A healthy dose of loon is necessary for achieving a more worldly view created by all who take advantage of a computer network. Without counting the eccentric and possibly dangerous citizenry of cyberspace, we would have an incomplete forecast of our current society. The more time someone spends surfing the net, the less shocked they’ll be, coming by the Subservient Chicken or badger . After so much exposure to the internet’s endless dedication to crazy, it seems that the uneasiness begins to even out and gain popularity, spreading and copying itself, leaving you waiting to be taken by something new to the next level of weird.
It’s no wonder why I didn’t blink an eye when a plush animal commented in my journal. The user icon, a refreshing change from copyrighted movie stills, was decently cropped and modified in an animation shop. The handle was “student monkey”, featuring a colorful profile. “And the monkey’s going to school. That’s nice.”
The beanie baby wrote in broken English, reading like any other low-budget RPG translated for American release. I had played such games before and entertained my newfound toy by offering a banana, a well-received maneuver. The idea of getting occasional commentary from something pierced with a TY tag appeared safe enough. Granted, the monkey didn’t do anything terribly flashy like smoke or curse. But friendship is something you can never have enough of, so began the one between baboon and me.
One night I was going down my list of mutually added feeds and noticed that there appeared to be two similar titles having to do with a monkey. I checked them both to discover that they were one in the same.
“This is my new home, where I will start, again. Hopefully things will be better, here.”
“That’s odd,” I thought. “Why did the student monkey pack up and leave if it was just going to go be the same monkey, all over again?”
Through the seasons, I would routinely drop in on my circuit and browse any of the new, locked entries by the monkey going as Ramses the Baboon. He had his own bio, a mommy he loved very much and a handful of friends who found his latest romps with the other stuffed animals, adorable.
“Today a girl kissed me and her cheeks turned red afterwards. I do not understand this. I hope she is okay.”
“It’s called blushing, Ramses! That means she likes you!”
“Wow,” was all I could think, scrolling multiple replies, one being a direct link to information on blushing. Ladies, especially, were eating this up. “The only way I would take any kind of interest in this,” I began to think, “is if it was..what IS this? What kind of guy goes such cutesy lengths for attention? And if he wants attention, why does he keep this from the general public?”
“It’s a girl,” avowed nonagon, prior to viewing an entry featuring the baboon propped up in front of a piece of paper with sissified handwriting. “That just sounds like something…yeah, I’m pretty sure. It’s a girl.”
“What the fuuuuck,” jsin00 responded, also dragged by me into the enigma. Together, we continued to observe the bizarre phenomenon of a sewn jungle creature entering blogs long enough to exchange a few words of role-play before retuning to the base of its manifestation.
Investigation at the first Journal of Ramses revealed very surprising bits. An early spot on the calendar had a friends-only post with a message from his mommy “behind the curtain”. There, I would find the motive I hadn’t even counted on.
“I started this journal because I had a student whose boyfriend suddenly died in a car accident… I started ‘giving life’…I started to notice that she would smile a lot more when the baboon was around…Yes I buy props…I do it because this stuffed animal, whose life was breathed into him by my imagination and desire to make others smile, did just that… I cannot tell you how horrible I have felt lately for my creative endeavor. My friends are making me seem like some sort of monster…”
Officially impressed by the Depth Of Ramses, I decided to keep up with his creation. I’d find myself staring into the backgrounds at the lighthouse on top of the cabinet. Dead-end image hosting. URL bits that googled a million useless matches. The bed frame Ramses was straddling. The reflection in the nearby mirror and some girl’s graduation photos on the mantel. Could that be her? A sister? How old is she? Progress had plateaued; it was time to move in and try something else.
“You know,” I attempted, “your owner certainly seems like a nice lady, to take such good care of you. Someone who you speak so highly of must be an awfully good friend to have! Do you know if she has a place where she writes, so I might be able to make a new friend?”
Did I proceed to wait by the modem, putting life on hold until I heard back from Ramses? No, but then I hadn’t had the chance to, either. Swiftly, he corrected, “She is not my owner. We love each other very much.” Once the record was straight, he went on, “…actually…yes. She has a journal, too. You’ll find it here…” Finally, what the person I’d bothered reading, actually wrote. Show me the girl with her hand up this popular baboon’s overly optimistic and brightly colored ass!
A black background loaded. Green words began to read broken, disheartening… I doubled checked the tab. Right person, terrible words. They would never let up.
“I’ve spent half the day crying and the other half trying to give myself pep talks to get my spirits back up again… things just got worse… If you love someone, you don’t tell everyone what goes on in quiet moments that happen between you two. To go on and on, publicly and proudly, about a point scored is unsportsmanlike. Thanks a lot, asshole…”
Day after day of emotional struggle. She would also be the moderator of a community for people at least 180 pounds and struggling with eating disorders. Around the time she started pleading for God to hold her, I couldn’t read anymore.
“What does that mean?” I tossed nonagon her interest in Oscar Wilde’s quote: I live in terror of not being misunderstood.
“I’m not sure. But she’s also quoting Elliot Smith. As in, just before suicide, Elliot Smith.”
The extravagant descent of self-image was a hard ride to take, for the map held truths so shameful to her that she was panic-stricken I might reach the end. Was this partially why she pretended to be something else, entirely? How many more self-declared symbols of hope and happiness have spouted from the edge? Which message did I receive? This was a scary place for sure, and I’d had too much virtual reality away from the shiny side. I found myself preferring the silly outlook. The fuzzy exterior…
I wanted the beanie baby back.