The Moose And Me

Dec 30

Even though I didn’t DO Christmas, I GOT Christmas.

“Got”— besides appreciating the spirit and joy of the season and all that —in the sense that I received actual gifts, including a trip to the Caribbean and a moose.

A moose? Perhaps I should explain.

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Once upon a time, when the children in my life were little buggers, I gave them these cuddly stuffed moose along with the book, When You Give A Moose A Muffin. As I so often do — and perhaps only a shrink can explain the deep implications of this — I fell in love with the gifts I gave and wanted one for my very own.

But alas, there were no more of these plush toys available. I would have to go forth in life, pretty happy, but moose-less. Until . . .  A Christmas miracle occurred. In the Hallmark store, where I was frantically searching for last minute cards and cocktail napkins of bright red and green, there he was! My moose.

He was like the others, just a little smaller and less plush. Who cared! He was cute and I was smitten. I took him home and named him Fleischman, in honor of the doctor on Northern Exposure, a show with a great affinity and true appreciation for moose.

And so, Moose Mania had begun. I started buying them everywhere I went. First, a little guy from the gift shop at the hospital where my husband was recovering from heart surgery. He flirted with the nurses on the pretense of showing them his cute little moose. (Think about it: it could have been worse.) We named the moose Gus, for no particular reason.

Then came Bullwinkle, who I got at a trade show.

Then Lucy, the big loose looking moose with long, floppy legs we found hanging out at a gift shop in Maine. And then, more. Many, many more.

The situation escalated when . . .

People started giving us moose as gifts. Moose Of All Nations, shapes and sizes — from a tiny moose-angel to hang on a Christmas tree to a big moose who served as a fuzzy footrest.

They also reported moose in the news: A Moose on the Loose, Moose on the March, A Moose in Manhattan, and came up with lots of cool moose puns: The Moose That Roared, The Moose Who Came in From The Cold, and the popular Chocolate Moose. This was all very entertaining at first, but when Sarah Palin came unto the scene, moose stories ceased to be funny.

Suffice to say: Fleishman has contemplated moosicide, but with the right anti-depressants and some intense therapy, he’ll be okay.

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The trip to the Caribbean (with pal Bullwinkle) will help, too.

Another setback in Moose World came when we sold the house in the country and had to consolidate our stuff into a New York apartment. Some of the moose, who were none too thrilled about this at first, now happily reside in my husband’s warehouse where they have lots of room to roam and do whatever it is that moose do when left to their own devices.

You may have noticed that I refer to these creatures as “who,” “he,” or “she,” never as “that” or god forfend, “it,” because, like all the stuffed animals you have ever cuddled and loved, they are not things at all.

Each one has a personality. Fleishman was a worrier even before Shootin’ Sarah came on the scene, Bullwinkle is full of piss and vinegar, Gus is a cross-eyed little guy who hides in your suitcase, Lucy is the lady moose with many offspring of questionable paternity.

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Hal, the latest addition to the group, who came to us via my now grown-up nephew, seems like a cheery chap these days, but he used to have issues. He wanted to be a reindeer so that he could fly with Santa, but don’t worry, it all worked out in the end. With the lights in his antlers and his can-do attitude, he got the job, much like Rudolph on that stormy Christmas night long ago, and now Hal enjoys being a moose. He has embraced his moositude. When he starts singing “I Enjoy Being A Moose” this whole thing will have gone too far.

Actually, I got two moose for Christmas. One was this moose door draft stopper. No, really. And just in time for the blizzard.

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I have a question. Why do so many people give me so many moose?

•Could it be because it’s the only thing I’ve ever collected, besides husbands?
•Do they like feeding my sense of whimsy?
•Do they secretly harbor a need for moose themselves? Stranger things have happened.

If the moose were chickens, I could use the old Woody Allen joke about not wanting to cure the brother (or was it the uncle?) who thought he was a chicken because “they needed the eggs.” But moose are mammals, and substituting milk for eggs in that story just doesn’t work.

No matter. I love them. No moose is definitely not good moose around here, and hey, I just realized something:  We don’t have a Mickey Moose. Yet. Hint, hint.

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