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August 29th, 2016


(Illustration by EH Shepherd and shows Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin and Eyore walking in a row.)

Eeyore used to be my role model. Fun times.

When I was little my family owned an audio recording of The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne, which we often listened to on long car trips. This particular recording read by Norman Shelley also included the piano music to all the hums composed by H. Fraser-Simon.

My aunt gave us the recording and also played the songs on the piano for us. Her delight in them was infectious and I loved the stories.

Then one day, when I was a teenager I listened to the audio book again. That’s when I realised that The House at Pooh Corner is hilarious. Up until then I had taken the stories relatively literally. I thought Eeyore just needed to cheer up, worried for Tigger when he was starving hungry or stuck in a tree and assumed that Owl really was very clever. As a fourteen year old I suddenly realised that the stories were operating on a whole other level and on that level A.A. Milne was taking the piss.

In particular, I was very attracted to Eeyore’s dark sarcasm.

I felt like I was surrounded by falsely cheerful people who did not understand the true meaningless of existence. They were like Winnie the Pooh with their heads in the honey pot mumbling complete nonsense, whereas Eeyore might be gloomy, but at least he was coming up with some good lines.

I started to tell people that Eeyore was my role model. This was usually met by a laugh or eye-rolling depending on how fed up people were with my sullen and grumpy behaviour. In wanting to be like Eeyore I had failed to realise that yes, he was occasionally funny, and he did bring some welcome cynicism to the Hundred Acre Wood, but he was largely a pain in the arse.

I felt an affinity with Eeyore because he was gloomy but I aspired to be like him because he was funny. In the end I was one and not the other, and not the good way around.

I now know that Eeyore is not a good example to follow but I still think of him often. Every time someone asks me what I’m doing when it’s obvious what I’m doing I think, ‘Leaping from branch to branch of an oak tree.’

And every time I think I should do something, and actually wish I would do it, but also know it goes against my very nature (like dancing while sober, or speaking confidently in a second-language) I think, ‘We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.’ It’s very comforting. Cheers Eeyore.

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