Monday, October 6, 2008

The Tooth Fairy and a Big Lie

My wife and I recently heard that our 5-year-old son should expect loose teeth soon.

“The going rates,” my wife said, “are $5 for the first tooth that falls out and $2 for each tooth following.”

“Since when does the Tooth Fairy pay more than a dollar per tooth?” I asked. “It’s not like the Tooth Fairy’s operating expenses have increased over the years. Flying is fuel-free. And by the way, the Tooth Fairy isn’t affected by inflation because she’s a mythological being.”

“Everyone says that those are the going rates for teeth,” my wife said.

I just didn’t like that. One tooth under the pillow should only get you one dollar. And I didn’t want to pay my child any different -- or better yet, I didn’t want the Tooth Fairy to pay my son any different.

So I told my wife a lie.

“Well,” I said, “I asked (‘So and So’) what the going rates were for lost teeth, and she said it’s still $1 per tooth, whether it’s the first tooth or the last tooth.”

“(‘So and So’) said that?” my wife asked.

Not knowing the mess I was creating, I confirmed my lie. “Yes, (‘So and So’) said that.”

The next night, my wife wanted to invite “So and So” over for dinner. I couldn’t have that. If “So and So” came over for dinner, my wife would surely bring up the Tooth Fairy’s going rates, and then “So and So” would deny ever telling me that the rates were still $1 per tooth. My wife would be upset that I lied to her, and I’ve never lied to her. Honest.

So I lied again. “Actually, I wouldn’t even call (‘So and So’) if I were you,” I said. “She got kinda annoyed that you asked other people for the Tooth Fairy’s going rates instead of asking her. In fact, she said she didn’t even wanna talk to you anymore.”
“What?” my wife asked in disbelief. She went for the phone. I blocked.

“I’d wait a few weeks when all this blows over before calling her,” I said, hoping my wife would take my advice, then forget about all this in a few weeks.

Doing what wives do best, my lovely bride ignored me, moved me aside, and picked up the phone.

I panicked. I couldn’t let my wife call “So and So” about this nasty mess I made. I had to stop that phone call. But I had to be nonchalant about it or my wife would surely know I was trying to cover up a lie. So I hung up the phone while she was in mid-dial.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Uh . . . Uh,” I mumbled. And then I wove a tapestry of deep concern for my wife’s well being under such emotional circumstances. I was proud of my work. She was touched. She decided to cancel the call.

Last weekend, my son had a prearranged swim date with the daughter of “So and So.” Unbeknownst to me, my wife called “So and So” and left a voicemail to the tune of, “We don’t wanna spend our day off with you if you’re gonna be so mad and stand-offish.”

When my wife told me she left such a message, I spent the rest of the day babysitting the phone so I could intercept “So and So’s” return call.

I stepped into the bathroom for no more than 30 seconds when the phone rang. I didn’t even wash my hands. I bolted out of the bathroom, down the hall, over the couch to grab the phone, and fell face first into a Tinker Toy construction site.

Lying on the floor next to what was now Tinker trash, I spotted one of my front teeth. Not only did I lose a tooth, I lost my wife’s trust when she heard the truth from “So and So.” Worse, the Tooth Fairy only left me one lousy buck.

That’s a true story. You can trust me.

-October 2008

Family News in Brief -- September '08

A passenger jet carrying a reported 3,000 people from the Moon crashed in my living room yesterday morning. The damages were a nicked ear and a scraped cheek. “Our (5-year-old) son was flying his toy Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 over the Pergo Sea near the Love Seat Mountains when he encountered engine trouble,” I told my wife when she asked about my face wounds. “The vessel went down -- and it went down fast -- crashing into my head at full speed.” Asked if I was OK, I said yes, the wounds would heal. But now my son needs a new jet because one of the wings broke off in Daddy’s ear.

A local kindergartener was allegedly late for school earlier this month. The student’s spokesperson, Mom, said her daughter’s tardiness was excused. “I sent her with a note,” Mom said. Since the incident, half the class has been asking if they could be tardy for class as well. “Which day can I be late for school?” asked my own kindergartener during what is now being dubbed the “I Wanna Be Late For School, Too Crisis of 2008.” School authorities said classroom attendance and punctuality are the necessary ingredients for success in any endeavor, school included, and they suggested that kids not be late or absent if they can help it. “However, yes, it’s true,” an anonymous school official said, “we will excuse a student if he or she has a note.”

Having easily captured the most marbles in the first five minutes of last night’s final game in the Hungry Hungry Hippo finals, my wife, the Hungry Hungry Hippo champion of our house last week, gave up a big lead when her hippo regurgitated several marbles, and my 5-year-old son and I snatched them up with our hippos, winning the game and the series in a tie over Mommy. “My husband and son only had about one or two marbles in each of their hippo bellies, and I had all the rest, save the last two or three in the center ring,” my wife said after the game. “And then there was some sort of toy malfunction where my hippo’s mouth got stuck open, and the marbles that I’d already captured just rolled out -- back into play. It’s really not fair.” Life isn’t fair, sources say. And my son and I acknowledged those sources as we accepted last night’s victory.

Last week, my wife and I caught our kindergartener smuggling contraband into his classroom. After giving him a hug and kiss goodbye, I noticed his backpack was half unzipped. Just as I was about to zip up the bag, my wife asked me to wait a second. “Right there in his backpack were three Matchbox cars, a harmonica, about a dozen toy Army men, and worst of all we found an extra bag of fruit snacks!” my wife said. Asked what the boy was trying to do with such goods, our son said, “I dunno.” My wife and I confiscated the items and have been conducting routine searches of the boy’s backpack. “It’s amazing what a kid packs in his bag,” I told authorities. “Anything and everything from key chains and random toy parts, to weeds picked out of the cracks in a sidewalk, and even rocks. A boy’s backpack is really his treasure chest.” My boy has since been clean.

-September 2008