Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crazy Bananas

If you live in the Anglosphere, you will no doubt be aware of the Tooth Fairy, who appears undetected in the night to collect a child’s lost tooth from underneath his or her pillow, replacing it with money. While a child’s propensity for belief in magical creatures is at its peak during those early years when milk teeth fall out, by the time said child is a veteran of the dental cycle, he or she is far more likely to simply go along with the pretense just to score a little cash.

The Tooth Fairy has been plying her trade for many hundreds of years with astounding reliability, though it behooves an inexperienced parent not to set the bar too high with the first tooth by being overly generous with the coin (and yes, the Tooth Fairy leaves actual metal coins, she is not so louche as to carry bills). Doing so will inevitably encourage uncomfortable and possibly harrowing conversations with your child regarding the health of the Tooth Fairy’s bank balance and where on earth she gets all her money should her contributions to your child’s piggy bank dwindle. (American children receive on average $2.60 per tooth, though not in loose change.)

Eventually the child will no doubt discover a trove of baby teeth in the parent’s bedside table once they become curious enough to start exploring those parts of the house deemed off-limits in order to find the alcohol, porn and sex toys their friends have convinced them must be there. It is debatable which is more psychologically damaging for the child: to find damning proof that their parents lied to them all those years about the Tooth Fairy’s existence or to uncover a hefty, lifelike silicone dildo in Mommy’s drawer. Such are the potential hazards of family life.

In Spanish-speaking places (the Spanglosphere? The Hispanosphere?), the Tooth Fairy comes in the form of a mouse, which in days of yore might have been a little closer to the truth. Elsewhere, teeth are thrown to the ground or up into the air in order to persuade the powers that be to make the child’s new teeth grow in straight. One might argue that the English ought to have adopted that tradition instead.

Here is a recipe to encourage the Tooth Fairy’s (or the Tooth Mouse’s) good work.

The Chinese-Kosher Cookbook, Ruth and Bob Grossman, 1963

Also from an expended version of this book: How Very Schmaltzy, Are We Done? The Case of the Missing Swine
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