Everyone Is Trauma Dumping on a 3-Year-Old Puppet

I know "Elmo" is a bunch of adult social media strategists who likely hold PhDs but, in my mind, Elmo is a furry little child and we all just…did that to him.

Everyone Is Trauma Dumping on a 3-Year-Old Puppet
Photo:Shutterstock, Twitter/X

You needn’t scroll through Twitter or tune into cable news for more than 20 seconds to understand that things are not going great right now. The planet’s burning, it costs money to breathe, our taxes are funding unthinkable war crimes, the job market is incredibly bleak, and, put simply, the vibes are just awful. Enter Elmo, who, bless his furry little heart, saw fit to perform a Monday morning vibe check: “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” he tweeted.

Unfortunately, adults across Twitter forgot that Elmo is a three-year-old puppet and things got scarily honest—a little too honest—very quickly. For the last 24 odd hours, I’ve borne witness to some astonishing trauma dumping on the poor guy. All very fair: I repeat, things are not going great right now. I, for one, was pretty quick to retweet this one.

But the posts just got more and more intense.

T-Pain revealed his bottomless fount of loneliness (horniness?).

It didn’t take long for threats and extortion to ensue.

By Tuesday afternoon, Elmo had to issue something of an “I hear you!” post: “Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you.❤️ #EmotionalWellBeing,” the puppet, or at least his social media manager, tweeted, alongside a snap of Elmo clutching an emotional support stuffed toy.

OK, sorry for getting emotional, especially as a sentient adult who understands that none of this is real and all of this is coming from a bunch of adult social media strategists who likely hold master’s degrees and are underpaid and overworked. But in my mind, Elmo is, indeed, just a furry little child with no consciousness of the world’s darkness, and we all just… did that to him. Imagine the horrors his big googly eyes just witnessed from asking the internet a simple question… He’s just a kid. And for about 24 hours, Twitter made him its villain of the day for the great crime of caring.

The official Sesame Street Twitter account followed Elmo’s lead, tweeting, “Thank you, Elmo,” along with links to mental health resources and a reminder for all of us to be “mindful” and “focus on how we’re feeling.” That’s all well and good, and therapy and breathing exercises can go a long way in a pinch. But c’mon Sesame Street—when you have Republican senators repeatedly fighting you for spreading “vaccine propaganda” and their supporters accusing your puppets of being “woke” “groomers,” you know we’re in the Bad Place, right? And there aren’t a whole lot of “mindfulness” exercises that are gonna bail us out from this dumpster fire.

Sadly, Elmo and the gang can keep “checking in” on us but until things actually start to change around here (which capitalism and the insatiable military-industrial complex have made pretty difficult), I don’t think they’re going to get a different response.

Which is all to say: I wish we had better news for you about how we’re all doing, Elmo. Though I think the adults of the world should spare you of our misery, set some boundaries, and understand that yes, it’s OK to not be OK <3—but maybe we don’t unload on a puppet or a child or, honestly, any person who greets us with a passing, “How are you doing?”

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