Community Papers

COLUMN: Unbaffled by fuzziness: A tale of giving

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I have a number of words in my personal lexicon, as do we all.

These are words that predominate our daily speech, because we like them, and they have become habit.

My words? Lovely. Baffled. Warm and Fuzzy.

I think it’s lovely that you’re reading this, although you may be baffled when I tell you that I’ve just spent 15 minutes of taxpayer time researching the origin of the Warm Fuzzy (I promise to be extra efficient later in my day to make up for it).

Wordsense.eu tells me that the term Warm Fuzzy comes from A Warm and Fuzzy Tale by clinical psychologist and transactional analyst Claude Steiner, who explored the relationship between rational information and emotion — love, in particular.

First penned in 1969, the tale describes a long-ago land in which everyone received a bag of warm fuzzies at birth, which they gave freely to one another throughout their lives.

That is, until a malevolent witch suggested that the bags of warm fuzzies were not bottomless as once believed, and could run out.

This spawned greed, hoarding, distrust, and other cold pricklies.

It even spawned a side market of plastic fuzzies — essentially, the things we do for one another for less than altruistic reasons.

The ending is inconclusive: will we ever remember that our capacity to give is bottomless?

I have been a recipient of a great number of warm fuzzies in my lifetime, and I’ve tried to give them, too.

They make me feel lovely. Warm Fuzzies can be the hug to the kind gesture to the donation; the meal cooked, the ride given, the walk shovelled.

I have come home to find my house cleaned by fairies and discovered my car repair bill paid by elves. Sometimes I know my elves, sometimes I don’t, but these are clearly people who know there are enough warm fuzzies to go around.

This time of year warm fuzzies abound.

‘Tis the season, after all. Of course, those last-minute donations for tax receipts are great for both giver and receiver — and yes, the library would very much like yours; go to nelsonlibrary.ca and click “donate.”

That way, we can extend that fuzziness year-round.

The library understands the warm fuzzy. Author Barbara Kingsolver said that: “I’m of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.”

That’s because books — whatever form they come in — give in more ways that most of us can fathom.

And the library is a place to come together, to learn, to be delighted or informed, and sometimes even de-baffled.

And this time of year we are also a shelter — a warm place to go for those who need a place out of the snow.

Warm fuzzies are freely and regularly exchanged here.

There is also serious warm fuzziness at play next Tuesday, December 17.

It’s our annual Fines for Food Day, when fines paid benefit the Nelson Food Cupboard.

It’s also our Winter Celebration Reading at 7 p.m. with nine authors reading, music, and wonderful edibles.

Admission is by (warm, fuzzy, generous) monetary donation to the Nelson Food Cupboard, who will also be on hand to help folks sign up for monthly giving, so that warm and fuzzy feeling can go on all year.

Even $10 a month can make a big difference.

A Warm and Fuzzy Tale is long out of print. But you already know how to be warm and fuzzy, don’t you?

It’s not so baffling, but it is lovely.

 

— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to www.nelsonlibrary.ca

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