I guess you could call me a forty-two (going on forty-three next month) year old child at heart. I enjoy being silly, especially with my friends Eric and Gary. We cackle like chickens when we’re together. I talk to my dog Hoffman and respond for him in a high-pitched voice so that I can pretend we’re carrying on a conversation. I play tricks on my staff at work. Sometimes I make prank phone calls to the office disguising my voice to sound like I’m from India in order to get Lesley to make an appointment for Basit Vindalo because I have very, very bad diarrhea. Usually she just hangs up because she can hear me laughing in the other room.
Most of all, you could say I’m childish because I still collect toys.
In fact, I keep a secret collection of action figures in my bottom dresser drawer – superheroes, vixens, Purgatoria and even a dead girl. All female. I have a fetish for women in tights. Since I moved in with Chad I threw away (or secretly stashed some under the bed) most of my toys. Some remain as mementos to remind me of those days when I played with my Evel Knievel action figure and Scramble Van or my army of micronot men.
What is it about toys that we adults cling to them? Is it to hold on to some shred of childhood as the aging process accelerates?
In an abstract written in Developmental Psychology, the author Carollee Howes and Phyllis Stewart wrote that toddler-age children’s (11 to 30 months old) play with care-giving adults and with toys. More nurturing and supported families were associated with higher quality child care, whereas more restrictive and stressed families were associated with lower quality child care. More restrictive and stressed families were associated with more changes in child-care arrangements. Greater numbers of child-care changes also were associated with lower levels of competent play with objects and peers.
Another study pointed out that delayed adolescence in men resulted in a predilection to collect toys. Some of these toys were noted to be “adult” variants like cars, guns or even collective objects of art.
But what about adult men like me who still collect children’s toys? Are we still in a delayed adolescence or are we just immature adults who like to take out of chest of toys and play with them on days when we don’t feel good?
I can only vouch for the latter.
Anyway I freely admit I still collect toys which are clearly displayed in my office. The other day, while one patient waited for me to retrieve a prescription pad he took the following picture. The next day he emailed it to me with a note that said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I took this picture in your office the other day.” I didn’t mind at all.