"You Can Fool Me Once"



So there I was, a young lad reaching one of the first of many rites of passage from babydom to boyhood. A rite not only not looked forward to, but one that is unknown to even exist until the day it happens. Once it happens though, hoopla and revelry abound. Everyone must know! What a proud moment for child and parent alike. "Our little baby boy is turning into quite the young man," they would say. For centuries, this moment has had such a huge impact on children all over the world that legends have been written and fairy tails have been told. There I was, four years old, with my first loose tooth!

Ah, the first loose tooth... Once discovered, the first loose tooth becomes a world of wonder to be both explored and taken to the limit. It will be shown to all. The mirror once only used to make funny faces now becomes a constant companion. Man, look at that thing wiggle! The only thing more excited about having a loose tooth than a child is the tongue. The tongue/tooth relationship is unrivaled. Even when looking in the mirror becomes tiresome to the tot, the loose tooth is like catnip to the tongue. The tongue with a mind of its own will bat at, flick and attack the tooth whether it wants to or not. This will continue until the tongue/tooth relationship becomes much like that of Lenny and the rabbits. The tongue will love the tooth and pet it and maybe even call it George, but then one day it will play too rough.

The first day that I discovered the loose tooth was also the first day I heard the legend of the Tooth Fairy. Itís about this wonderful little creature who bestows monetary gifts in the middle of the night to good little boys and girls who offer up their bicuspids and well crafted molars to the gods of baby teeth. All one has to do, I was told, was place the baby tooth under one's pillow before bed and in the middle of the night, the tooth fairy would take it and leave some money. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I couldn't wait for my tooth to fall out.

Then it happened.

I remember like it was yesterday. It was dusk in the middle of summer and I was in the driveway eating a popcorn ball waiting for dad to come home from work. Mom was inside making dinner. I was daydreaming away and playing with my Tonka Trucks when I heard the ever familiar sound of the Ď66 Barracuda. Dad is home!!! He opened the door and I ran to him as I always did and jumped into his arms for the customary hug. He lifted me up over his head and I smiled.

"Hey! It looks like someone lost some teeth!"

"WHAT????"

I ran inside to look in the mirror and lo and behold they were gone. I lost my two front bottom teeth. I shrieked with excitement and couldn't be happier until I realized I had no clue where they were. Excitement turned to horror almost immediately when realized if I didn't find the teeth there would be no Tooth Fairy. Frantically, I searched the house and then the driveway. I looked everywhere and with each passing moment grief took hold and squeezed tighter until it began to squeeze so tight that tears popped out. Dusk turned to dark and my hopes of finding the teeth vanished. Dad came out and tried to console me by helping me look. Then he hatched "The Plan."

Dad said that there might be a way to solve my dilemma. Maybe, he said, just maybe if I could find something that looked like teeth and placed it under my pillow we might be able to trick the Tooth Fairy into leaving some money. I chose to accept the mission. I found a paper plate and broke off two tooth-sized pieces. I showed them to dad and he said that it just might work, but that maybe I should rap my fake paper teeth in tin foil. This was so that maybe in the rush to collect all the world's children's baby teeth in one night, the fairy would be too busy to unwrap the foil and discover that the faux teeth were in fact bits of paper. What a great scheme, I thought. It had to work. So I did as instructed, then placed the teeth under my pillow. The excitement of a midnight visit from a magical being left me restless. It took quite a while for me to fall asleep, but eventually, I did.

The next morning I woke up and I couldn't wait to check under my pillow. With nervous anticipation I slowly lifted the pillow only to find two balled up pieces of tin foil. Depression kicked in. My plan to pull a fast one was foiled. I woke my dad up to tell him the news. First he said to go back to bed. "BUT DAD!" I cried. His next words were so powerful that at 32 years old I have decided to write a story about them. He said, "Well, son, I guess you just can't fool the Tooth Fairy."