LET ME SAY THAT I'm not one of these people who talks about how selfish the younger generation is, although that policy might have to be revised in light of certain recent developments.
Ispeak here of a nasty incident with a chocolate bunny which has both unnerved me and cast a pall of mistrust and bitterness over my wife and children.
The chocolate bunny was, of course, a by-product of Easter and that peculiar tradition whereby we get our kids all wound up with a bizarre tale of some sort of 6-foot-tall, philanthropic, candy-bearing rabbit -- and then pump massive amounts of chocolate into them on top of that!
The net result (at least with my kids) is that they spend the day in a highly agitated state, speeding around the house like deranged road runners until falling limp and exhausted around, oh, 3 in the morning.
Anyway, with all the other cavity-inducing loot the kids raked in this Easter, they paid little or no attention to this chocolate bunny. It sat there all by itself on the kitchen counter, wrapped in clear plastic and sporting a perky (it seemed to me) smile on its little face.
For two days, no one touched this chocolate bunny. In fact, I myself barely gave it a glance, exercising the kind of self-control normally found only in isolated Buddhist monks and perhaps Jane Fonda.
Then on the third day, I cracked. Oh, I cracked big-time. And I attacked this chocolate bunny with a savagery that was truly alarming to see in a 39-year-old man.
Thankfully there was no one home during the assault, which came while I was laboring over a particularly wretched column.
The details are a little hazy here. But apparently I thought that a piece of chocolate would serve as a much-need jolt to my central nervous system. And this, I hoped, would stimulate my creative juices and lift the column from the ranks of the particularly wretched to the normal state of wretchedness my readers have come to expect.
With this in mind, I unwrapped the chocolate bunny. And then I . . . well, God help me, but I tore his little ear from his head. And I ate it.
Boy, it tasted great. In fact, it tasted so great that I tore off the bunny's other little ear and ate that, too. Then I went to work on his head, arms and upper torso before finishing him off one leg at a time.
Then I went back to my column, which despite the chocolate rush nevertheless ended up being particularly wretched, again hastening the day when I quit writing professionally and open a small fish store.
Yet that evening, as I lay on the couch studying the ceiling, a loud mournful wailing erupted from the kitchen. This was followed by the sound of hurried footsteps and a young voice crying out: "SOMEONE ATE THE BUNNY!"
Naturally I did what any concerned father would do, which was to grab my coat and car keys and beat it out the back door.
Then I gunned the car in the direction of the mall, where I spent the next two hours on a bench in front of the Hickory Farms store, staring at a disturbing assortment of smoked sausage and thinking about life.
Unfortunately, the heat was still on when I returned home. As soon as I walked in the door, people were shooting me dirty looks, as if I had dragged a corpse in behind me.
Finally my wife said: "Are you the pathetic, twisted individual who ate the chocolate bunny?"
Well. I'll tell you something about a question like that. It sort of puts you on the defensive right away.
My first instinct, honed by years of experience in such matters, was, of course, to lie. Yet the more I thought about it, what exactly were we going to do with that chocolate bunny anyway? Use him as a paperweight? Or a doorstop?
Nobody was eating him. So that stupid bunny would have sat around the house for weeks, drawing ants and spiders and eventually even gangs of marauding mice.
The way I looked at it, I had just saved us a thousand bucks or more in exterminator fees.
"Hell, yes," I said at last. "I ate that bunny. You want details? I ate his little ears first. Then I chowed down on his head and his arms -- oh, they were the best! -- before munching his little legs. And now he's all gone! DO YOU HEAR ME?! GONE! HA, HA, HA, HA, HAAAAA!"
I'll tell you something: Honesty is not all it's cracked up to be.
Although it's quiet around the house right now. A little too quiet.