The Easter Bunny didn’t come to our house this year. There were no colored eggs, no jelly beans, no bags of green plastic grass—there wasn’t even a chocolate rabbit. What there was instead was cold, hard, cash. That’s right: this year I bought my way out of Easter.
It’s not that I have anything against Easter—out of all the rituals the Christians stole from the Pagans, Easter is probably my favorite. After all, it fits right in with my own personal religion, which is to celebrate anything that involves chocolate, alcohol, or pork products. (If I could find a religious holiday that combined all three I would not only convert, but would probably start going door to door to proselytize.) And yet, despite the fact that Easter comes very close to meeting all three of my requirements (it needs more drinking), this year the whole thing just sort of snuck up on me.
I don’t know why—it isn’t as if I didn’t get plenty of warning: just as the first few crocuses pushing their way out of the snow tells you that Spring is on its way, the first few Cadbury eggs popping up at the checkout stand do the same thing for Easter. And even if you somehow miss the eggs, and the towering bags of Easter candy, you can always figure it out yourself using the secret Easter formula (Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox—and you thought the Pope just threw a dart at the calendar).
Still, even with all of that advance warning, Easter caught me by surprise this year. And so, faced with the unpleasant prospect of running out at the last minute and getting a bunch of corn syrup disguised as food, I had three choices: I could pretend that I had suddenly become health conscious and say I was refusing to buy candy out of principle; I could pretend that I had suddenly become principled and say that instead of spending money on our own Easter this year I was making a family donation to a rabbit rescue fund, or, I could tell the truth.
Surprisingly (for me), I told the truth. Not the truth about the Easter Bunny (that cat left the bag years ago), but the truth about Mom: she just wasn’t into it this year. For Clementine, this was no big deal: unless a holiday involves a personal visit from Billie Joe Armstrong, she’s really not that interested. For Clyde, however, it’s a different story. Clyde is all about the holidays. You name it: Cinco de Mayo, Labor Day, Columbus Day—he’s down for a party. (Which makes it even odder that he is the only child I know who doesn’t know when his own birthday is: all he knows for sure is that it is in the summer. I could fix this pretty easily, I know, but the schemer in me wants to leave it alone. After all, it’s not like, at age eight, he really needs to know when his birthday is. It’s not like he is going to be carded.) And so I bribed him.
Look, I explained, here’s the deal. Are you willing to trade Easter—all of it: eggs, candy, little plastic toys, the whole thing—for one tangible piece of merchandise? In other words, are you willing to be bribed?
His answer was a resounding ‘yes.’
Which is why Clyde and I celebrated Easter by going to Target and picking out a new PS3 game. It doesn’t have any rabbits. Or chocolate. Or even eggs. On the other hand, it does have lots and lots of zombies. And it even has a two player option, so that we can kill them as a family. And really, isn’t that what the holiday is really all about?