Rachel Maddow Is My Imaginary Friend. So What?

Rachel + Katie = friends 4ever

Rachel + Katie = friends 4ever

Raise your hand if you need someone to help you work through real life issues and provide comfort in our rapidly growing (and sometimes scary) world. Oh, all of us? You’re goddamn right we do!

As I child, I never had an imaginary friend — which is weird, considering I was exactly the type of kid who you’d expect to have one. Fond of complex imaginary games and daydreaming, I was the kid you could count on to wander away from the class and get lost on a field trip to the museum.

Against all odds, however, an imaginary friend was not part of the equation.

I have since remedied that. At the ripe old age of 31, I have a very dear friend whom I admire, in whose company I simply delight, and who shares a number of the same interests as me. There’s only one catch: We’ve never actually met.

Her name is Rachel Maddow, and she is my best imaginary friend in the world.

While The Google has varying opinions about how and why children form imaginary friends, parenting blogs can all agree on the following: It is TOTALLY NORMAL for your child to invent friends — and, in fact, it probably means that your kid should be in Baby Mensa.

Which is great news for me, as I've long aspired to be a member of Baby Mensa. But I digress. The bottom line is that it’s not-at-all creepy that I bought these best friend necklaces in hopes that one day, RayMaw (just a little pet name I have for my best pal) will wear the other half.

According to Google, children may develop imaginary friends during particularly difficult times in their lives — often when they’re feeling lonely and/or isolated. Though my imaginary friendship with Rachel has developed over many years, it makes particular sense that my bond with her would be so strong right now.

Who doesn’t look at the state of politics in the United States and feel lonely and isolated?

Instead of just ranting blindly about the state of affairs or lobbing softball questions at politicians, Rachel manages to put the chaos into context and then articulate the precise significance of the event(s). Take this video highlighting the significance and implications of the violence at Trump rallies.

These kind of revelations are frightening, but the state of affairs is exactly why I (and probably you) need RayMaw in our corner. In Today’s Parent, Marjorie Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and the author of Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them, says, “Make-believe mates help kids work through real-life issues and provide comfort in their rapidly growing — and sometimes scary — world.”

Raise your hand if you need someone to help you work through real life issues and provide comfort in our rapidly growing (and sometimes scary) world. Oh, all of us? You’re goddamn right we do! The world is terrifying — no best friend can make that go away — but at least we can trust Maddow to tell us what’s up.

This was and continues to be exemplified by the Flint water crisis. While the situation itself is beyond criminal, it went largely ignored by the mainstream media (among others) for far too long. Maddow, however, has been covering the tragedy from the earliest reports of lead in the water — and continues to do so now. Media Matters notes that “MSNBC's Rachel Maddow stood out for her extensive coverage in December 2015, when she devoted far more time to the situation in Flint than every other major television network combined.”

Imaginary friends can become integral parts of our lives, according to the experts who are actually talking about children and not 31-year-old grown-ass women. “The imaginary companion becomes part of the family,” says Taylor. “You find yourself setting an extra place at the table regularly.”

I’m going to be honest. If there were even a sliver of a chance of the real Rachel Maddow coming over to my house for dinner, I would set an extra place at my table every goddamn night. As it is, my mother and I refer to her like family. “Well, you heard what Rachel had to say about it,” my mom will say, talking about the latest polling numbers or political scandal. (And yes, I did hear what Rachel had to say about it, and it was awesome.)

She is nerdier, funnier, and smarter than most of my real friends. (Sorry, real friends. If it helps, she’s definitely nerdier, funnier, and smarter than I am too.) And she’s not just playing a character on TV. As we are close, personal, friends, I have access to this YouTube video of her high school graduation speech; if you listen closely at the end, you can hear some lady say, “Someday, she’s going to be something.”

Guess what? She totally called it. Good job, random lady.

By now, you probably think I’m a shill for MSNBC. Not so. In fact, if you’re broke and cable-less like I am, you can go to iTunes and subscribe to the audio and/or the video version of The Rachel Maddow Show, totally free.

So, no, I’m not a corporate hack for MSNBC. I’m just singing the praises of my very best (imaginary) friend.

Would you like to see Rachel being awesome? Of course you would. Here.

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