“So, what’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days?”

I was talking to a friend of mine, a young parent whose child lost a tooth that day.

“You’re not going to believe this,” he replied. “But I’m hearing $20. It was a dollar when I was a kid.”

This reminded me of my issues with the Tooth Fairy.

Since I know him to be an avid reader of this column, I will address them here. My chief points of concern, listed numerically by numbers, are as follows:

1. His rates.

While the rest of the world realizes we are in an international financial downturn, the Tooth Fairy apparently is living in some financial Nirvana where the rate of inflation escalates by the hour.

The last time we dealt with the Tooth Fairy, about six years ago, our youngest son informed us that the “going rate” was $10. Not for the whole set of teeth — just one measly incisor. Meanwhile, in an unrelated note, the “going rate” for elephant tusks in Botswana was also $10 at that time.

If my son is reading this, I want him to realize that his mother and I didn’t pay for his teeth – the Tooth Fairy did. I also want him to realize he should be studying for something and not reading his father’s drivel, as his mother and school counselor have repeatedly warned him.

I just don’t want him to get a warped perception of how the economy works.

For instance, our oldest child’s first pulled tooth only cost the Tooth Fairy $1. His “going rate” has increased 2,000% in 17 years. No industry in the world has seen that kind of inflation in the past decade — except, obviously, health care.

2. His mode of currency.

Why does it have to be cash?

Often, parents don’t know when a child is going to lose a tooth. It could be 1 a.m., when access to an ATM is limited. Again, not that parents are paying for teeth, but some parents may choose to match what the Tooth Fairy pays, and not have cash on hand.

Not using cash would also prevent the Tooth Fairy from making a middle-of-the-night mistake and writing a check for a child’s tooth, using the father’s checks and handwriting — which the Tooth Fairy did to me once years ago. The Tooth Fairy can be a real idiot sometimes.

I would suggest it become uniform that the Tooth Fairy pay the parents, then the parents reimburse the children for their teeth, using checks or IOUs or hollow promises.

This method could solve a lot of problems if utilized and marketed sufficiently.

3. This whole under the pillow routine.

Why can’t the Tooth Fairy just put the money on a dresser, or in a shoe, or a bank account? Why does he have to sneak in the room at night when they are asleep and stick the cash under their pillow?

Often, I have gone to check under my children’s pillow to see if the Tooth Fairy showed up, only to startle my children.

“Daddy, what are you doing with your hand under my pillow?”

“Uh, well, hello, how are you this evening?”

“Daddy, why is your hand under my pillow? What are you doing? Are you trying to steal my teeth again?”

“My hand was cold” is the best I could do, or rather, worst.

I would suggest, like Christmas, we have a tree (smaller, of course) that we place in the den for just such an occasion. A Tooth Tree. It doesn’t even have to be a tree. It could be a Tooth Bush or Tooth Shrub. The Tooth Fairy could place the reward under the Tooth Tree/Bush/Shrub and bypass all this clandestine under-the-pillow silliness.

4. The name.

The Tooth Fairy title just isn’t working anymore. It sort of embarrasses me to say it, or write it 40 times in this column. Time to update that. I would suggest something a bit more modern, like the Tooth Ninja, or the Tooth Viper, or Storm Tooth, or Nitro Tooth. Basically, taking any of the names from the late great “American Gladiators” show and attaching “Tooth” to it would suffice.

My grievances have thusly been aired. The ball is now in your court, Tooth Ninja (my preference).

Email Len Robbins at lrobbins@theclinchcountynews.com.

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