Op-Ed: Why I Needed a Mogwai… And How I Kind of Got One

My older brother often tormented me with scary movie marathons. Thanks to Chucky, Barbie and Co. lived in a heavily guarded toy box at night. And Critters? Don’t even get me started on the nightmares those fur balls caused. Then we watched Gremlins and the joke was on him… I loved it. How could I not love a movie that starred the sweetest thing in the world: a Mogwai? Gizmo became my ultimate ideal of a pet; and as much as a begged… I sadly never received one for any major holiday or birthday; (no) thanks, MOM. Years later I’m still grasping onto the hope that I’d stumble upon one in some major city’s Chinatown, but I’m not holding my breath. Because thankfully, my family acquired what could be Gizmo’s second cousin, and I later got a permanent reminder of my childhood dream.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about how Gremlins warped my reality in another way. In my head, all my mom had to do was go to Chinatown and there’d be a fog infested alley, and at the end would be a creepy yet mystical man to sell me a Mogwai. Turns out, not true. I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Chinatown in LA did not have spook filled alleyways or Mogwais… That I saw. If they were hiding from me, I will have to make another trip down there.

Now as to why I believed I could handle the responsibilities of a Mogwai at the tender age of five. The rules were simple enough for even my young mind to comprehend; and I’ve never understood how Billy managed to screw things up. I promised myself that I’d be the only one who’d ever eat after midnight, solving that problem with a strict bedtime for my little Mogwai. Living in the desert would be a problem for the bright lights, but we’d make due. Then there’s the whole “not getting wet” thing. Hello, you never have to bathe a pet Mogwai? That’s the best thing I ever heard. Even when my mom would try to talk me out of it by asking the “what ifs,” I ignored her, but would later think, I could handle the bad ones just as well… Make it my minion, maybe?

Possible world domination aside, I knew I could handle a Mogwai, but the real reason I wanted one wasn’t to prove I was uber-responsible. What kid wants that? No, I craved the idea of having the world’s most unique pet.  I wanted the cutest one out there that could ultimately say my name in a way that would cripple even the sternest person’s heart.

My family went through rabbits, fish, cats, hamsters and of course dogs, but none of those ever lived up to the idea of having a pet Mogwai to call my own. And more importantly, none could learn my name. That was until high school. My younger brother brought home a shih-tzu/Chihuahua who gradually took over my heart.  While she might be a dog to the average eye, she looks more like the spawn of Chewbacca and Gizmo.

I believe somewhere out there the stars aligned and kind of answered my wishes to have a Mogwai when Skuzzlebutt rolled into my life. Oh, and later, I took the idea of having a Mogwai to the next level when I got a tattoo of Gizmo in a suit and tie; gentlemen at best.  And while I would still jump at the chance to live out my Gremlin dream, her and my tattoo are holding me over until the day I stumble into a fog filled alley, with a wise old Asian man shops, and a Mogwai in his arms.