My name is Googie and I am an addict.
Time has blurred since I took that first fateful step down the slippery slope of psychological dependence. My habit began innocently enough, with little or no forewarning, at a typical summer garage sale. There, a cute, sweet-talking college girl had a whole large plastic tub of stuff to sell. I tried at first to resist altogether, then to be selective. But despite my best effort, I was soon caught up in the moment, totally enamored with the product she was dispensing. On that day, she kicked her habit for good, and I got hooked. That was the day I spent $35 to buy my first 103 Beanie Babies.
Fast forward almost three years. My collection now consists of 813 Beanies, in which I have invested an average of 86 cents apiece thanks to auctions, yard sales, and thrift stores. The variety of styles and colors is impressive, with no two exactly alike. Do the math, however, and you will quickly see that I have squandered a little over $700 of my fixed retirement income on this menagerie of little bean-infested critters. To Pa-pa's dismay, they entirely consume a double-wide closet in my upstairs hallway, barely leaving space for a sad, lonely stick vacuum. Meanwhile, the seasonal Beanies stretch across the fireplace mantel downstairs. Pa-pa is sure we are slowly being beanied out of house and home, and his fears may not be that far-fetched.
Originally, I convinced myself that I was starting the collection for Sooby, my only grandkid at the time. It would be fun to give her a Beanie once in awhile on holidays and other special occasions, I reasoned. With a stash of 103 on hand, I would not have to pay the usual $5-$6 retail price for a long, long time. However, when I spread them all out on the built-in ledge below my family room windows, they just looked so darned cute. That is when I came kicking and screaming to the conclusion that I wanted to keep them all for myself.
I have since found that there is great play value in Beanies. Sooby is fascinated by the fact that each one has a different name. For example, my Beanie fish--Propeller, Bubbles, Aruba, Jester, Goldie, Lips, and Reefs--are fun to pitch into a fish bowl. She also loves the individual four-line poems that come on their heart-shaped hang tags and is always wanting me to read her their "nursery rhymes." Many times we have pulled the likes of Chopstix, Bliss, Bananas, Mischief, and Pops from the shelf and acted out "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." Other times, we use the coffee table to stage makeshift "puppet" shows. The Beanies are soft and cuddly and perfect for small hands. Their play potential is limited only by the imagination of a three-year-old and her Googie.
No doubt, bona fide collectors would shudder at any scenario involving Beanies in grubby little hands that are sometimes less than gentle. They might cluck their tongues at the tiny creases we sometimes leave in the hang tags as a result of spirited, boisterous play. They might bemoan the decreased monetary value of an itsy-bitsy spider named Hairy about the twenty-fifth time he washes down the water spout.
But here's what I think. First and foremost, these Beanies are toys, and toys belong in the hands of children. It would be criminal to deny a child access to these catalysts of imagination. The fun that Sooby and I have and will continue to have with the Beanies makes the investment of a few bucks well worth it.
Yes, my name is Googie, and I am an addict. So if you happen to see a yard sale where I might get my next Beanie fix, please let me know.