Say hi to Butch. Butch is some sort of ruminant that I stuffed for charity. No, really: my firm is celebrating some number of years in business by doing a series of charitable works, the most recent of which is some sort of build-a-bear-for-troubled-children event. Believe me, it's better than the last event, which involved buying pairs of panty hose to give to a charity that provides interview clothes for women without the means to purchase their own. Mind you, it's a very worthwhile cause, but while I willingly went shopping for supplies with EFU seven or eight years ago when she had her first period, going into a store alone and buying panty hose says one of two things: "fetishist" or "whipped." I really prefer not to take credit for any fetishes that I don't actually have. In the end, I gave my team leader $20 and begged her to buy the panty hose for me. She very kindly agreed. My team won that round, too. We contributed over 300 pairs of panty hose, and the firm as a whole gave almost a thousand. Competitive bastards.
But back to Butch. The stuffed animals for charity event was not a contest, and that's a good thing since I believe that offspring (even polyester ones) should be created out of love rather than competition. I walked into the conference room at the appointed time and was greeted by one of our admin staff and the consultant who's coordinating our charity events. (How do you get that job?) The consultant, who, fortunately, has a poorly developed sense of double entendre, told me to grab an animal and "stuff it; really stuff it well." I tried to keep my eyebrows from rising off my forehead and looked at the various fuzzy choices. Much as I enjoy bears, I wasn't really in the mood for one, so I chose the bull, who, on closer inspection, was more likely a steer, though I suppose he might just have been painfully shy.
I sat down with Butch and, as instructed, unzipped him and started really stuffing him well. I was instructed to make sure I got the stuffing down into his extremities, all the way to the tips of his
Before I zipped Butch closed, a couple of my co-workers, including my team leader, came in and began arguing over which animal they wanted. My team leader opined that the brown bear she was considering was cute but was clearly a boy. I grabbed one of the bear's legs and lifted it and said, "Really? Because I'm not seeing the evidence." Fortunately, she's used to me.
Accessorizing Butch wasn't terribly difficult. There were a lot of dresses and shirts and colorful shorts and ribbons and bows and baseball uniforms around, but it was pretty clear that Butch wanted the faux-leather vest and the matching boots. Butch was initially disappointed that the leather was faux, but then I explained the concept of leather to him, and he was greatly relieved, though a bit shaken. I thought he needed something else, and at first I considered a hat, but there weren't any suitable choices. The consultant said that I could maybe turn one of the baseball caps into a helmet, but I said that I thought Butch probably wouldn't wear a helmet. I asked my team leader, who's something of a biker babe, whether Butch wouldn't probably ride sans helmet, and she said "Hell, yes!" and launched into a (mercifully brief) story about motorcycle gatherings in North Carolina and the evils of helmet laws. Personally, I approve of helmet laws, but I'm figuring Butch is more into the fashion and symbolic aspects of (faux) leather. I don't expect to see him astride a hog anytime soon, so I'm endeavoring not to worry. Anyway, I gave up on the hat and tied on a bandana.
You can see Butch's faux-leather vest and red hanky better in this picture. You can't tell from this picture, but Butch's hanky is tied to the left. To be honest, the only sort of bandannas they had were red ones (will no one think of the children), and I couldn't remember what red meant (I would have asked my team leader, but she might actually have known, and I would then have been scarred for life), so I originally tied it in the center and snapped the picture. Then I went and checked, and I quickly came back and moved it to the left. I think I was fast enough that none of the other stuffed animals had a chance to get up to any monkey business with Butch: the room was full of people stuffing other animals, and he didn't seem especially traumatized. Then again, I spent ten minutes with one of my hands inside him, and he never once complained, so maybe moving the hanky wasn't doing him any favors.
I had to write a note to send with Butch and fill out his birth certificate, and then the consultant pronounced him "adorable!" (not, perhaps, the effect he was looking for, but compared to all the other animals, he really does live up to his name) and took a picture of the two of us together. Then I bid Butch a tearful farewell and wished him the best of luck with his new family. It was hard to say goodbye since I felt like we'd really bonded in the twenty-five minutes we'd known each other, but it's clear that I can't give him what he wants and needs. I just hope that wherever he ends up, he's happy and feels comfortable being who he really is. After all, castrated, polyester, fisting-top ruminants need love too.