We can all breathe a little easier now. Bongo is home where he belongs.
In case you missed it, Bongo is the stuffed toy monkey that went missing last week en route to a restaurant. Fliers were quickly plastered around his Park Slope, Brooklyn, neighborhood promising $500 for his safe return. After a few anxious days, a good Samaritan spotted Bongo on top of a parking meter and reunited him with his overjoyed parents.
That's right: parents.
You see, Bonni Marcus and Jack Zinzi consider their little Bongo - and his Beanie Baby "brothers," Doe, Ray and Me - to be their children. They've cared for the Bongster for 10 years, talking to him, taking him on vacations and forming a "spiritual connection" with him. Losing him threw Marcus and Zinzi into a fit of grief that affected their very relationship.
And you thought I was weird for photographing monkey toys at an amusement park!
Yes, call them eccentric if you will. Call them misguided or sad. Call them people who need better things to do with their lives than fuss over a wad of plush.
Then call me, and I'll tell you all about the week I've spent traveling with my two decidedly non-stuffed children.
I'll tell you about arguments over glances and touches.
About slapping and wrestling fights both real ("She STARTED it!") and fake ("We're just playing! We like hitting each other!").
About complaints of hunger, followed quickly by complaints of "Do I have to eat all that?"
About the same four bars of the same number from Little Shop of Horrors being whistled (albeit nicely on-key!) for roughly 45 miles.
About endless jokes involving poop and pee.
About demands for souvenirs at every sightseeing landmark and sweets at every meal.
About name-calling, tantrums, spilled crayons, spilled water bottles and refusals to brush teeth, pick up clothes or stop [insert behavior here].
Bongo, on the other hand, does none of this. You can even leave him in a hotel room if you need some privacy.
Plus his parents have no worries about diapers, homework, doctor bills, college tuition or general angst about whether their little monkey and his cloth brothers will grow up to be productive members of society.