It was a beautiful day in the Hundred-Acre Planned Community. The sun was shining on the green grass where all of the houses backed up onto the nine-hole golf course. Christopher Robin had come out at dawn to get in a couple of early rounds, for, as he had often been told by Owl, the early bird catches the worm. He was under par, and so his disposition was cheery.
Pretty soon, along came Pooh. “Hello, Christopher Robin.”
“Christopher Robin, have you seen my Honey? I’ve been looking everywhere for my Honey.”
“No, Pooh. She hasn’t been round this morning. How about a quick six or seven holes? Be a good bear, and fetch me my driver out of the bag.”
“Oh, dear, oh, dear. This is just terrible,” remarked Pooh. “She and I had a tiff last evening, Christopher Robin. My obsessive-compulsive disorder is getting out of hand, I fear. I keep feeling like my fingers are sticky. Every time afterward, you know, I keep getting up to wash my hands and mouth. To get the Honey off, you see. But no matter how much I wash, they still feel sticky and dirty.”
Christopher teed off, leaving a small divot in the sod, which he carefully replaced. “Go see Owl, Silly Old Bear. He’s better than Masters and Johnson. A chat with him and you’ll be right as rain.”
“Oh, bother,” said Pooh. “Oh, hot and bother. I can’t afford him just now. My annual quota of visits ran out on my insurance. Are you sure my Honey isn’t at your place?”
“Listen here,” replied Christopher, taking slight umbrage. “Who do you take me for? Rabbit?”
“Goodness me, Christopher, I didn’t mean to imply anything.”
“That’s all right, Dear Bear. I dare say it wouldn’t hurt for that sort of rumor about me to make the rounds. As much time as I spend alone with you, some of the neighbors are starting to gossip that I’m a hom—a homos—”
Right then Tigger, the newest addition to the Hundred-Acre Planned Community, came racing through, knocking Pooh straightaway off his feet. His hearing was keen, and he didn’t want to miss out on any juicy details about his new neighbors.
“Homonym?” he guessed. “Homunculus? Homogeneous? Homeostasis?”
“One of those, I suppose,” sighed Christopher Robin. “Some big word or other. But it didn’t have a very pleasant sound.”
“Tiggers like big words,” cried Tigger, and dashed off as quick as lightning, shouting “Mendacity! Mendacity!” in a voice like hot buttered rum.
“I knew it was only a matter of time before Tiggers started moving in and driving the property values down.”
Not long after, Kanga came hopping by, all in spandex and with an empty snuggli. She had dropped Roo at a good, church-based pre-school program emphasizing structured play, and was on her way to a rendezvous with the passionate, virile groundskeeper of the Hundred-Acre Planned Community. She was a twentysomething, while her most recent husband was an arid, icy, lifeless, impotent fortysomething and very rich City Planner, who spent his days bitterly plotting the destruction of forests to make way for nine-hole golf courses and suburban homes. Kanga no longer loved him, but she did like driving a shiny new sport utility vehicle to her appointments with Owl. And she was grateful for having the money to relocate to a white-flight community where she didn’t have to worry her ponytailed head about school redistricting or quotas.
“Robin. Pooh,” she greeted them aloofly.
“Hello, Kanga,” they both said at once.
“I see you’ve met our new neighbor,” she observed. “What good is a security gate? I knew it was only a matter of time before Tiggers started moving in and driving the property values down.”
“I believe the proper term is Tegro,” Christopher carefully and patiently corrected her.
“Tigger, Tegro, what’s the difference?” she replied irritably. “If you listen to them talk, they call each other Tigger all the time. And no one takes offense. Why can’t I say it too?”
“I’m not sure,” Pooh mused tentatively. “But I do believe it means Something Different if another species uses the word in describing a species not its own. Have you seen my Honey, Kanga?”
“No, I haven’t, Pooh. But if you run across mine, would you tell him I’m at Mother’s Day Out. See you in the funny papers.” And she went on her merry way.
“Is she really going into the funny papers, Christopher Robin?”
“I think that’s what they call a figure of speech, Pooh.”
“What’s a figure of speech, Christopher Robin?”
“Oh, Pooh, you’re ever the ingénue, aren’t you?” replied Christopher Robin, and gave him a big hug, though not too big of one, lest the mini-blinds of the houses adjoining the nine-hole golf course be quizzically lifted. “Listen, Dear Bear. I see Eeyore coming over the hill. We need to do Something about him. He’s having even worse problems than yourself.”
