Ode to Urban Artifacts: A Bear, a Brick, and a Pity Party

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Teddy bear, festival-ed-the-f**k-out © The Middle Ground, 2015


Is there anything more Somerville than a stray teddy bear armed with a brick, lying wasted against a concrete curb on Highland Avenue?

Disillusioned and abandoned, perhaps she is heading to the first ever Pity Party, the latest event in the city’s never-ending festival season. Described by organizers as “a funny exorcism of all that’s been getting us down,” or as the New York Post put it “Miserable Massholes throw themselves a Pity Party,” this community event features someone called Drabby the Sad Clown and a host of self-indulgently morose activities. Basically, Pity Party is the mopey, Morrissey-listening cousin of Pizza Party.*

Or maybe Miss Teddy is just festival-ed out and that’s what the brick is for.


* I like Morrissey. I like pizza.


Ode to Urban Artifacts: A Curious Bird

© The Middle Ground, 2015

© The Middle Ground, 2015

The winter of our discontent and the long hibernation are over.

A mysterious woman was recently spotted dragging a red wagon full of old toys and trinkets around the neighborhood. There were no children in tow. When I arrived home later that afternoon, this small urban artifact – a tagless Beanie Baby of unknown value – awaited, perfectly perched on the rock wall below. It stood there for two days, disappearing on the third just before a rainstorm moved in.

The bird, subsequently identified as “KuKu” the Cockatoo, was about 7 inches long and retired from the beanie circuit on December 23, 1999.

Perhaps KuKu’s arrival was a coincidence, perhaps a whimsical gift from a neighbor. We may never know.

I, however, remain forever wary of unsolicited treats from colorful caravans. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I’m talking to you.

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