Easter is basically benign, but ...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 99 13:01:59 -0700
Subject: Easter is basically benign, but ...
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Forwarded-by: Keith Sullivan <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
TOO MANY BRUSHES WITH PHENOMENALLY BAD EASTERS HEIGHTEN APPRECIATION FOR
By Robert Kirby, The Salt Lake Tribune, March 20, 1999
When it comes to fully appreciating the significance of a holy day, you
can't beat the retail industry. Maybe that's why the focus of Easter seems
to be on a rabbit instead of a savior.
I readily admit to being part of the problem. Probably because I've
experienced some truly bad Easters. Not real Easters. Pagan Easters.
For me, Easter started going bad in basic training. On bivouac one night,
we were forced to use our helmets for baskets and hunt for smoke grenades
that the drill sergeant hid around a large swamp. The experience was so
horrifying that I still have nightmares about the Easter Leech.
The most costly Easter was the time my neighbors bought a live bunny and
put it in their back yard as a surprise for their kids. Imagine how
surprised they were when my husky jumped the fence and killed the Easter
bunny right in front of them. Could have been worse. It could have been
The worst Easter didn't occur until July of '81. That's when our kids hid
their Easter eggs in the back of a closet and forgot about them for three
months. By the time we tracked down the smell, the eggs had grown serious
attitudes. We almost had to burn the house down.
My most painful Easter was in South America, when my missionary companion
and I were pelted with Easter eggs from a passing truck. It was nearly a
religious experience. A 60-mph egg in the back of the head gives you a real
appreciation for the Resurrection.
>From a purely pagan point of view, Easter wouldn't be so bad if you
actually got something for it. It's not like Christmas, when you can
reasonably expect quality gifts. Nor is it like Halloween, a time when it's
considered socially acceptable to get even with people you don't like.
Easter is basically benign, but don't you dare break its traditions.
Like most holidays involving lots of candy and even more money, Easter comes
with a curse if you mess with it. Easter's pagan traditions may seem dumb
and overblown, but it could be a lot worse.
Years ago, my wife and I decided to go the artificial Easter route. Instead
of boiling three dozen eggs that the dog would eventually eat -- a
gastronomical disaster known in our family history as "the unspeakable
Easter" -- we bought plastic eggs and filled them with little prizes.
Big mistake. Never make Easter anything at all like Christmas. If you do,
you will eventually end up paying for it just like Christmas -- with a
The problem with substituting the traditional eggs with nontraditional gifts
is that kids expect the gift level to grow along with them. They might
think it's great to get a plastic egg with a nickel in it when they're 5
years old, but don't try it on them when they are teen-agers.
What started out with candy and spare change within five years had worked
its way up to concert tickets, jewelry and money orders. When my daughters
were babies, they cried if they didn't get a chocolate bunny. This year
they will cry because none of the plastic eggs contain keys to a new
If you have to have a pagan Easter, your best bet is to keep it simple. A
few colored eggs, a chocolate rabbit, some jelly beans and maybe a new
Easter dress. Anything else, and it might occur to you that your own
resurrection isn't coming fast enough.
Robert Kirby welcomes e-mail at email@example.com.
(c) Copyright 1999, The Salt Lake Tribune <http://www.sltrib.com/>
© 1999 Peter Langston