RRR #7: Adults Exploit the Gullibility of Defenseless Children

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Since we, unfortunately, were not able to do a Groundhog Day issue, I have apparently been deprived of an opportunity to discuss the ludicrous ways that various storytelling media describe time travel, but I suppose I can invent something for Valentine’s Day instead. Here’s a warning, though: I do not actually resent the thing I intend to attack in this article to the degree my attitude implies. I bear no hatred for this thing, only bewilderment.

Kids are great. I, personally, really like kids, and wish I was one of them. Regrettably, I seem to have matured into a “young man,” which apparently means that I’m not allowed to have fun anymore. Rather, I’m not allowed to have fun unless I exploit children for their ignorance, laughing at their expense, because that seems to be what adults do. In my experience, being a child is hard work, because adults try to make you humiliate yourself for their pleasure. Let’s start with Santa Claus.

As a small child, I never believed in Santa Claus. I was confused as to why people expected me to believe that someone can cover that much ground and do that much work in such a short period of time. I don’t have a good explanation for why that was the primary factor that dissuaded me. I can say that I also thought it suspicious that Santa makes branded factory products in his workshop. Anyway, I thought that I was supposed to believe in Santa, so I half-heartedly tried to convince myself that he was real, like Pascal did in his famous wager, except Pascal was trying to convince himself that God existed and I was trying to convince myself that Santa existed. According to my parents, when they heard me pretending to rationalize how he could get to all those houses, they knew Santa was doomed. My lie that I believed in Santa convinced my parents as much as their own Santa lie convinced me. But this got me thinking: why? It is extremely disturbing that adults ritualistically exploit the gullibility and trust of children for no clear motive save a will to be superior to someone else.

This next one took me a lot longer to realize: what was going on with Valentine’s Day in elementary school? “Would you be my Valentine?” my classmates asked, meaning nothing – thinking nothing of what they were saying. To be fair, many adults put equally little intent into such words of romantic courtship, but I should hope that a great portion of these people have the scrap of decency necessary to not openly flirt with everybody in the room. Sure, the element of mutual support in elementary school children giving each other candy that their parents bought is something that the adult world really needs, but telling children to ask everybody to be their Valentine is neither an effective nor an acceptable way of instituting such camaraderie. “Hahaha, look! These children are polygamists and they don’t even know it.” How would a situation in which each child dates every other even work? Is the lunch period some massive double date that was taken to the edge of our understanding of courtship? I’m sure every child felt humiliated when he or she realized what he or she had been conditioned to do every Valentine’s Day.

Honestly, though, I think the worst of the worst is represented by the Tooth Fairy. What possibly could have inspired somebody to say to his or her child: “There’s a magical woman who harvests parts of your body that you have spent your entire life growing. Under the Fifth Amendment, she is required to give compensation for property that is confiscated without due process, so after she steals the very implements you use to eat, she will pay you a small reimbursement charge. Additionally, you need to put this tooth under the pillow, because she won’t be able to find it if it’s anywhere else.” Despite the Tooth Fairy knowing whenever a tooth has defected from a child’s mouth, and despite her knowing which house and room the child lives in, she apparently cannot locate the tooth unless it is placed in the least accessible place in the room: under a sleeping child.

I’d discuss the Easter Bunny, but everybody has done that already. The fact that you have probably heard lines such as “if it’s a rabbit, why does it have eggs, and why are the eggs multicolored?” supports my point: I am not the only person who is immensely bothered by these ridiculous lies we are told. Other people see the problem and are trying to make a difference. They are saving future generations from this pointless betrayal of trust. I do have an Easter Bunny fan theory though. The Easter Bunny can reproduce only once a year, so it needs to make sure that the offspring that it is able to spawn survive. For this reason, it hides its eggs from humans. It has to hide the eggs because developing Easter Bunny embryos have a sweet, sugary flavor, which is very appealing to children. The innards of the eggs that are found are consumed for their agreeable taste, while the mature Easter Bunnies (they’re hollow and made of chocolate) that are captured are eaten right out of the Easter Bunny’s nest, which humans call the “Easter Basket.” It is because such savagery is instilled in the human children that we are such a warlike race.