Avatar Iconography

Remy_avatarOccasionally, restaurants have a picture menu. As you ponder your order, it occurs to you that there was a moment when someone plated up the beef stir-fry in black bean sauce and took its photo.

You don’t see picture menus that often these days and in a digital age where people tweet photos of their lunch or Instagram their favourite beer, we are probably less inclined to think about it. Nevertheless, sometimes I wonder if that’s how people view my Twitter avatar. Do they look at it and recognise that at some point I took pictures of a stuffed toy rat? It’s really cute though, right?

I received the bestest tweet ever the other day from my esteemed kind-hearted twitter-friend and fellow blogger Sinéad O’Hart.

twitter coment

Not only did it warm my heart and make me grin like a plush toy rat, I wondered if it was time we were all introduced. That little plush toy represents a lot of who I am.

His name is Remy, and animated film buffs may recognise him as the rat from Pixar’s Ratatouille. I have such a soft spot for animations. The DVDs I own are pretty much divided into ‘Animated’ and ‘Everything Else’. Some other favourites include Hoodwinked, How To Train Your Dragon, WALL-E, Up! and The Emperor’s New Groove. It’s kind of a double win because Remy also reminds me of the rat from Horrible Histories which (for those unaware) is an historical documentary program that is totally not for children.

As an avid collector of bric-a-brac and oddments, it is not surprising that Remy and I met at a market. I’m not quite sure what I exclaimed at the sight of him, but I plucked him out of a bin where he partied with a whole heap of other toys and instantly adored his beady eyes, manic grin and awry whiskers. Of course, I look at toys and think of Toy Story, and I wonder about their journey. And Remy didn’t seem to have a story. He was immaculate with unhugged-fur and a plush face that told me he’d never been slept upon.

We had an instant bond, but I looked at this toy and I had visions of my husband’s eyebrows disappearing into his hairline. And he’d be right to disapprove. In terms of things that fall into the ‘don’t need’ category, Remy matched every criteria (except perhaps ‘enormity’). And even I thought I should have moved on from collecting toys. I looked to the lady who held the stall and quietly hoped he would be so expensive it would ease the burden of walking away. She smiled. ‘Take it,’ she said, ‘You can have it.’

With flushed cheeks in a flourish of ‘reallys’ and ‘thank yous’, Remy was gifted to me by a stranger.

Remy’s favourite spot is the armchair, unless I have family or friends over and I move him to the bedroom so no-one sits on him. Sometimes I forget and Remy’s story is retold as he’s handed around people trying to mimic his expression. He reminds me of kindness and market-going and the lovely people I have befriended there.

He’s also a symbol of how well my husband knows me. When I took him home his reaction wasn’t what I’d expected. I got a sigh and the ‘all-knowing’ eyebrows that said, ‘yep, I understand’. And when I nominated Remy to be my avatar, it was Hubby who took a hilarious montage of photographs until he got the light and angle just right. Like Remy had taken his own self portrait.


And Remy is happy. And happy is good.


5 thoughts on “Avatar Iconography

  1. What a truly wonderful story!! I love Remy – and I understand you so much! Many of my favourite films are animated. I love Disney – not really for the kind of person he was or for Big Bad Corp that the company has become now, but for the essential goodness of most of their animations. I spent my teenage years humming “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” or dancing to “Tale As Old As Time”, and I still believe that “miracles happen”, “every girl can be a princess” and “your heart will lead you home”.

    And well, those things are true! Dreams do come true! When my biggest ones did, you could tell by my wide green and me singing Disney songs while washing the dishes. “We made a wish and believed, and believed, and voila! Here we are!” (Yup, I’m a huge fan of Disney songs, in case someone hasn’t noticed :D)

    My little sis is a big fan of Horrible Histories – she introduced me to them, and although I haven’t yet had the time to read any books, some of the youtube films are amazing (and scary :)).

    • I love classic Disney too. There are *so* many to love!

      I must admit, I don’t know much about ‘Horrible Histories’ the books, I’m most familiar with the BBC television adaptation. It’s a very clever series so the books must be amazing! 🙂

      • Yes they are! I had a look at them when I was buying some for my sis, and they are truly awesome 🙂 I’m going to read them someday, that’s for sure!

  2. I’m so delighted to meet Remy! It should come as no surprise, of course, that such a deep and moving story lies behind his cute and instantly lovable exterior. What a beautiful thing for that stall-holder to do, and what certainty that Remy was meant to be yours. I have so many stuffed toys that I love (I don’t care what age I am!), particularly one which my late grandmother made for me in the months before she died. I have never been without it.

    I love animated movies too – not necessarily exclusively Disney ones – and I *love* ‘Horrid Histories’. Scary is good, sometimes. 🙂

    I love the photos of Remy at the end of your post. They’re like head-shots from his budding modelling career. I imagined ‘Vogue’ playing in my head as I looked at them. Strike a pose! 😀

    • Ah yes, Remy’s modelling days. He’s quite a shy rat and plays it down. He prefers to focus on his career as a chef and his work with Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein.

      I too have a *lot* of stuffed toys, A LOT. I have no toy-age issue either. Just space issues. And toy-guilt because I have a lot of childhood toys in cupboards that never see the light of day and while I love them all (often for hugely sentimental reasons), Remy appears to get special treatment. Which proves I can cultivate anxiety from nothing! 🙂

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