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The Tale of the Headless Easter Bunny

I have issues. I get that.

But perhaps during no season are my issues more prevalent than during the run-up to Easter. And there’s one massive reason.

The Easter Bunny.

But not the cute, fluffy, imaginary one (sorry kids if you’re reading this) that stops by my house every year to set up the egg hunt. Not the one on TV that clucks like a chicken while laying the Cadburry eggs (does he still do that? I’m a Netflix/Hulu girl and thus out of touch). Not even the one that lives on Pinterest as a cake. Whether real or ideal.

easter bunny cake

Nailed it, amIright

No, I’m talking about one and only one kind of Easter Bunny: the person-sized one.

There’s something about an enormous Easter Bunny that is so inherently, fundamentally, creepily wrong. And to me, the reason is the scale. I mean, bunnies are cute and fluffy and adorable and small and squishy (and granted, mean, but I’m even willing to ignore that because they’re. so. TEENY!).

The second you create a bunny that’s larger than, let’s say, any average-sized rodent, then you’ve got a problem.

Because giant bunnies are creepy AF.

Consider Harvey. The makers of the classic Jimmy Stewart saga wisely knew they had to keep the six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall pooka completely invisible.

Why? Because the second he’s real, he’s creepy AF.

No actual bunny should be six-feet, three-and-one-half-inches tall.

carousel rabbitNo bunny should even be the size of the carousel rabbit I recently found in the Roseville Galleria. I mean, check out the face! And what kid would EVER want to ride on an impatient-looking, oversized lagomorph who obviously has dagger-like claws under those paws? (And tell me those sketchy eyes aren’t the windows into a black-as-night soul.)

Anyhow, so last weekend, I took my daughters to the Sierra View Library inside Reno Town Mall (or “Old Town Mall,” for those of you who’ve lived in Reno long enough to remember the locale’s tiny movie theater, or that Breuners and Marshalls used to be anchors).

As we walked into the mall, I was struck by how truly little has changed there since the days of the movie theater. It’s like the decaying carcass of a mall from the ‘80s, enshrouded in brick and wood and bronzey hues with high ceilings and a fountain that still limps along (but is so much less magical than I recall from my childhood).

And as we approached the library, there he was. Sitting in a giant chair against a cheesy backdrop in this deliciously garish skeleton of a mall.

It was the Easter Bunny. And he was HUGE. And he waved at us.

*shudders*

 Avoiding eye contact as much as possible, we walked briskly by, with me sliding myself between my 4-year-old and the photo backdrop for fear she’d want a picture with aforementioned creepy AF bunny.

Success. A sheepish grin was all the gargantuan bunny got from my perky pre-schooler.

But when we emerged from the library after a few hours of computer time, puzzle-building and book checking-outing, it was an entirely different story.

“Mommy, may I get a picture with the Easter Bunny?” Bryerlee sweetly asked.

“Nope,” I said curtly. “Too busy. Busy-busy-BUSY!” (I hoped the quick cadence alone of my staccato response would convey the immediate urgency of our need to vacate the premises. Immediately.)

We picked up the pace, I crossed my fingers, whispered a silent prayer and hoped for the best.

But as it turned out, my excuse wasn’t even necessary. Because as we got closer, my pre-schooler’s eyes got bigger. My eyes got bigger. My 15-year-old’s eyes got bigger — and made direct, you-can’t-make-this-shit-up contact with mine.

Because Creepy Bunny was not only creepy AF. But she was holding her costume head up, revealing her entire face below the mask, socializing nonchalantly with the photographer. She made eye contact with us as we passed by, totally deadpan, not even remotely apologizing for ruining any semblance of illusion that the creepy AF bunny was the actual Easter Bunny.

One job, people. Creepy Bunny had ONE JOB. And she ended up doing the exact opposite of that one job.

Bryerlee didn’t say a word. But I could sense by her shoulders, the back of her head, her general disposition that something pure and innocent died inside of her that day.

The next morning, as we were talking over her morning bowl of Cheerios, she looked at me intently.

“Mom, I know that wasn’t the real Easter Bunny.”

“No, it wasn’t,” I assured her. “But isn’t that a good thing? I mean, that would be one giant, creepy, way-out-of-scale bunny if it were real.”

I knew she wouldn’t understand that last concept, but I felt it important to mention.

“It was just a human wearing a costume,” she said wistfully.

“Yup, you’re right.” I affirmed.

She then paused, tilted her head to the side, rolled her eyes and said in a sing-songy cadence:

Spoiler alert.”

Spoiler, indeed.

How my 4-year-old knew to use that term is beyond me. But while her illusions about a 6-foot-tall real Easter Bunny were absolutely spoiled inside that decaying carcass of an ‘80s mall, her grasp of teenage lexicon was alive and well.

And I’ve dodged a bullet. Because the other thing that was squashed that day: any desire she had — then or any day in the future, I’m hoping — of having a picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

Or the “Easter Bunny,” as she now uses air quotes when describing him. Her. It. Whatever.

Happy Easter, all. May your baskets overflow, your eggs adopt brilliant hues, and your bunnies be tiny.

And if they aren’t, at least may they keep their fucking heads on.

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About Mikalee Byerman

Mikalee Byerman
Voted "Best Creative Writer" in 2018 by readers of the Reno News & Review, Mikalee Byerman will henceforth be talking about this distinction ad nauseam because it's the first and only popularity contest this former buck-toothed nerd has ever won in her life. She is a humor essayist whose highly controversial blog, Me 2.0, has been featured on the Huffington Post and TIME Magazine's websites. Her writing also has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Southwest Spirit Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine. Her debut book — 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die — was published last year by Reedy Press. During the day, she is VP of Strategy for the Estipona Group. Oh, and her name rhymes with "prickly fireman," though FYI, she's neither prickly nor a fireman.

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