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.