So, my mother is blogging, y’all. I urge you to go visit her site, since she actually posted about my first four years, and what a rambunctious little cuss I was.
Actually, she said I was smart. Too smart. I figured out the tooth fairy, and stuff. And memorized Hop on Pop. That book is the Bop–er… the bomb!
It’s the tooth fairy I wanted to talk about. And Santa Claus. Those guys, like angels and elves, left me in a kind of awe that I, to this day, can’t express. Every Christmas eve, I’d work myself into such a frenzy of excitement that I’d throw up. I did this for a lot of years. I think I “tizzied” myself into a good pre-birthday vomit as well.
I mean, Santa! The fat man in the red suit. And he brings gifts. I knew early on (not sure how early) that Santa brings some gifts, and the parents chip in for some of the others (Santa brought awesome stuff–stuff you could hit with a small rock, and destroy by January 2), like socks and sweaters. When I was seven, about the time I lost my first tooth (so the tooth fairy was in the works too), my schoolmate Brett decided to make it his personal mission to deSanta-ize our house, and he laid into me with forceful derision. In a moment of fluster on the Pistol River bus one night, I shouted at him “I know Santa doesn’t deliver toys. the elves do!” I paid for that comment for weeks. Elf boy. Good grief.
It was in this moment of self-doubt, I finally had to ask my mom “Is Santa really real?” She said no, but also not to ruin it for Lori. I was heartbroken. It’s really a brain-crusher. What about all the other invisible beings? Sandman? The tooth fairy? What about angels, and demons, and God? What about Jesus? He lived 1975 years earlier and I never saw him. So, in the cadre of invisible beings, he, and the Holy Spirit, and the Tooth Fairy, all ranked roughly the same.
How do you explain this to a kid? Especially a kid who feels someone–in the middle of the night–shoving their hand under my pillow, looking for my first lower bicuspid. I knew Santa wasn’t real, and I had my doubts about the tooth fairy, so that left angels, demons, and God. My heart nearly stopped from the panic. In awhile it was all over, the shadowy figure had found what it sought and it left my room I could breathe again. I wondered for a mind-numbing hour whether or not it was really her, or if it was an angel or a demon, who just had bad aim when they were trying bless me, or wanting to slice my face off? Soon after that, the tooth fairy insisted (she told my mom…) that I needed to leave my extracted tooth in a glass of water in the bathroom, and that Ye Goode Faerie would take care of it for me.
After all these years, I still don’t think I have it all straight. Say, for example, the doctrinal differences. The Tooth fairy gives you money, not candy. She knows that candy will rot the teeth right out of your head! But you give Santa milk and cookies, and if you’re a thoughtful child, carrots for his reindeer. He should have no teeth left at all. The tooth fairy works every night of the year and gets nothing in return. Santa only works one night a year, and stores up all that excess calories in the form of body for the *next* year. What does the tooth fairy do with all those teeth, anyway? I went to school with a kid named Glenn Moller, you know. I never asked him. Maybe I should. I hear he no longer lives on a boat, which qualifies him about as well as anybody I know.
Ah, theology. Ain’t it a drag?