It has been said in social study that human beings function best in groups of around one hundred and fifty.

The vague rule of thumb is that you have around five close friends in a ‘circle’ around you.
You then have ten in the next circle, thirty five in the next and a final circle of around one hundred.
These one hundred and fifty friends may change and evolve over years.

i am not sure if it is true or not and I have a little bit of emotional trouble ordering my friends along these lines, slight guilt that some are in close circles and some are in extended circles.
Slight nod to my own self deception to include people who may not belong in any circle.
It is also an emotional minefield trying to work out where you may be within other people’s circles.

If I am honest I don’t think about this much.

I heard it on the radio once and it chimed with something a friend had said at the time.
He said he had met a brilliant guy in the pub, they got on well, shared interests, laughed at similar jokes and had families around the same age.
At the end of the night they parted ways and never contacted each other again.
‘I have’ he said at the time ‘enough friends’.

So I imagine there probably is a finite number of people you can be close to but I also imagine the number changes from individual to individual.

Also, I imagine it would be interesting to see to what degree your friends need to actually be human to qualify for a place in the circles.

I am not going to get all funny and start talking about people who live with life size rubber dolls or keep twenty cats in the house.

I have no desire to do either of these things.

What did strike me as odd was earlier on today.

Prole2 was upset because he could not find Eeyore.

We had just returned from a stay with friends and I had unpacked the bags from the car and left them in the hallway.
Once of a day this would have been a well packed suitcase with the Proles and my belongings segregated so I could check them in and out.
These days it is four big shopping bags, one for me, one for Prole1, one for Prole2 and one for dirty washing.
The bags were in the hall and Prole2 was going through each of them.
No Eeyore.

It was raining outside so I did not automatically check the car.
I took the dirty washing and sorted it out and talked to Prole2 who stood with his nose pressed against the door to check when the rain stopped.

I am prepared for the loss of Eeyore.
We have been there before.
Childhood is a brutal time and there can be many casualties.
The first to fall in Prole2’s life was Monkey-Rabbit.
It was a Rabbit that Prole2 called Monkey. Monkey-Rabbit.
They were inseperable but one day Monkey-Rabbit went absent without leave and never returned.
Then there was Puppy.
Puppy was a Puppy. I know, not very imaginative but hey, Prole2 was three.
Puppy is very much alive and well but lost his position as top dog in Prole2’s life by dropping down the back of the bed and getting lost for a couple of weeks.
By the time he returned, dusty, a bit squashed but all in one piece, he had been replaced by Eeyore.

Eeyore is a bright blue Disney rendering of the A A Milne character.
Sorry Eeyore was a bright blue Disney rendering of the A A Milne character.
Eeyore is a bluish grey, baggy, saggy, tired looking, i’d-disinfect-that-before-touching-it-if-I-were-you Disney rendering of the A A Milne character.
In fairness the designer did try to make Eeyore look tired as part of the concept but Prole2 has really done some work on Eeyore and he looks positively exhausted these days.

I did not warm to Eeyore like i did to Teddy.
Teddy was a remarkably cheap teddy bear that Prole1 took to his heart.
Teddy has aged well.
I know he is not as young as he used to be and his fur is a little distressed in places but his eyes have a trusting wisdom that you just can’t help but be reassured by.
Eeyore on the other hand is a distillation of the Disney version of Eeyore.
He has a woebegone expression on his face that verges on the suicidal.
He is a cuddly toy so the suicidal nature has been mildly tempered to evince pity from the beholder and therefore a cuddle from some poor unfortunate child that will remain pathetically attached to it ever after.

It’s the most passive aggressive cuddly toy I have ever seen.

One that looks like it might self harm if I should ever buy Prole2 a Nintendo DS.

The prospect of losing Eeyore was one that I had mentally steeled myself for but also I have always considered that Prole2 could take a leaf out of his Brother’s book and find himself someone more dependable.

As I packed the washing machine I realise that Eeyore has been with us for the best part of four years now.

He has accompanied us on ferries, aeroplanes and across Britain.
He was with us in the hell that was Disneyland and rode on may of the rides with us.
He sits on the sofa while we watch telly.
He lies on the landing for days at a time.
He has been left out for the night in the garden on more than one occasion.
He has been in the toilet on more than one occasion.
He is the one thing guaranteed to help Prole2 sleep.
When Prole2 was very small he used to sit in the laundry basket and watch Eeyore in the washing machine.

When I need a tiny bit of leverage, a small bargaining chip, a weeny amount of extra parenting wriggle room, Eeyore has been there to help.

I know that Eeyore is a bit of once blue fur whose shapelessness comes from the way his stuffing has squashed into his legs and head.
I know he is a scruffy disease trap who was created by a monstrous international media company, cynically taking a well loved character and serving it back up as a marketing opportunity.

I know the plan when Eeyore finally goes.

But in that moment of stuffing the washing machine, I really did hope Eeyore was in the car.

Because I think, somewhere in my one hundred and fifty friends there might be a place for Teddy and Eeyore.
They have been good to me.

I looked in the car and Eeyore was on the floor with a brown, and heavily stood on, apple core squashed onto his tummy.