Pandemic times are tough. A lot of us have been feeling really lonely for most of the past year. While solitude can certainly have its upsides, sometimes it’s hard not to envy people with a “pandemic buddy,” you know? One small child understands what I’m talking about: 2-year-old Theo Brady of Salt Lake City, Utah, who placated his longing for in-person connection by befriending a Halloween skeleton named “Benny” this fall.
"I think he got kind of lonely, and he found this skeleton and was like, 'Oh, this can be my friend,'" Theo's mother, Abigail Brady, told CBS News. Then the toddler asked if he and Benny could have a play date. "Like, I just swallowed all my pride and was like, 'You know, if this makes my son happy, I'm going to do it,'" Brady said. She secretly hoped that’d be the end of the spooky friendship between child and skeleton, but now Theo and Benny do everything together.
"He likes to read Benny books, which is so cute, and creepy, but cute,” Theo’s mom told CBS. And for the record, she’s gotten used to her son’s strange quarantine friendship. After all, 2020 has forced all of us to radically accept a “new normal.” On the scale of harmless to apocalyptic, I’d rank a kid making friends with a Halloween decoration “chaotic good” at absolute worst. "Yeah, in some weird way it's comforting," Brady added.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm positively obsessed with this dynamic duo. The sight of the gangly skeleton flopping around in a bucket swing on the playground? It tickles my funny bone. (Heh, heh.) Watch Theo pretend to feed Benny an avocado at the grocery store and try — just try — not to feel something.
Listen, I had imaginary friends when I was small, too. My mom tells this story about how once, when we were driving home at night, I was passed out in my carseat in the back seat — or so she thought. Suddenly, as though waking from a dream, I cried out my pretend friend's name and screamed, “No! Don’t grab the wheel!” My mom was justifiably freaked out.
It doesn't sound like Benny the skeleton has hijacked any cars recently. And anyhow, the friendship between a kid and a bag-of-bones is the kind of spooky content we need this year. Only cute ghosties in 2020; no truly terrifying frights allowed.
Theo's mom seems to be on the same page. "He just sees this skeleton as someone that needs love," Brady told CBS. "I think it's fine, unless he starts walking around with a casket.”