But anything for your amusement, right?
Yes, this was my first real job. (And all my own hair.)
I think it was 1991, which means I would have been fourteen. I made $4.50/hour.
Actually, I was paid$4.50/hour. But the job was in the mall. Ten yards from the food court. Surrounded by a retail Xanadu. I probably didn’t make anything.
Just reminiscing makes me want to take an ice bath. That costume was hot. I wore an ice pack on my neck in the lame attempt to cool the air inside that wretched plastic head.
There were actually two bunny heads available: the brand-new mask with fluffy cheeks and clean fur, and an older version, not so fluffy and not so clean. Therein lies the quandary: the new bunny mask smelled better but weighed significantly more. Do you choose the heavy but stench-free version? Or opt for the lighter mask and live with the odor of stale sweat from dozens of bunny predecessors?
Those of you who know how smell-sensitive I am will comprehend the weight of the new mask when I confess I chose the old one.
This is me with my friend Jamie, my erstwhile co-Bunny and co-photographer.
Yes, lest you think my employable skills ran only to the furry end of the spectrum, Jamie and I would would take turns sweltering in the bunny costume or standing at the helm of a camera the size of a compact car to take photos of marginal quality for which we charged outrageous sums of money on behalf of our employer.
But the photographer shift was infinitely superior to playing bunny. And the terrible costume was only half of it. I will never understand why donning a furry costume to earn some extra cash provokes abuse. But it does.
Recently, I founded the Society for the Prevention of Abuse of Costumed Kids Laboring at Easter (SPACKLE) to help eliminate this threat to our peaceful society. I’m sure 99% of people don’t engage in the wanton abuse of the Easter Bunny with malicious intentions. But you, too, could inadvertently be guilty of ACKLE unless you submit to our reeducation initiative.
To prevent ACKLE, just remember to avoid SMOG.
- Slapping – The bunny mask is not a helmet. It a giant, airless echo chamber of fur-covered plastic resting on the weary shoulders of an underemployed teenager. Please do not hit.
- Mobbing – I know that picture of you and all eighteen of your pledge sisters will be adorable, but not every one fits on my lap at once. Although the costume makes the Easter Bunny look sturdy, underneath is actually a skinny teenage girl who has no idea her metabolism will drop dead at the age of 27, so she’s spending half her paycheck at the food court inhaling ice cream and pizza and Chik-fil-a because it instantly melts away from her youthful physique, at least until she marries and has two kids and is working a hundred times harder and staying up all night and really needing those extra calories and instead finds that even the slightest indulgence to satisfy her cravings results in cellulite and love handles and a panicked dash for the “fat clothes,” when all she really wants to do it wear cute, trendy outfits over a cute, athletic figure and look in the mirror to see something other than flabby triceps and muffin tops and thighs that look like they got savaged with a bag of nickels and let’s not even discuss the gray hair and the creaky joints and— Er, uh, never mind.
- Offspring – Yes, your kid looks precious in his Easter togs. But I don’t think you should force him to sit on my lap if he’s flailing like a feral cat and shrieking at the top of his lungs. I know you’re telling him I’m a really nice person but he’s actually terrified by the giant, bug-eyed rabbit head I’m wearing. And, no, telling him to look inside the mouth of the bunny mask and see the girl inside doesn’t help because now he thinks the Easter Bunny ate me and is screaming even louder.
- Guns – I’m all for hunting as sport, but the Easter Bunny isn’t reasonably considered a game animal, so please stop shooting at me with your pellet gun. Thank you.
(True stories, all.)
It was child exploitation, plain and simple. We attempted to unionize but Jamie and I couldn’t settle which of us got to be the union delegate and which of us was the rank-and-file member handing over our paycheck.
Even so, I learned a lot about what kind of job I didn’t want someday and had a little fun in the meantime.
I don’t remember meeting any boys, though.
Strange. I’m not sure why.