Sunday, March 27, 2005

No funny, no bunny

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I hate to do this, but it's for your own good. I'm about to ruin your Easter.

You may want to summon your children to your knee and prepare them for the bad news. Use that authoritative but tender tone of voice you used when they gave little Rover a peanut butter shampoo. Remind them that talks like this are all part of growing up -- a very sucky part, in fact. Although it's not as sucky as the absolute suckiest part of growing up, which is the moment when you realize a mortgage ends up doubling after interest. Five percent -- bullshit! I should have been a banker.

But anyway, back to my ruining Easter.

Be brave. Look your children in the eye, because they can tell when you're lying. Yes, even about that. Brace yourself with a strong brandy (and them, too -- it makes things easier), for this is bound to break some hearts.

No, Virginia, there is no Easter Bunny.

There is, however, an Easter Chicken.

I understand this may take some getting used to.

But it's so obvious if you think about it. The Easter Chicken has been staring you in the face the entire time.

Easter eggs?

Easter chicks?

Marshmallow Peeps?

Perhaps the most transparent clue of all: Hollow chocolate bunnies? Consider the symbolism.

That feeling you have is called "a moment of clarity." You're welcome.

To describe what the Easter Chicken looks like is somewhat counterproductive, seeing as how few have ever seen it; those who did, mistook it for an enormous rabbit. Considering the obvious physical dissimilarities, it's most likely that the Easter Chicken looks just like a regular chicken, but perhaps may wear a bow tie and/or vest. Also, the Easter Chicken may change colors according to its mood. That would explain the multicolored eggs it lays around your house.

I mean, what's a rabbit know from eggs, anyway? Ridiculous! Rabbits aren't oviparous, for shit’s sake! And if a rabbit does lay anything around your house, you do not want to pick it up. It will not be chocolate.

The Easter Bunny, as a secular holiday icon, has too many plot holes. The Easter Chicken, on the other hand, suffers from no such narrative deficiencies.

Since rabbits do not lay eggs, where does this so-called "Easter Bunny" get them, if not from some chicken friend? More to the point, why would a bunny go to all the trouble of hiding Easter eggs like that, when it's clearly a job better suited to a chicken? And how could a rabbit travel all over the world in one night -- wouldn't it make more sense if he had, say, wings to flap?

The answers to these nagging questions and others? The Easter Chicken is responsible, not a bunny. It's the only explanation that makes a bit of logical sense. A distant cousin of the Goose Who Laid the Golden Eggs (a poorer cousin, naturally), the Easter Chicken sneaks into all our homes early Easter Sunday, wanders into various hidden spots, and lays eggs for us. Sometimes the eggs are hard-boiled. Sometimes they're plastic shells with chocolate inside. It's all pretty random.

If you're in a Portuguese household, the Easter Chicken also checks on the massa dough sitting under a blanket in a basin by the baseboards, nestles on top, and squeezes out a few eggs in there, too.

Then he clucks off to other houses to lay more eggs. After a long, long night of egg-laying, like most birds he flies south -- to the South Pole, in fact. That's where he lives.

There are no elves.

I know what you're thinking: How can a male chicken lay eggs? Hello! Magical chicken?

Now that all the puzzle pieces fit, you may be wondering why humanity has perpetuated this gross falsehood about giant rabbits for hundreds of years. Perhaps a short educational scene would explain that better than I could. Lights, please?


[Scene: Your typical 2nd century ranch in England, which is a suburb of Rome. Mom and Dad watch as a little girl dressed in rags named Sally uncovers a pink pastel-colored egg in a pool of fetid water just two doors down off the living room.]

SALLY. Found one! (Cracks it open) It's got little Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in it!

DAD. Not bad, considering chocolate hasn't been invented yet. Thank you, Easter Chicken, wherever you are!

MOM. Your father and I have a surprise for you, Sallykins.

[They hand Sally a box. She tears it open to find a small yellow chick inside.]


SALLY. (cuddling her chick) My very own Easter Chicken! I'm going to call him Snickerdoodles. This is the bestest Easter ever!


[Three weeks later: Snickerdoodles is now a fully grown chicken. Sally is trying to take it out for a walk, but Snickerdoodles keeps pecking at the leash.]

SALLY. Come on, Snickerdoodles! You need your exercise -- you're getting way too plump and juicy.


MOM. Every day, this. That chicken's becoming a pain. Why don't you guys cuddle like you used to?

SALLY. Well... (covering Snickerdoodle's ears, or whatever) He kind of smells funny. Like a barn.

MOM. Maybe it's a phase. Your father smelled like a barn when I met him, and now I hardly notice it.

[Sally tries bravely to hug Snickerdoodles, but the chicken flaps its wings crazily, screeching. There is a mad rush of feathers.]

SALLY. (flailing her arms) Gaah! It's got scratchy claws! (spitting out feathers) Snickerdoodles, stop pecking my face! Aaaah! HELP!

[THE NEXT DAY: Sally, sunken-eyed and covered in bandages, cuddles a soft, fuzzy rabbit. She and Dad sit at the dinner table.]

SALLY. You're ever so much nicer, Flopsydoodles. (grimly) No sharp edges, like that mean old chicken.

DAD. It turned out for the best.

MOM. (enters from the kitchen with two red-and-white striped buckets) Dig in! We've got half original, half extra-crispy.

[A single tear rolls down Sally's cheek as she reaches for a drumstick. The soundtrack swells. It's "The Wind Beneath My Wings"--and we fade out.]

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