The Unexamined Easter

April 3, 2012

By Andrea Goto  ·  Photography by Chia Chong

I’m all about living a thoughtful, introspective existence, but some things are better left unexamined.

Like the Easter Bunny.

I’m finally at a point in my life where I can admit that I never really believed in the Easter Bunny. Anyway you wrap it, bow it or rest it on a bed of stringy plastic greens, the Easter Bunny makes no sense.  A rabbit that hides the tie-dyed eggs you colored the night before, even while the stains are still fresh on your fingertips? It’s not right. It’s not even sanitary.

It’s not that I’m a nonbeliever by nature. I can totally get behind a man in a red suit with a white beard who flies around the world by a reindeer-chartered sleigh. Kids like toys. Santa makes toys. Good kids get said toys. End of story. But I can’t seem to connect-the-dots between a furry, long-eared, long-toothed mammal and a basket of psychedelic-colored hardboiled eggs. I don’t like hardboiled eggs, especially those sitting in God-knows-what and baking in the sun; so again, why am I hunting for eggs?

And how am I supposed to conceive of this so-called Easter Bunny? Is there just one or, like the Tooth Fairy, does he belong to a large network of unionized holiday workers? Is he an anthropomorphic, Harvey-like rabbit, such as the frightening 7-footer at the mall whose big eyes and perma-grin triggers a flashback to an acid trip gone horribly wrong? Or am I really supposed to believe that real-life little bunny foo-foos are placing eggs among the shrubs with their non-opposable thumbs?

I saw the Easter Bunny one fateful Sunday. My mom and sister had gone to Easter service with the obligatory lily fashioned to their lapels. But I was home sick, and dad, a conscientious objector to all things religious, was never at risk of going. I was glad to miss out on the itchy bonnet mom insisted on, but sad that I wouldn’t be approaching the altar with my handpicked daffodil to place on the gigantic crucifix wrapped in chicken wire.

I didn’t mean to see him. I was lying on my parents’ bed trying not to throw up when I saw Dad not-so-stealthy hiding eggs in the rhododendron. I was at once frustrated that Dad wasn’t even trying to be sneaky and relived that a life-size bunny wasn’t running rogue.

I continued to believe in the Easter Bunny for many years—or at least I pretended to. Like war and famine, I tried not to think about it for too long, fearing that I’d spiral into a deep depression. Maybe Dad was just helping out. Maybe he was filling in for some PTO the bunny earned from years of service.  But I did know that as long as I played along, I’d get hallowed out chocolate bunnies and a carton of egg-gums. As long as I played along, I could cling to my childhood innocence for a couple more years. As long as I played along, I could believe in something in spite of it being altogether incomprehensible.

Sometimes the unexamined life is also the most magical.

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