At the Aporklaypse the other night, after my friends and I had consumed so much bacon that we could not move from the living room, we got talking about our favorite childhood stuffed animals. Among the replies were Winnie the Pooh, “the pink Care Bear with hearts on its stomach,” a stuffed cat named Pussycat (haaa), and, “none, I hated stuffed animals.” (That would be Carly.) If there had been a prize for the weirdest answer, I think I would have won. “I had a stuffed crocodile, though I think he was actually a dinosaur,” I said. “His name was Biff.”
I should not have used the past tense, because Biff is still with us. In fact, he lives on my bookshelf.
“Like Biff from Back to the Future?” someone asked. “But he was a jerk!” No, that character is not Biff’s namesake. (I didn’t see Back to the Future until I was in college, unfortunately.) I won Biff at a church bazaar when I was 7 or 8, which is also when I subscribed to Zillions, the kid-targeted offshoot of Consumer Reports that folded long ago. I remember reading a cartoon in Zillions in which one of the characters was named “Biff,” and I thought that name was a riot. It’s just fun to say. (Try it!)
Biff has had a rough life. Before I decided he was my favorite, I colored his two fabric teeth blue with permanent marker, and when I didn’t like how that looked, I ripped them off. Sometimes the pupils of his eyes fall out and I have to wedge them back in. And he has a big hole in the back of his head that refuses to stay shut, even after multiple attempts at stitches. This part isn’t so bad – I used to take the stuffing out and give Biff different wigs. He liked looking like George Washington the most.
Even though Biff was a deformed mutant of a crocodile (or dinosaur), he still was able to make a friend. My childhood BFF Becky had a stuffed ALF, and he and Biff really hit it off. They’d hang out whenever we had sleepovers.
I had an inordinate number of stuffed animals when I was a kid – seriously, it was out of control. And for some reason, I chose this tiny (not good for hugging!), decrepit creature (you can’t even tell what he’s supposed to be!) as my favorite. I wonder what this says about me.