I’m in the bus right now, and when I look out I can see into the back of a car. There’s a small stuffed bear in this car, with all its parts labeled. Hand. Tummy. Ear.
Sleeping on my bed at home is a big floppy stuffed dog that I once got for my sister. Stitched into its side is an orange patch shaped like a bone, and on it, the word “dog”.
A lot of my nephew’s toys are like this. It reminds me of crayons in boxes. Simple and labeled and separate. And it makes me wonder why and at what point the labels disappear. I’m older now, and wiser, and I can name all the parts of a stuffed bear’s body. But I’d like some help with the rest of life. You know? It’s a strange and unfamiliar journey and I’d like some signposts along the way.
Glory Days. Heartbreak. Poverty Ahead. Bad Decision. Just Another Wednesday. And so on.
Where have all the labels gone? I want stickers pasted all over life with names and warnings and everything. I demand a massive signboard that proclaims, in large and friendly letters: Don’t Panic.