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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Jack In The Box

When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” 
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

I had one of these Jack In The Box toys when I was a little, little kid.  Mine was metal, of course.  This one is Megan's from the early 80s so it's plastic with a big Mattel logo on its lid.

Same tune.  "Pop! Goes The Weasel." Why change a good thing?

"Hey man, don't mess with the classics!" 

Many people are creeped out by clowns.  I'm not for the most part, mainly because of going to the circus and having happy clown memories. Plus I avoid watching Creepy Clown movies.

But I can't imagine even the clown-phobic having the heebie-jeebies over this little fellow with his friendly, painted face.  On the contrary, he's very precious and actually his cheerful face makes me sentimental and teary-eyed. Maybe it's because, even after I had outgrown him and his box became part of the dollhouse furniture or the cornerstone for my Breyer horse stables made with up-ended books, his friendly face would inadvertently pop up, unbidden to say Hello!  Maybe I remember coming home from school after being teased and bullied and with a turn of a crank, he had his painted smile just for me. "I like you, even if they don't!"

No matter how many times a toddler shoves his poor, spring-loaded body back into the box, he'll still spring up to startle and delight that kid. He's a harmless toy.  There is no great back-story, no batteries, no movie tie in, nothing much to him except a cheap crank tune and his version of "peek-a-boo surprise."  If you play with him and a little kid, you both end up laughing.  If you allow yourself to loosen up and get into the spirit of the silly, simple game. Play doesn't need to be complicated. Who hasn't played "peek-a-boo" just once with a strange kid someplace.  Babies and toddlers love the game!

He always has a smile. He always springs back. He is innocence, consistency, joy and laughter in a square box.  Could he be a life metaphor?

Spring back with a smile!

To an adult, he is remembrance of simple things. Since I am a very sentimental person, he makes me a bit misty-eyed whenever I see him or his box on one of our side tables. This particular one has survived many a move and years of dusty ignorance to delight a new generation.  My nephew always plays with him when he comes to our house and we laugh!

He, like The Velveteen Rabbit, seems to have a soul of sorts and is honored here for his gift of laughter.

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