I am slightly claustrophobic. I’m not extremely fond of hugging strangers. As a child, I despised people in masks and animal costumes. I hated them almost as much as mall Santa Clauses. And yesterday, I became one of the creatures I abhorred most of all: the Easter Bunny. Oh yes. The pagan symbol of fertility, dancing around scattering eggs (EGGS?), grinning with ominous buck teeth. Who LIKES this creature?
How I came into the role, I’m not really sure. I know it had something to do with letting my mom answer the phone at Greenleaf. THAT’S never happening again, let me tell you. Before I knew what I was committing to, I was committed. I tried to find someone else. I offered money. I pretended it was going to be super fun (Tom Sawyer style), hoping someone would take the bait. Nope.
On Saturday I met the nice lady at the subdivision park. She took me into her house, showed me the bathroom, and handed me a cardboard box. I went in, locked the door, and began the transformation. I put on the fuzzy body suit. It was obviously made for someone slightly more… er… filled out, with a very long torso and short legs. The crotch and purple puffy tail were dangling just above my kneecaps. I put on the shoe covers, the spotted vest, and then I pulled out the mask. I slowly slid the creepy bunny face over my own, inhaled the rubbery plastic scent, adjusted the face until I could peer into the mirror through the giant screen-eyes, and did my very best not to scream.
It was like a childhood nightmare… I had been swallowed by the Easter Bunny.
I had been instructed not to speak, just to wave, hug, skip, pose for pictures etc. Well, I’m far too clumsy to skip even in normal clothes, so I decided waving and hugging would have to do. I spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out a good way to breathe in the mask (did I mention I’m claustrophobic?), said a quick prayer for courage, and trotted down the hill to the park where the dear children (about 50 of them) and their parents waited. The hour went something like this:
I ran into the park, waving at kids, receiving stares of shock and awe from the little ones, and disdain from those “old enough to know better.” Patted several on the head, mostly the older ones.
Overheard two young boys plotting to pull off my mask. Chased them a little while. Sat down on the photo bench.
Had a nice “chat” with a young fellow named Mason who was probably 8 or 9. It went something like this:
Mason: I know you’re not real.
Me: *thumbs up sign*
Mason: You’re a girl, aren’t you.
Me: *nod + thumbs up sign*
Mason: Oh, come on. You can talk.
Me: *nodding “no” + drawing my paw across my throat in a slicing sort of action*
Mason: Says who?
Me: *vigorous pointing to the woman who gave me the bunny suit*
(Ok, so I’m a terrible Easter Bunny. Whatever. I cannot lie, even to kids… especially to kids, as a matter of fact)
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, because we were interrupted by more families dragging, coaxing, or bribing their kids to my bench for Easter photos. But, from that point on, Mason snuck up behind me every 5-10 minutes and smacked me on the back of the ears. Awesome, bud. I thought we were gonna be friends because I told you the truth. Guess not.
I had a nicer conversation with a little girl named Carolyn that went something like this.
Me: *gesturing: come sit beside me, little child*
Little Carolyn: You’re soft.
Me: *pose* *high five* *hug*
Little Carolyn: You know what, I have blue eyes too!!!
Me: *nod* *thumbs up*
Little Carolyn: You know what? At my VBS there are giant animals too! There’s a big dog and a kangaroo!
Little Carolyn continued to talk about VBS while I posed for 8 more pictures with other kids. I’m not sure of everything she said, but I felt like I had made an ally in the world of man.
After about 40 minutes of hugging and posing for pictures (never quite sure if I was looking at the camera), my hair had begun to dangle across my face, dripping with sweat. It blocked half of my vision, was in my nose and mouth, and I could do nothing about it! Naturally, at this moment, the kind host mom came over and suggested that I walk around for a while and hand out stickers. I nodded. Not being able to see, I tripped over several short children. I don’t think any of them were terribly injured.
I spent the last 5 minutes of the hour dancing with a few 3 year olds to “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I’m a pretty good dancer compared with 3 year olds. That made me feel better.
Final stats (estimated):
High fives: 42
Babies held: 4
Children who cried: 4
Children who ran away screaming: 2
Teenagers who posed with me: 7
Dads who said “That’s a keeper” after taking photos: 3
Number of times I plan to be the Easter Bunny again: 0
I got a DQ blizzard out of the deal though. That was good. Thanks, mom.