An Ode to the Tiny, Silly Things That Delight Us

Last year, around this time, I was visiting Sara in Atlanta, and we decided to go check out all the new Halloween stuff that was getting put out super early (as is typical nowadays, I guess?) I introduced her to the glory that is discount places like Home Goods, and I thought her eyes were literally going to pop out of her head when she saw ALL THE HALLOWEEN. We bought… a lot.

But one of the things we found that day was – and I swear I’m not lying – a VAMPIRE NUTCRACKER.

Seriously, can you believe something so bizarre and awesome even exists?? Sara obviously bought it immediately for like $7, and we brought it back to her house. When we took it out again to admire its majesty, we realized that the vampire’s little cane was topped with a bat. A bat with a ridiculously simple and adorable smile.

Okay, so you might think this is a little absurd, but this little bat smile makes me SO HAPPY. There is no detail whatsoever. It has pretty much the most basic little face it could possibly have. But somehow that makes it 1000% better to me. I look at it, and I am instantly and totally delighted.

I just got back from another trip to Atlanta, where obviously Sara and Jared are already decorated for Halloween, and I was reminded of this little bat when I saw him sitting out amongst the other festive items. There he was, just smiling away, content and waiting to brighten my day.

Every once in a while you find these tiny, absolutely inconsequential things that bring an inordinate amount of joy. Sometimes we barely notice them – maybe we just give them a little smile as we walk by – but some days they mean more than they have any right to mean.

After realizing how much happiness this little bat brings me, I tried to think of other similar things… but they’re a lot rarer than you might think. Things like rainbows, the way that milk swirls in coffee and tea, fairy lights in trees… these are all delightful and magical things, but they’re not utterly insignificant and RIDICULOUS in the same way that the bat is.

Of course they’re amazing, and so important, and totally make us remember the incredible magic that’s all around us in the world if we look for it… but that bat is something a little different. It’s a little spark of magic in something so silly that you’re almost embarrassed to admit how much you love it.

Sure, you could argue that rainbows and twinkling lights are small too, in the grand scheme of things, but there’s still something that sets the bat apart in my mind. I think it might be that the bat feels like he’s uniquely mine. I don’t know that anyone else would get the kind of giddy, magic feeling from him that I do, but that’s part of what makes him special. Many people can sense the magic in a rainbow… but the bat’s silly magic? It’s just for me.

One of the only other things I could think of that I felt might qualify is all the way back from when I was in high school. When I got my driver’s license, I was allowed to basically take over my family’s red Pontiac convertible. It was pretty old by the time I got it – sometimes the windows wouldn’t roll up all the way up and you had to physically yank them up yourself, and sometimes the roof leaked – but I absolutely loved that car and all the freedom it gave me.

One of the ways I made it “mine” was by installing a small red stuffed lobster in the front window. To be honest, I no longer remember where he came from, or how he became the mascot of my car, but once placed he became an institution. And yes, he was completely silly, and yes, he made me goofily happy. The car is sadly long gone, but I still have that little lobster, and he still brings me joy.

[Um… artist’s interpretation? :P.]

So this is my little ode to those tiny, silly things that delight us. They might not seem like much of anything to anyone else, but I think they’re important and even a little magical too, in their own strange and wonderful ways.

Do you have anything like this that delights you? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Maryn Boess

    What a lovely post! I’ve been thinking lots lately about the little things … the inconsequential things … how these are the things that anchor us to the groundedness of our lives, who we are, the road we’ve traveled, our struggles and celebrations. My environment is filled with what other people might call mementoes – but they’re so much more, aren’t they? … little jolts of joy and delight and silliness and gratefulness, a thousand times a day and more. On the dashboard of my car is a miniature sock monkey. about 3 inches tall, with a very bewildered and adorable stitched-on expression, very sun-faded after 20 years of riding around everywhere with me. She was a gift from my best friend at a very tough period in my life. I love this baby with all my heart and never fail to get a warm hit of “Oh, there you are … still!” every time I get in my car. Delight! 💜💜💜🐵🐵🐵

  2. Michelle Pittenger

    I used to have two glittery pink and vanilla colored stuffed platypus figures. They were utterly ridiculous and completely delighted. I was editor of my college creative writing journal that year and my advisor referred to them as “our numinous beasts” in his forward to the journal.

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