Not all discarded toys are sad toys as you too will discover with continued reading. The sad toy descriptor was something I picked up from The Pittsburgh Orbit and it has its origins beyond that. My eyes were open to the plight of these orphaned toys for the purposes of documentation. I don’t have room in my heart or my home to offer them a place to live. It had been awhile since I’d seen any sad toys. Then they appeared to me in droves. There’s an intriguing juxtaposition when something is not where you’d expect to see it, a fluffy toy curled up curbside for instance. The toys seem a long way from a cozy toy box. For the record this post mostly features portraits of lost toys found in my West Portland Park neighborhood except where noted.
Sleeping Bear News
Dirty, worn out and sleepy, these characteristics epitomize sad toys. The curb snuggles the bear. It’s disheartening to see a sad toy lying in the gutter and yet, it’s so authentic. What a find! What a photo op! With its hands in a prayer position this stuffy appears angelic, lost in a dream of happier times.
A lone car looks, well, lonely as if it did it’s best just to get itself parked and abandoned on top of the curb. It shines in the sun as if arriving fresh from the car wash.
Elephants: Never Forget
Imagine being an elephant discarded in a school yard. This little guy seems able to overlook this, reaching out for a big hug to any passerby willing to return the love.
This cat usually serves as a mailbox topper/decoration. There are times when the cat slides off the box for some face planting and dirt napping. The very definition of sad toys seems to be how trashed they can become when spotted in random locations most often the ground. Eventually, the cat ends up dusted off and back on the mailbox.
Is Ken of Ken and Barbie fame even a thing anymore? Has he been replaced by an Austin or Brandon at this point? I spotted this figurine, whatever his name might be, practically next door. I found Ken sunbathing in an uncomfortable posture using abandoned toys as a pillow. Getting beach ready left Ken in a state of rigor mortis.
Dipsy Do Little
The purple Teletubbie, Tinky Winky, made an appearance in this year’s Prince Tribute. So how could a character from Teletubies be considered sad? Try hanging around in a tree with a head strap in the elements like Dipsy here. A diet of ice, rain, hail, snow, wind and sun will do things to your brain. .
Pieces of You
Our North Portland correspondent Graham Marks spotted a sad toy in pieces in the Kenton neighborhood. It’s hard to imagine the scene but it had me considering a miniature bomb blowing up a figurine. We’re left with pieces mostly limbs and wire. With so little left, the imagination has to piece together what happened.
Majestic Sad Toys
These photos offer a misconception about sad toys. Some rise above sadness. New, unblemished toys, positioned in the right way, appear majestic. I stumbled upon these scenes in various locations along a trail that leads to the Multnomah Village neighborhood. In some of the scenarios you might consider a dinosaur on its side to be a sad sight and there are toys getting eaten by other toys, but these dioramas remain undisturbed. They elevate any possible sad toy status to a level of majesty and they look good doing it.
4 thoughts on “Sad Toys (Say So Much)”
Great photos, DC! I feel like sad toy purists (gulp) would frown at your Majestic Sad Toy collection as being a little too-staged, too diorama-like. But “You are getting very sleepy,” “Grounded cat,” and “Wire transfer” are some chef’s kiss-sized classic sad toys, expertly delivered.
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