I have never been the kind of person who pumps a stress ball in their fist whenever they’re feeling, well, stressed. I always used to tangle my dad’s Newton’s Cradle, which gave me anxiety, and I am too old to appreciate the value of a fidget spinner. In short: I have spent my professional life thinking that I wouldn’t benefit from a little object on my desk that could perhaps provide a bit of pleasure in times of great office-related strife.
And yet, last year, when a beloved colleague—noticing that I was near losing my damned mind about some project I was working on—plopped a chubby, gooey bunny onto my mousepad, I realized something. It’s not that I am not a desk toy person. I just hadn’t found the toy for me until that moment I was, to my delight, confronted with a “mochi squishy toy.”
Squishies are exactly what they sound like—marshmallow-like little figurines, in the shapes of animals, fruit, and a bunch of other irresistible molds. If Cute Overload were still operational, squishies would have their own category. If therapists handed them out at the end of sessions, people might walk out with a bounce in their step more often. I mean, seriously: Look at these tiny cats lounging on their backs, with bellies just begging to be poked. Don’t you feel better already? Don’t you want to start collecting them en masse and giving them out to anybody who looks like they’re having a rough day? This20-piece set comes with bunny rabbits, for goodness sake. I feel less anxious just looking at them.
Anyway, the colleague that inaugurated me into this obsession has since moved across the country; now that I work at home, my stress levels have fallen significantly, but I still keep that little rabbit on the bookshelf while I’m working, just in case I need a dose of adorable to break up the afternoon.