“Owl says he’s in ‘a mild to moderate clinical depression.’ Eeyore is so negative about everything, and did you ever notice that his affect seems flat?”
“Should it be round, then, Christopher Robin?”
“Something like that, Dear Fuzzy Ursa Minor. Owl says Eeyore needs to be medicated in the worst way. Let’s see if we can cheer him up.”
Just about then, Eeyore arrived on the fairway, and gloomily looked about, as if he didn’t quite know where he had landed.
“Hello, Eeyore,” Pooh said brightly, in his Most Welcoming Voice. Yet he couldn’t help adding, a bit whinily, “Have you seen my Honey, Eeyore?”
“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth,” rejoindered Eeyore. “This goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory.”
“It’s not sterile, Eeyore. It’s fecu—fecu—it’s all green and growy, Dear Little Hoofed Mammal,” said Christopher Robin.
“It may look that way to you,” replied Eeyore, “but what do you make of all those Lawn Application flags I keep tripping over. The grass doesn’t really grow this green all by itself, Christopher. That groundskeeper creeps in here under cover of night, after his trysts with Kanga, and spreads chemical fertilizers. That stuff burns the turf, you know. You should try grazing in it. Then you’d have heartburn, just like me.”
“It’s all a matter of perspective,” Christopher pressed on, determinedly. “To be frank with you, Eeyore, Owl says he’s tried to put you on those no-feeling-sad-pills, and according to him, you refuse to take them. He said they were tricic—tricic—”
Tigger came roaring through, bowling Eeyore over, so that the Melancholy Donkey ended sitting clean upside down. Tigger bounded into the nearest tree limb. “Tricycles? Triceratops? Trichinosis?”
“Something like that,” said Christopher.
“They’re called tricyclics,” moaned Eeyore. “And I did try them. All I got for my trouble was skin rashes, blurred vision, and alopetia.”
“What’s alopetia?” inquired Pooh. “Is it something to eat?”
“It means hair loss. Sort of like my prematurely receding hairline, Pooh,” explained Christopher Robin. “Runs in my family, along with the Hapsburg Lip. It doesn’t bother me a whit.”
“Easy for you to say,” complained Eeyore from his upside-down position. “But hair loss is devastating to a donkey. My fur is my only good feature. Anyway, tricyclics make you lose—well, Something Else Important.”
“I know,” said Christopher. “Your libi—libi—”
“Liberty?” quizzed Tigger. “Libations? Liberace?”
“And excuse me for saying this, Eeyore,” continued Christopher. “But how can you lose something you never had to begin with?”
“I may not have much,” muttered Eeyore. “But in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
“Ever since I started on that pill, I’ve been Wonderfully Happy.”
“Now, now,” calmed Christopher. “No sense getting your feathers ruffled, Dear Beast of Burden. All in the world I was leading up to was suggesting that you try Prozac. It doesn’t have any of those nasty side-effects that the other no-feeling-sad-pills do. Well, it does mildly suppress your libi—libi—your Appetite. But that isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, if those of us who live in the Hundred-Acre Planned Community have any problem, it’s too much Appetite. We’d be better off without it, I think. All Appetite leads to in the end is unfriendly feelings.”
“Hmm,” reflected Eeyore. “I wouldn’t mind trying this Prozac you speak of. But I hate being the only one. I already feel like enough of a misfit as it is.”
“Misfit?” Christopher laughed merrily. “If you tallied up the property lines of all the people around here on Prozac, you’d use up at least Seventy-Five of the Hundred Acres. Pooh’s been on it, and Kanga’s on megadoses right now. Rabbit’s on it as well, not because he’s sad exactly, but to help control his Appetite. He has the biggest Appetite of anyone I know. Owl even prescribes it for himself. And he’s so wise and everything.”
“What about you, Christopher?” asked Eeyore imploringly. “Are you the only one of us who doesn’t need it? Is it because you are a human and we are animals?”
“Are you kidding?” replied Christopher Robin. “Why do you think I’m smiling all the confounded time? Have you ever once seen me in recent times that I didn’t have a smile on my face? Ever since I started on that pill, I’ve been Wonderfully Happy.”
“True,” admitted Eeyore. “Very true.”
So Eeyore agreed to take Prozac, and it was only then that he truly became one of the Friends. They all played golf together that very afternoon, to celebrate Eeyore’s Great Decision. Christopher Robin was three over par, but he sauntered off whistling anyway.