Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reborns: Fake Babies

A story my family told me while we were all at dinner this weekend completely blew my mind.

My parents took my sister's family out to eat, & while they were waiting they were approached by an adult couple who said something about my little nephew. The woman was also holding a baby, nuzzled up to her neck while she talked about it.

At some point, everyone noticed the baby she was holding wasn't moving around. Then, they realized that it was actually a life-like doll. Yes, a doll.

My sister was bewildered I guess & said something along the lines of 'Oh, I thought it was real."
The lady looked intensely at my sister & sternly corrected her "It's a 'her'... & her name is ______"

Of course, they said it was the most awkward situation you could possibly imagine. To make it thoroughly bizarre, the couple kind of hung around the table as my family waited to be served. The lady talked about how the doll was cold because of the chilly weather, & other completely imaginary things. They started talking about a long car trip later that night, which would be tough on the 'baby'. Finally my Dad had enough I guess & suggested, "Well, you better get going then..."

Although they seemed a little 'off', the consensus seemed to be that neither appeared outright crazy. As I was listening to this story at the dinner table, me & my brothers had our jaws to the floor. My parents thought it was a prank, like a hidden camera show.

Immediately, my mind started reeling with questions & general confusion.

• What's the car ride like for those people- do they put the doll in a car seat & keep talking to it?
• What the hell is going on in their house & do they have visitors who can put up with that crap?
• Were they at all envious of being around a family w/real baby or do they see it as another family that's just like them?
• What outrageous reactions must they get from strangers who don't have my relatives' consideration & experience with unpredictable wackiness?

Even though I didn't experience it first hand, I can't stop thinking about the peculiar quirks of human nature that could give rise to such behaviors.

I joked that if I was there to see it, I would have acted like I was tickling the doll's chin & then ripped it's head off!!! Yes, that's horrible.
However, the compassionate side of me has some empathy for what must be intense emotional distress that is trying to be alleviated.

This kind of thing makes me think about all the crap that billions of people have to deal with moment to moment in their own imperfect individual worlds. It also makes me thankful that I've had a decent run in life so far, with a social network of many family & friends. Personally having the joy of family w/ little nephews & nieces sprouting up, having loved & felt heartbreak, having experienced the loss of death, it's understandable that some people could snap under the inevitable pressures of life. Desperate desire for love, tragedy, or trauma can make people do unreasonable things.

Just because I can sympathize, though, doesn't mean I find this kind of craziness acceptable for otherwise functioning members of society who aren't suffering from something like Alzheimer's. We all live out fantasies to one degree or another through movies, video games, acting, role playing, etc. However, if you seriously expect total strangers to buy into your personal delusions & act like a freakin' doll is alive, then you are just being insane AND rude- not a great mix.

Anyway, my sister sent me this link someone wrote about this fake baby phenomenon, which are commonly called 'Reborns':

My Fake Baby. Yikes!

There is an embedded link to the BBC site about this (hopefully) rare trend:

Watch, & be astounded:

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