I get by with a little help from my best friend

Melissa Dilley

I’m 21 years old, and I can’t live a day without my best friend. His name is Joshy, and he is a stuffed animal – a stuffed ladybug to be exact.

I chose Joshy in seventh grade to be the namesake for my favorite actor, Josh Hartnett. Since then, Joshy hasn’t had to live up to any name. I have an entire roomful of things dedicated to the stuffed animal that sparked my love for an entire collection of the red, spotted insect.

This may seem strange to some, and others may consider me downright crazy, but I think my feelings toward this inanimate object seem perfectly natural.

When I consider the qualities a perfect friend might possess, I think most can agree on some common ones: Best friends are always there for you and are good listeners; they do things you like and never complain; they support your dreams and ambitions and will follow you wherever you go. That is the kind of best friend anyone would like, right?

Joshy has met all of my human friends, and they get along great. Everyone thinks he is cute when I bring him to sleepovers and even on road trips to spring break in Florida.

Now that I think about it, all the times I went on vacation with him, he didn’t complain about money and accommodations. As for all the times I left him in the care of my mom because I couldn’t invite him, he understood and didn’t consider me any less of a friend.

Joshy is totally drama-free (except for the time my ex-

boyfriend spilled milk on him, which ended with my tears and my mom carefully dabbing the ladybug’s stomach with a cloth and some laundry detergent).

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about typical college students. Our friends are sometimes drunks, cheaters and rivals. Sometimes, we can’t trust everything we hear or trust anyone enough to not repeat something we know is true.

As the old saying goes, three can keep a secret if the other two are dead.

But I’m a journalist. I love to tell stories and dish out the scoop. So what am I to do when a friend tells me a juicy story and I can’t repeat it to anyone else? Tell Joshy, of course! He is an unbiased party, and besides, he wouldn’t tell a soul – mainly because he can’t.

When you have a big group of friends, you have to worry about jealousy, gossip and alienation. Those should be the least of my worries when I don’t know where I’ll be working in a month, when I’m graduating or what I’m going to do with my degree.

My mom, who lives far from the dramatics of my friends and Kent State, should have the right answers and be willing to give advice, right? But we’re young, and who wants to listen to parents who don’t really know what they are talking about?

Joshy, as usual, doesn’t try to answer my questions, and he doesn’t try to solve my problems or tell me I’m wrong. There are many nights I just prop my head on top of his and drift off to sleep to stop myself from thinking. He never gets upset when my tears soak the red, felt hearts that top his antennae.

I would never trade the love and laughs I get with my friends and family, but there’s no way I would give up the quiet and supportive companionship Joshy has to offer.

When my mom offers suggestions I don’t prefer and when one friend starts to gossip about others, it doesn’t seem so crazy to turn the conversation to Joshy.

I truly believe the only way to stop myself from becoming certifiably crazy, like some think I already am, is to do something a little out of the ordinary – like tell a little ladybug how I feel.

Maybe it’s time everyone started digging out their old stuffed animals and became a little bit less stressed. You’d be crazy not to try it.

Contact news editor Melissa Dilley at [email protected]