (as if I haven't already)? Sometimes I ask myself what would be worse, if his ex-girlfriends are all dot-com millionaires and supermodels or community college dropouts with bad perms. I compare myself to these women I don't even know. If I fall short, that would be painful. If I fall long, would that be even worse?

The fact is, these relationships are over, as lifeless now as a stuffed bunny. I'm probably just looking into the past for clues how our relationship will end -- or not end. But maybe it's like those warnings at the end of mutual fund commercials: "Past performance is not an indication of future earnings." There's no use in obsessing about the past. Even I know that.

Yesterday, I noticed another stuffed animal behind a pile of books. It was a small Winnie the Pooh with a hat, antennae and pink wings. Stitched to its shirt were the words, "Love Bug." Before I could complete the thought, "Love Bug must die," the Boyfriend saw me see the Love Bug and grabbed it, chucking it right out the living room window.

It was a nice gesture, but the window had a screen. The momentum of the toss forced the Love Bug to ricochet off the screen and land right in my lap. There's no getting rid of the Love Bug.

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