I committed an Easter crime once. I was persuaded to dress up in a bunny costume for my daughter’s preschool class. The teacher opened the door and in I teetered, six-plus feet (counting the ears) of Easter excitement. For about a nanosecond, there was total silence while I held up my basket of plastic eggs. Then eighteen mouths were screaming for eighteen mothers, thirty-six eyes were filling with tears, and seventy-two tiny arms and legs were churning toward the door. We’re not even going to discuss what happened in eighteen little pairs of undies as I single-handedly drove the roomful of preschoolers ballistic with terror.
Maybe if that whole child-soldier/ kidnapping/ warlord gig doesn’t work out for him, Joseph Kony could find fulfillment dressing up as a giant bunny and appearing before unsuspecting preschoolers.
Looking back, I realize that if I’d gone into work one day to find an eleven-foot tall rabbit heading for me – with no prior memo announcing, “At 10:15AM today, staff will be terrorized by long-eared rodents twice your size,” – I would probably not have been nearly as nice about it as those preschoolers. After all, not one of them pressed charges or pulled a weapon even though it was hunting season. In SW Virginia. I’m just lucky I didn’t end up on the hood of someone’s car, tied down next to Bambi.
It’s not as if I didn’t know better. My kids have an unbroken string of bad experiences with costume-clad adults. The first time we did the Mouse, Donald Duck waddled up to us. He was reaching out to Child #2 when she hauled off and planted him a solid one straight to his – duckness. As I hustled the kids out of there, I noticed Daisy Duck was trying to help him up despite quacking up herself. (I’d apologize, but come on – you knew that was coming…)
Then there was the time we were in the grocery store. My four-year-old was busy analyzing the relative merits of the candy lining the checkout lane when he was accosted by a cookie-promoting elf whose head alone was at least as tall as my son. (The concept of selling cookies using a supersized elf head is yet another reflection of the extent of the drug problem on Madison Avenue.) The elf, who seemed directionally challenged, was being guided by a handler. “How would you like to meet the elf?” the handler asked my son.
“NO!” he screamed, racing for the exit and knocking down everything in his path. “NO, no, no, no…”
“How would you like to pay for the years of therapy we’re both going to need?” I asked the elf as I gave chase.
The fact is there is no real upside to costumed adults confronting my children. Take the time I brought Child #1 to see Santa in his mall chalet surrounded by several camera-waving teenaged helper elves. My daughter didn’t want anything to do with the whole setup, so she tried to escape as the elves herded her toward Santa. As he leaned down to her, she grabbed the pompoms on the end of his hat and started to pull back. One of Santa’s Helpers screamed, “She’s pulling Santa’s little balls off!” We never did get a photo of the event, because Santa had to go feed his reindeer immediately.