Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Land of Misfit Toys

I've always rooted for the underdog. My heart melts into a puddle at the sight (or even the mention) of something someone else derides. If it's a team, I'm inclined to support it. If it's a toy, I'll surely want to hug it. If it's a book, I'll likely want to read it.

And I can never get through an annual viewing of the yuletide television perennial "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" without wanting to adopt every single one of the playthings that have been deemed (by society? Santa Claus?) "misfits."

So, as the calendar says we're closer to Valentines Day or St. Paddy's than Christmas, why do I have Rudolph's plastic and furry pals on the brain?

Spring Cleaning (and that phrase always makes me think of another classic -- James Barrie's Peter Pan) is coming early to my house. We're doing a major de-clutterfying and I am discovering things I haven't used, or even seen, for years, and forgot I owned. That qualification would seem to make the item destined for either the scrap heap or the thrift shop.

I have no problem consigning my husband's area rugs to that category, but when I come across an old and beloved childhood toy -- the long-since-bald doll, the one with now-wonky legs, or the stuffed animal that has so many patches it's hard for a civilian to tell what species it once represented, a current interpretation of a "misfit toy," I can't imagine doing anything but wanting to love it.

So, as we're about to stare down another blizzard here in NYC, I raise my iced coffee glass to Spring Cleaning and the re-discovery of Misfit Toys. You gotta love 'em.


BurtonBookReview said...

I love the nostalgia of Misfit toys =)
I still have some old things around that I am trying to shield from toddler's grubby hands.
And I, too, am the eternal hugger of the underdog. Misfit, be damned =) wink wink

Lucy said...

Ahh the poor Misfits of life...although they appear not to try- they really are begging for attention. The poor stuffies and old toys that would seem trivial to most, usually thrown to the side, thirst for that spotlight rather than lurk in the shadows.

Sensing their weakness, it's truly the kindest hearts that are usually the most obliging:) You my dear Leslie have a huge heart and a keen sense of perception.

Leslie Carroll said...


I love you ladies!

Lizzie said...

Misfit toys, you have got to love them. It makes you wonder how toys become labeled misfit's. I think my kids love the Misfit ones the best, the ones that are so broken down I do not want them to play with them. I usually will sneak into their rooms and steal them while they are sleeping to get rid of them.

Leslie Carroll said...

Liz, I'm guessing that many kids (and kids at heart) like to imagine that their toys have souls and that the toys would know if they were being rejected for being in less than perfect condition, so they'd want to avoid offending the toy by discarding it, or letting it fall off the bed in the middle of the night, etc.

Of course, anthropomorphizations of toys like The Velveteen Rabbit (now there's a heartbreaking story) and the Toy Story movies feed that aspect of our natures.

And I'm thinking that mounted right over the toy box, there's a shelf containing some beloved reads as well ... on the "shelf of Misfit books."

Arleigh said...

In my home the misfit toys reign... there are so many of them that they aren't the exception anymore, but the rule. Does that make them uninteresting? Not to a 9 year old anyway.

Leslie Carroll said...

Good point, Arleigh! And it's also true of human nature that the more someone claiming to be an authority tells you not to do something -- "don't play with that toy (or person)"; "don't read that book," etc., it's suddenly the first thing you want to do.

And speaking of books, so many of the great books (and fun reads) of western literature have been on communities' banned books lists; and I look at those lists and wonder what the fuss is all about -- why shouldn't people read them -- and I become very curious to find out for myself, so naturally, I'll be eager to get a copy of the book.

Bearded Lady said...

I have a whole collection of the misfit toys from the movie. My favorite is the doll. Yes, gotta love those misfit toys and that part of Rudolf always gets me teary eyed too.

Leslie Carroll said...

Carlyn, I didn't know the actual Misfit Toys were available. Oh, how wonderful! I find that scene an annual tearjerker as well.