“I agree that man is pre-eminently a creative animal, predestined to strive consciously for an object to engage in engineering – – that is, incessantly and eternally to make to roads, no matter where they lead.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Notes From the Underground
It’s no secret, I get lost in some deep thought sometimes. Some have said my brain is too big for my skull, and some say that my skull is too small for my neck, and some have said that my butt is too big for my hips, and that my…well, you get the point. I’ve never been “normal” in a conventional sense of the word. As a matter of damn fact (it’s a new term, get to love it), I’ve been reading up on old russian novels and listening to whatever Pandora includes on my Wax Tailor station. It has turned my mind into a sort of rotting cull heap, and I’m okay with that.
I also got asked, very recently actually, “What’s this Zips character all about?” I gasped, certainly I assumed that If you know me, you know Zips. I never actually took time to think about Zips. In my deep thoughts, contemplation, adventures, and sometimes absolute wasting time driving around, Zips is always there. He’s my side kick, he’s my alter ego, he’s everything I wish I was but am not brave enough to be.
He’s a fucking stuffed bumble bee – and what made that particular russian quote stick out to me, and what reminded me of Zips was the fact that someone, somewhere, probably got paid a ridiculously large amount of money to design an innocent looking bumble bee with a rotund tummy, a big ole smile and a soft red nose. I can promise you, with all of the “engineering” that went into creating a Zips, with all of the time that went into constructing him (although I’m sure his raw material cost was about two cents), somebody thought to make him. Beyond that, somebody thought to buy him, and well, my possession of him has taken me down roads that typically don’t lead anywhere.
Here’s a quick rundown of the history of Zips and some philosophy to go with it
- he was purchased from a CVS in Anderson in 2012 as a gift for me because I was having the worst day ever. “There may be anti-wrinkle cream, but anti fat bastard cream there is none” -The Full Monty. The worst day I was having, well, it was directly connected with the fact that I was in a full blown relapse into my Eating disorder and wasn’t doing particularly well. I was a mess, I wanted to jump in front of a bus, and there wasn’t a single person that I could talk to that seemed to understand me, I wanted a magic wand to take the “fat” talk away, but well, that didn’t exist. Certainly no anti fat bastard cream, and certainly no magical pill that would take my disordered thinking away. When I got home, there was this ridiculous looking bee looking at me, I cried. I actually cried.
- Zips hung around the house, he didn’t really start his adventures until a bit later, when I ended up going on a bit of an adventure north and needed company for the ride. “All these I’m sorrys and I miss yous are useless, I fucked this one up long ago.” Alkaline Trio Fuck you Aurora. I had the urge to get out of town, and I did, I went a visiting, and Zips came along for the ride. Not only did we get into many shenanigans in spring/summer of 2013, we bonded in a road trip sort of way. Going awesome places (that we probably didn’t belong) like Fuzzy Zoellers Covered Bridge Golf Course, Lambeau Field, and an entire Island that we just about got kicked off of, we were unstoppable. I also learned, the hard way, that if you run hard enough for long enough you’re bound to crash. Somewhere in the middle of Tennessee I got confused, a complete and total sugar crash, and didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, somehow Zips in all of his cuteness and power and I ended up going on an adventure to a “package store” and an abandonded fireworks stand. We figured it out and got on our way. That’s when I knew Zips was more than just a stuffed be
- Our adventures continued throughout the rest of 2013, going to the beach, doing the sea mountain highway, hosting Thanksgiving, and my personal favorite, Zips got a girlfriend – a stuffed lady bug that was shaped identically to him, her name was Dots. “No, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me you’re looking for”. Johnny Cash. Throughout the end of 2013 we spent an incredible amount of time planning our next big adventure, but we also, ahem, became insomniacs. There’s an old saying out there that goes something along the lines of “nothing holy happens between the hours of 3 and 5 am”, and those were our prime hours. I was cranking away planning the trip to California and Zips drank…or maybe it was me…either way, we kept each other company. We started becomes a bit withdrawn and life was, well, hectic. Zips went to school with me and actually became famous with the other Pharmacy Tech people. Even on the roughest nights I could look down and see his damn face peering up at me from my bag.
- Oh yeah, we did a huge tour of Europe, it was huge, we saw lots of stuff, he was my rock for most of it. He tucked away in my motorcycle jacket when we were away from the bike and he hid in the tank compartment when we were riding. “Fucking Seabiscuit” Johnny Kessler (in drunken stumbling through the tree yard). Zips gained a fan club there too, all the people on the motorcycle tour knew Zips, asked about Zips and hell, he had his picture taken more than I did. If anything I was jealous of the little jerk a few times, but hey, that’s the risk you run when you’re hanging with an adorable stuffed bee.
- We went to California and drove a 30 year old BMW cross country in a three week long party with fellow BMW owners, and Zips became famous with across the country. “I can only assume that it is not me, but my presence, that you love – and since I hope to have some dimension above the physical, it saddens me to see you flounder the instant my body was out of reach” Hunter S Thompson The Proud Highway. I assumed there would be panic attacks on this adventure, but for some reason having Zips shotgun made everything okey dokey. We say deserts, ice storms, car shows, car dealerships, two oceans, two mountain ranges, you name it, we saw it. The coolest thing about the whole bit was that Zips was there. I mean, for an inanimate object, he sure gets a lot of attention.
- After that it gets cloudy, Zips and I had a rough patch – which well, we stuck together, but it wasn’t easy. There were a few times that Zips was soaked with tears, there were times that we slept in the car together, but he was always there. “With ten miles behind you and 10,000 more to go” James Taylor. Everything got thrown in the air, we had no idea where we were going, but we were trying to get there in a hurry. There was even a time that I got physically aggressive with someone three times my size trying to protect Zips from getting fed to a dog. That’s when I knew that Zips was something that wasn’t just an item, it was a part of me.
Fast forward, 10,000 miles farther down the road, I’m happy, and I sincerely thank Zips for some of that. In times that you feel like the world is going to self destruct and the grapes of wrath have made you wicked wine and you drink it without worrying about the consequences, I had Zips. It’s dumb, but it’s true. I don’t typically open up to people about “feelings” and all that touchy nonsense, I don’t need someone elses opinion on what to do with my life, which makes it hard to get over things. I turn to music, I turn to philosophy, but typically I turn to Zips, he’s everything I want to be, a chubby bee that always has a smile, that likes a dirty joke now and then, and dances like his pants are on fire.
Progressing into our “new” life, a life of more stability, I’ll still turn to Zips. I mean hell, we’ve been to 12 different countries together, been to countless states and back and forth across the country countless times too. I honestly feel like I’d be lonely without Zips, and well, if you don’t have a Zips in your life, maybe you need one. It doesn’t have to be a bee, it could be anything. What I have learned on this life long adventure with Zips is that sometimes people come and go, friends, co workers, family, they can let you down and hurt you once in a while, but a stuffed bee, he’ll never let you down (unless you lose him, which has happened a few times).
So, find yourself a Zips and start having more adventures, start caring less about what other people think and what’s best for you, and eat more tater tots (wait, that’s just for me). Keep moving, it’s the only way to stay young.
“Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed”