I got sent home early yesterday from Big Red Star. Why, you ask? Because of my comfort object.
A bit of backstory. In late January, my best friend committed suicide. Those who are versed in the Internet-reviewer community (and I know some of you are, I've seen a LOT of Nash references on this site) may know who I am referring to.
My friend's favorite video game character was Wario from Super Mario Brothers. Ever since his death, I have carried a plush Wario doll EVERYWHERE with me. I don't go down to the supermarket to buy milk without this little guy in my purse. He even sits on my wrap stand at work, and I have not gotten any complaints, ever, whether from manager, coworker, or custy. Hell, the store manager has happened upon me when Wario is on my register, and she considers it my little mascot.
Another note here -- I have Asperger's syndrome. YES, it is officially diagnosed (people who misdiagnose themselves as an excuse to be assholes is pretty much my berserk button). I'm pretty sure part of the reason why I feel the need to carry this doll everywhere is an autism thing.
So one of my coworkers notices Wario and asks me why I have him. I explain the situation and expect that to be it, but she just keeps pressing. Why did my friend not get help? Why did nobody else know about it? Questions that have been rattling around in my OWN brain since the day my friend died. It gets so pressing that I just break, sobbing into my Wario.
Most of the managers at my Star are pretty okay, but there's one -- I'll call her Ashley -- that everyone swears has no concept of cheerfulness. Ever. And wouldn't you know it, she's the manager on duty, and she happens to pass by while I'm in this state.
"Why do you have that stuffed animal?" she demands.
Still sobbing, I manage to choke out the words, "I need him." Now, I'm aware I should have said more, but I was not in a frame of mind where explaining it wouldn't cause me to get even more distraught.
Like I said, I've been carrying Wario around for four months, and this is the first time anyone has complained about him. "Y-y-you don't understand," I sob. "This is something I need. He helps me. I'm hurting."
"It's a stuffed animal," Ashley says disparagingly. "You're, what, 21?"
That did it. "My best friend committed suicide," I say. "My best friend. This doll is like my meds. I would not have him here if he did not serve a vital purpose, and that is helping me heal from the tragedy that has affected not only me, but people around the world. If we had someone who lost a family member at Sandy Hook, you'd let them wear a green ribbon, wouldn't you? I don't see how this is any different."
Ashley rolls her eyes. "If you don't put that stupid thing away I'll have to send you home."
If you're aware of my friend, you've probably seen a video of him giving an impromptu motivational speech telling all his friends that none of us are stupid and we are all important. For Ashley to blatantly call this doll stupid is going against everything the doll stands for in my mind. "I want to go home," I say, dissolving into tears again. Ashley says nothing else as I clock out and take my leave, still clutching Wario, still crying.
I feel so ashamed. I want my friend to be proud of me, not for him to see me as some work-shirking flake. But I was so angry.
I miss him.
-- Cat (based on this nickname, those in the know can probably figure this one out)