Okay, I talked about this a bit on the podcast recorded last night (which will probably hit iTunes in a few days), but I can’t resist.
The bunny you see to the right is not just any bunny – it is Binky the Bunny. My dear mom (I believe) purchased Binky for me before I was old enough to realize that bunnies generally have furry spherical bodies and not flat, pink plaid blankies attached to their heads. That’s probably for the best, as otherwise I may have been horrified to see this Dr. Moreau-esque amalgam of creature and inanimate object.
I adored Binky, and gazing into his round, blue vinyl eyeballs I know that he adored me, too.
By the time I was approximately four years old, Binky was pretty much in the state you see him now. Tattered and a little torn at the edges, and probably very, very smelly. Because I carried him everywhere, my mother came upon a brilliant solution for me to improve hygiene and not embarass her when I carry Binky around — she bought another Binky.
BinkyClone looked just like original Binky, only he (it?) was fluffier, cleaner. His whites were whiter and his pinks pinker. But he was different in another way, too. An evil way? Perhaps.
I bawled my eyes out until Original Formula Binky was retrieved from the trashcan and restored to my arms. BinkyClone was banished to the bottom of the toy box where its eyes couldn’t delve into my soul.
I didn’t realize it until I read about a recent study, but this was a very basic form of the superstition I fight against today. Bruce Hood, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, has illustrated how even the most rational people imbue inanimate objects with personalities. For instance, he gave a group of people a sweater said to have been once worn by a serial killer. No one was really jumping out of their seats to try it on, despite being offered some monetary compensation. It’s just a sweater, but we view it very differently depending upon what we know of its history.
The trick Hood tried that reminded me of Binky involved taking a child’s favorite toy, informing him that the toy would be perfectly recreated in every way, and giving it back to the kid. Of course, the kids all balked when handed their toy, which they thought was an evil clone. I don’t blame them.
I quickly found Original Formula Binky in the box under my bed, where he has been for at least the past six years since I rescued him from my parents’ yard sale. As for the BinkyClone, God only knows what happened to it.
God, or maybe Satan.