BC’S B’DOS – God’s Easter Bunny
ONCE, IN 1989, when I didn’t know how to say no graciously, or even rudely, Auntie Nancy got me to be the Easter Bunny and wear a thick, hot, pink rabbit suit, with rabbit gloves and feet and a hideous, buck-toothed, floppy-eared, stifling rabbit head. The only ventilation was the mouth, a hole the size of a small child’s fist (through which I was cuffed often by the little monsters, sorry, tykes).
For two hours, I stood in the dark, in the hot sun, while buckets of sweat collected in my rabbit feet and gloves. Unable to see out from below the buck teeth, I couldn’t tell which kid was going to fly through the air and hit me in the gut next, the ones who loved me generally doing more damage than the hostile ones, like most of the women I’ve known.
God and Auntie Nancy alone know why I couldn’t give out Easter eggs in the front porch instead of the front lawn. My eggs melted and stuck to my fur; the smarter children tried to pull my rabbit gloves off, the wickeder ones threw stones from a distance.
I kept walking into things (chuckling softly if it was a child, cackling aloud if it was a mother, falling over if it was a chair); and, every five minutes, a different angry mother hissed, “You should be hopping!”
My nightmare was pure joy for the little Lords of the Flies & Their Parents’ Manors. They would happily have torn me limb from furry limb, like a walking piñata.
My one consolation was thinking I was touching the children’s lives, like Santa Claus; but then the smallest ambulant child, a toddler of two, tugged my paw. “Mister,” he said, “you have any more chocolate eggs?” Even the littlest of the little ones was street-wise to the Easter Bunny.
But the amazing thing about that day, which penetrated even that thick rabbit head – and, yes, the even thicker human skull within – was that the mothers were far more impressed by the Easter Bunny than their children; it was the first time I realised children were more rational than adults.
Children are remarkably stupid, but only because they lack experience. Kids quickly become sophisticated: a three-year-old believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because he loves the notion of goodness they represent; a ten-year-old believes because he wants presents and free chocolate.
What happens between the ages of two and 52 that allows people to become rational about the Easter Bunny but remain superstitious about God? The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are nothing compared to what religions require us to accept. Really, now, four wives for men, hijab for women? Virgin birth? Resurrection from the dead, like a zombie flick?
A sensible world would move towards ecumenism and away from man-made differences in man-made religions. Sincere belief should accommodate God however She is perceived. For myself, I reject an unforgiving God and imagine Him more like a super Easter Bunny, an image and likeness I know too well.
B.C. Pires would go to Mass if they served chocolate communion. A version of this column appeared 20 years ago in another publication.