Monday, March 28, 2005

An Easter Tale

A book I am reading advises people to keep a “gratitude journal” as part of a program of conquering the culture of materialism, the idea being that instead of wanting more and more, you are content with what you have. Since this is a very intelligent book in every other way (The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz), and since I am always interested in my own spiritual advancement, this morning I gave it a shot. You keep a notepad at your bedside and every morning when you wake up, you write five things that happen the day before that you’re grateful for, such as, Schwartz suggests: “the sunlight streaming in through the bedroom window.” Since nothing streams in through my bedroom window but the shrieks of homeless crack addicts, I had to look elsewhere. The first thing that came to mind was my victory at the Easter egg hunt, which took place yesterday in the backyard of my friends L and R.

From the minute I heard of the hunt on Friday evening, I was determined to be the victor. I’m not usually competitive where games are concerned, but I am very partial to chocolate eggs and Sunday was my last chance to stock up on them for another year. That Friday night, I refused a third cocktail and made my excuses, saying that I was tired. In fact, I didn’t want a hangover, since I was in training for the competition. On Saturday afternoon, I made a point of not missing yoga, hoping my enhanced flexibility might give me an advantage. On Sunday morning, at the brunch beforehand, I ate lightly to avoid weighing myself down.

When the time came for the hunt, I was disappointed to learn that the eggs in question were ordinary hardboiled ones and not, as I had thought, made out of chocolate. But since I had already told everyone I was going to win, honor bound me to do so. As soon as we were told to start (well, slightly before in my case) I grabbed the two or three eggs nearest me. Then something possessed me, a savage elemental force that I will call Bad Bunny.

This only lasted a few minutes, but when Bad Bunny departed, I was hunched protectively over my hoard of eighteen eggs, while one of my friends lay panting in the mud, another was yelling “Cheater!” and a third advanced with an empty basket shouting “Give. Them. Back!” I tried to explain that they obviously were not listening when the referee announced beforehand that there were no rules, which meant there was no such thing as “cheating.” Meanwhile, Jordan, shielding me with his body, ascribed my behavior to “too many mimosas.”

Unfortunately even winning the hunt did not get me any actual chocolate eggs, but merely the first shot at the piñata, a cardboard girl with carrot-colored hair and beetroot-colored cheeks. I attempted to knock her to the ground, but was severely hampered by my blindfold. Then, as a thunderstorm brewed, my savagery seemed to infect my friend M, who is usually a charming and gracious woman. M snatched the stick, swung it round her head and then, as one guest later put it, “she went ape-shit, freestyle.” Was it my imagination or did I, for a second, see, in place of M, a giant bunny, silhouetted against the greenish light? The victim did not stand a chance, although for a while her head hung on by a string.

As the first drops began to fall, M finally disemboweled our makeshift Jesus. But I stood back and let the others scrabble for the plunder. Victory was hollow, and not filled with chocolate eggs, as I had imagined, but mostly chocolate in plain old bar shape and, since this is San Francisco, sachets of ginseng tablets. Yet somehow I was not downcast, still throbbing with adrenalin. The referee shook a flaccid Kit-Kat at me (it had broken as it fell) and said: “You fought so hard to win and yet it wasn’t what you thought. There’s a life lesson for you in this, isn’t there?” Yes, I thought to myself, it's fun to beat people, and I mentally inscribed “Bless Bad Bunny” in my gratitude journal.


Anonymous "tied for 2nd" said...

Of course, you forget to mention that your original rake was only nine eggs. How, pray, did you end up with eighteen? Rumour has it that another contestant delivered to you another nine eggs in an effort to pool winnings and overcome the contestant with ten eggs.

This ungracioiusness has not gone unnoticed. Just wait until next year ...

10:25 AM  

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