Tag Archives: easter bunny

Sunburned Eggs (or, Atheists at Easter)


My son and I were in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart today.

Okay, so mistakes were made (never enter the toy aisle at Wal-Mart with your kid — better yet, never enter the toy aisle at ANY store with your kid — better still, never enter Wal-Mart) but it led to this interesting tidbit:

Me: Hey, bud, you like this one? Looks like he does magic.

Sprout: Magic isn’t real, daddy.

Me: Oh, really? It’s not?

Sprout: Well (he prefaces all his profundities with “well”), magic tricks are real, but real magic isn’t real.

(Whoa.)

Me: (the militant skeptic, hoping that this, right here, standing in the toy aisle, is the end of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and all manner of insufferable BS that parents pretend at for the “benefit” of their kids, but not wanting to come on too strong) oh, really?

Sprout: Yeah. Nobody has real magic.

Me: I see. Well — do you think the Easter Bunny is magic?

Sprout: Well, he only brings eggs filled with candy. That’s not magic.

So, you know. His skeptical instincts are apparently well-formed but still developing.

None of which kept me (a staunch atheist) and my wife (a wobbly atheist) from taking the kids to a local church for an Easter Egg Hunt (what gets capitalized there, really? Easter is the holiday, but Easter Eggs are specific things, and Hunts for Easter Eggs are certainly specific things too, though eggs and hunts are not typically specific things, and sometimes I hate the the fact that I taught English). This was not a purely cynical exercise, mind you. We were invited by one of my wife’s co-workers who, I think, thinks she can “snap us out of it.” And because we apparently think these kinds of things are good for the kids to take part in — as a cultural phenomenon, if not as a religious one — we went.

Anyway.

At said hunt, the organizers were dropping eggs from a helicopter, which is a thing that’s become more of a thing in recent years at your bigger Easter events. Of course, this is all flash without substance — it doesn’t change the intrinsic sugar-frenzy of the kids scrambling to get all the eggs before their peers, it just hypes them up and instills a good, solid bloodlust beforehand. But at this particular event (which was the first helo-drop), all the bugs had not yet been ironed out. So the helicopter circled the field once or twice, with the anticipation building, landed nearby to collect the eggs, then descended and dropped (apparently) thousands of eggs in a single spot on the field.

Thanks to all the rigmarole with the helicopter, the waiting for the “hunt” to begin (and the field in question was a literal soccer field, so it was less “hunt” and more “frenzied Thunderdome for all the clearly visible eggs in the grass”) took over an hour. Which resulted in a lot of cranky toddlers, frustrated parents, and at least one seriously sunburned bald atheist.

Which left my wife and I wondering why we went through it all.

Of course, the kids had a ball.

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I want you to note how really, thoroughly, unimpressed my kids are by all this.

So I guess there’s that.

This post is part of Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday.

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De-Grumpified


How do you measure a day?

For the longest time, I’ve been a Grinch about virtually every holiday. Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s… you name it, I can give you a good reason to hate it.

Christmas? Over-commercialized. Flimsy reason for overspending and going into debt around the same time every year. Based loosely off some religious gobbledygook wrapped around a Russian mythology that bears virtually no resemblance to the fat man in the sled who apparently runs the show these days. Pure invention, for the sake of blackmailing kids into being good for a few months out of the year. Can it.

Halloween? If you feel the need to disguise yourself once a year, to let your “wild side” or whatever out of your system, you probably aren’t living your life right. If you’re an adult and you’re dressing up for a halloween party, you missed the memo that it’s time to grow up. If you’re a kid and your parent is driving you around to trick or treat, you’re doing it wrong… in my day we WALKED house to house. If you’re a teenager… get off my freakin’ lawn. Also, a poor excuse for making me buy a bunch of candy that I’m going to have to eat later.

Thanksgiving? Yeah, does the rest of the world need a signifier that we Americans take things to excess? So we have a holiday for the express purpose of eating ourselves into comas. Pass the gravy and the weird uncles, and I’ll be in the corner nibbling on cornbread until the in-laws are strangling each other over political issues.

Valentine’s? The canned argument is that if you need a specific day to show your special somebody that you love them, you’re doing it wrong. But I won’t even go there. I’ll fall back on the fact that this one is another one that’s pure invention, and who can stand all that red and pink? And, for that matter, the overnight megainflation of flower stock. Racketeering sanctioned by the people.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. I don’t go in for holidays or birthdays or any of that. My wife hates it, but I can’t help it. Any holiday is just a futile attempt to add significance to an otherwise insignificant day, a way to add punctuation to another year.

Uplifting, right?

But our son is three this year. And our daughter is coming up on one.

And… dammit, everything is different. I find my Grinchly armor cracking at the seams, I feel the warmth of caring and celebration clawing its way into my cold, cold heart. Like… okay, this year was the first year he really cared about Christmas at all. In years past it was just a pile of toys that he got excited about for a few hours and then forgot about. But this year, he freaked out about Santa, and he jumped up and down on the morning of and he was talking about Santa Claus all day, and … god, it warmed my heart.

A chink in the armor.

And today, Easter.

Say what you want about religious connotations, but Easter is another holiday that’s had America’s grasping capitalist claws rending at it. The bunny, the chocolates, the eggs… honestly it sounds like one big acid trip if you ask me. Ridiculous. Ripe and ready for my scorn. And scorn it I have, and did this year, too… right up until about 11 AM this morning.

Why 11 this morning? Well, at 11 this morning I found myself in the midst of this seething throng of humanity…wpid-20150404_114802.jpg

… and if you know my thoughts about holidays in general, it should come as no shock at all that I really don’t much care at all for being around crowds like this. People are at their worst in crowds. That herd mentality sets in, and all of a sudden you don’t have individuals making clear decisions on their own merits, you have a mob in the ragey throes of pack logic.

But today was Easter, and my mother had the great idea to take the sprouts to this big Easter Egg hunt, and, well, there we were. And there were moments — several of them — when I wanted to bail, to take my kids and get as far from this manufactured mass of pastels and candy as possible. But we went through with it.

And you know what?

The kids had a great time, and that’s all that fargoing mattered. Who cares if their grumpy dad was uncomfortable with the crowds, if he was inwardly sneering at all the colors and smiling faces? Who cares that the parking was a nightmare, or that my son wimped out on the bouncy slide we waited five minutes to get him on, or that the sno-cone we bought him cost two freaking dollars? (TWO DOLLARS. FOR ICE AND SUGAR WATER. It still hurts me.) He came back talking about doing more Easter hunts, and his face was illuminated with the joyous glow that I can only dream of having in my own cranky old disillusioned soul. I will never in my life feel the joy that permeated his being and exploded from his every pore at the simple happiness of the balloon handed to him at the tent operated by the local Plumbing group, except for the joy I can feel vicariously through him. I even grinned at the simple but pure greed of sprout #2, who was too young to know what was going on, but not too young to go back for one taste after another of the delicious purple ice I offered to her.

This is my wife’s fault. She’s known all along that there was more to these occasions than I ever allowed myself to believe, and she staunchly held her ground against my protestations that we shouldn’t bother celebrating any of them all these years. As is so often the case, she gets to have the last laugh now.

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It was a day I should’ve hated, but it was the best Easter I’ve ever had. And there must be something seriously wrong with me, because I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to do it again next year.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.


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