Hand Puppet Day

My good friend Sandra Nickel posted on Facebook that Squirrel Appreciation Day was January 21. I hope you were kind to a squirrel. I have a Scaredy Squirrel hand puppet, so I pulled it out of hibernation and took pictures of it to show my support of the day. Anything for a cause. But even without the excuse of Squirrel Appreciation Day, the day seemed tailor made for a Hand Puppet Day.


What’s a Hand Puppet Day? It’s a day when I’m feeling trwxhrlw—a word I made up that’s really just a grunt to convey how desperately in need of change I am—a good change though, not like a sudden temperature drop; I’ve had enough of those. (It’s minus one right now.) It’s a day when I’m tired of worrying about whether I measure up or who I might be letting down.

It’s also a social experiment day—a day to shake things up. I do that every now and then. Like the day I roamed around Michigan Avenue in Chicago wearing a Hello Kitty backpack, just to see if anyone would ask me about it. Several kids stared, whether out of envy or confusion, I wasn’t sure. It’s also like the time I went to work a few years ago, wearing a tall Goofy hat from Disney World. As was the case with the Hello Kitty backpack, no one commented.

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So, yes, I’m an adult with a Scaredy Squirrel hand puppet who isn’t afraid to use it. (If you’re not sure who that is, Scaredy Squirrel is a character in this picture book by Mélanie Watt.)


When I was in grad school, I brought a different Scaredy Squirrel picture book to school each semester. Outside of the program (writing for children and young adults), such behavior would probably result in a raised eyebrow or two. But on a day like Hand Puppet Day, even if I got the raised eyebrow, I don’t have to care.

You see, on Hand Puppet Day, it’s okay to embrace your weirdness. It’s okay to let yourself off the hook and silence the voice whispering that you’re not measuring up somehow. On Hand Puppet Day, it’s okay to throw out the measuring stick.

589556-1For some reason, this reminds me of a quote from Moonstruck, the 1987 film written by John Patrick Shanley, who won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. It’s one of my favorite films ever. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid a spoiler, so feel free to skip over this paragraph. One of the characters, Ronny Cammareri (played by Nicolas Cage) is kind of an odd duck. Hand Puppet Days were made for him. One odd day, Ronny falls for his brother’s fiancée, Loretta (played by Cher). Ronny tells Loretta:

Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice—it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.

That might seem like an odd quote out of context. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating a homewrecking relationship. But it reminds me that the human experience isn’t always neat or cookie cutter or status quo. Life sometimes is a mess. Some days we wake up feeling trwxhrlw. I think of that quote, because on a day like Hand Puppet Day, I realize I’m not “here to make things perfect,” even if I have the delusion that perfection can be achieved. I’m here to live and to brandish a hand puppet every now and then.

Do yourself a favor: declare today a Hand Puppet Day! You don’t have to have a hand puppet. Just embrace who you are—all your wonderful quirks. Hope to see you on Michigan Avenue. I’ll be the one with the Hello Kitty backpack.

In preparation for my ice cream give away, please comment below with the answer to the question, “Where do you get your ice cream/yogurt?” Baskin-Robbins? Culver’s? Dairy Queen? Oberweis Dairy? Other?

42 thoughts on “Hand Puppet Day

  1. Three cheers for HPD. I’m so glad you’re persisting with this rebellious tradition over there in the ex-colonies. We had to stop it in this house after one of the puppets kept repeating ‘RedRum, RedRum.’
    My favourite place to buy ice cream, RedRum and Raisin flavoured of course, is the ice cream truck that stops in our street. It plays the theme tune to Capatin Pugwash (A kid’s TV show) to let me know it’s anchored up outside. £1.20 for a cornet, vanilla-style synthetic gunk and chocolate sauce delight. No summer would be the same without it.

    • I miss the days when my brothers and I would beg our mom to let us buy ice cream. She would reply that there was ice cream in the freezer. But it wasn’t the same!!!
      You have to watch those hand puppets and dolls. Sometimes they come to life and turn murderous.

  2. I am determined to watch Moonstruck again now. With a hand puppet. I also love that movie.

    When we buy ice cream, it is usually from Harris Teeter. Single serve chocolate peanut butter Haagen Dazs. For MTM, the only custard is Kopp’s.

    • Love Haagen Dazs! I also have a deep appreciation for Bluebell, thanks to being in Texas over Christmas.
      Wow. Harris Teeter sounds like the ice cream should be nicely gift wrapped. 😀

  3. I need to find a Goofy hat for the toddler.

    For the last few years I’ve been doing the ‘on sale’ ice cream choice. So it’s been Turkey Hill, Ben & Jerry’s, Friendlys, and Edys. If we go out it’s usually Friendlys or a local self-serve frozen yogurt place.

  4. I love hand-puppet days (even if I’ve never called them that). I feel like I do that privately with my socks, but not nearly enough people get to see those. Imma need a goofy hat. 😀

  5. Oh, I love the movie Moonstruck! It’s been years since I’ve seen it. I love the line, “Snap out of it!”

    Ice cream! It’s so cold, the thought of ice cream gives me the chills, but in the summer, it would be Baskin Robbins. 🙂

  6. As far as the Hello Kitty backpack, I can’t tell you how many people ask about the LEGO keychain hanging from my backpack. In fact, I bought it at the LEGO Store in Chicago so it has Chicago right on it. Yay! But for me it’s not Hand Puppet Day but every day.

  7. Our native red squirrels here in Britain are increasingly being marginalised by the more aggressive greys. Being an island is our greatest defence, and someone brought them over in all good intentions, but soon they were running riot, pushing out the native population. Same thing happened with the Saxons 🙂

  8. Linda–I was just reading a book about the link between children’s pretend play and creativity–so power to you with hand puppets. You’re way ahead of the rest of us.

    As for ice cream–prepare yourself for a shocker–although Andreas & Olivia think the only desert that exists on earth is ice cream, it’s not really my thing. Probably because of my dairy intolerance. 😦 But, hay, sorbet can be excellent!

  9. There’s a place near us called Strickland’s that makes frozen custard. One of the occasional flavors is Birthday Cake Oreo… made with those birthday cake Oreos of course… Sooooo good. 😀

  10. There are so many things to love about this post, L. Marie. When our grandchildren were born, we still had the hand puppets–frogs and a bear and a lamb–we’d enjoyed with our daughter! And the line from MOONSTRUCK, especially “…The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die” is one of my favorite lines to use as a writing prompt in my workshops!
    Our favorite place for homemade ice cream and gelato is The Creamery in Old Colorado City (the westside of Colorado Springs). Yummm!

    • I’ve always loved a hand puppet. When I taught Sunday School, my students loved the ones I brought.

      That’s a great line to share with students!! I’d love to attend one of your workshops.

  11. Pingback: Toy Story | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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