We had everything worked out. Max had a loose tooth, so we told the boys that when their baby teeth fall out, they just put the tooth under their pillow and the tooth fairy sneaks in after they're asleep and replaces it with money.
"How does the tooth fairy know when a tooth comes out."
"She just knows."
"But what if her forgets?"*
"We can send him email."
"Yes, send email. Is the tooth fairy a boy or girl?"
"Oh, I don't think the tooth fairy is either, really. It's more like an entity."
[* That's one of their favorite toddler constructions that they still go back to every now and then. "Him died. Give it to she." I don't have the heart to correct them most of the time.]
Everything was fine, until the neighbor girl butted in. Her parents do not believe in lying to children. They explicitly tell her that Santa Claus isn't real, the Easter Bunny isn't real, and the tooth fairy doesn't exist. That's just awful. It's arrogant to pretend you know the truth about things. When that little girl grows up, she's going to have the mistaken notion that her parents knew the truth about things, and they weren't full of shit. She's going to grow up being one of those annoying people who say "My mother is my best friend." That's a perfectly awful thing to say. Here are five perfectly awful things to say.
1. I don't have a television.
2. My father/mother is my best friend.
3. I'm sorry for your loss.
4. I'm sending you positive vibes.
5. I don't have any regrets.
Luke and Max want to keep their baby teeth, but I assume there's a reason to take them away. After all, that's what everyone does. Same thing with singing songs like "Rock a Bye Baby" -- it's perfectly fine to sing lullaby songs about death, because everyone else does it. If we think everyone is basically healthy and good, like we all live in Bedford Falls, then I suppose that's a good thing. But what if we live in Pottersville?
So Max knows I'm the tooth fairy, and he received a dollar for his tooth. Now he wants his tooth back, and he knows I have it. He is willing to pay me a dollar for the tooth.
I believe that when my anti-Santa, anti-Tooth Fairy neighbor dies, he is going to a place where flames lick at his feet and a red devil with a pitch fork laughs and tells him true things.