Thursday, March 22, 2007

Jimmie vs. Creepy Bunny Man

When you stand back (or sit back on a bench like I did last night at the Cherry Hill Mall) and look at the wacky stuff we do in our culture, you might wonder why things aren't actually worse than they already are.

Case in point...
We had a FANTASTIC dinner and conversation with mom last night in NJ (Bahama Breeze, 5 stars!). Afterwards, Rebecca and I just popped into the mall for a "quick walk." As I was waiting for my lovely bride to exit a store, a six foot rabbit (Harvey?) walked past me and disappeared behind a large outcropping of plastic plants.


I was in the mall's "oasis" area - this is where you can find large palm trees, various ferny plants, goats, and water coalesced in fountains or in pools, which are full of coins (why do we throw our money into their stores AND into these pools?). In the "oasis" you can hide from the heat of great sales and the storms of intense shoppers, finding peace, and sometimes large rabbits. I guess I had forgotten all about the Easter Bunny thing. Or maybe I repressed it. Well, here he/she/it was, hopping back into my life, and into little Jimmie's life too. Poor kid.

There was a huge Bunny Throne Room set up in the "oasis." Here kids could come and pay homage to the Great Rabbit. The throne had all sorts of colored streamers on it, and plastic flowers and gummi worms. Jimmie's dad strode confidently through the fernage and exchanged a secret sign with the Easter Bunny's henchwoman, who was crouched behind a podium, clutching a neon whirly toy in her hand like a weapon (This torture device was later used to make Jimmie, how did she say it?.... "smile.")

"Smile, Jimmie! Smile!" They danced and jumped around, the dad and the Nasty Sidekick Lady, waving the torture device like a dagger. I thought of the old western movies where the bad guy's yelling "DANCE!" Pow! Blam! Then it got serious, because Jimmie for some strange reason, caged in the furry embrace of Creepy Bunny Man and being taunted with a neon swirly to "smile" wasn't smiling.

"Now why don't he smile?" growled the Henchwoman.
"Daddy!" Jimmie cried.
"Smile, James! For the love of all that's holy!! Just smile!!"

Whew.... spring and all. I know we get excited about the changes in the weather to come. I know rabbits are cute and candy is sweet. But the Easter Bunny is like... cute on steroids. It's like a Cute Monster that's grown out of its cage. I wonder if the things that are holy and sacred, like the true meaning of Easter and Christmas, I wonder if once we take away the holy we're left with a mutated substitute? And we feel we have to keep feeding it every year. But it doesn't have to be this way!

We wonder why kids start to doubt their faith and question us as they grow. Why not? Think of all the things that peel away as they grow up; Tooth Fairies, Santa Claus, Easter Bunnies.... who can blame them when they ask "Is God for real or just made up?"

Hmmm, we just hit deep waters. To be continued! In the meantime, "Smile America! SMILE!!"
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