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Easter egg melee readies children for real world

April 04, 2001

Easter egg melee readies children for real world



Let's see, have I got everything?

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> M-16A2 rifle

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Trip wire

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> M-203 grenade launcher

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Night-vision goggles

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> M29A1 81 mm mortar

A special black ops project I have in mind? Oh my goodness no, I'm going on an Easter egg hunt.

The charitable group MIHI, by all accounts, did the best job it could have organizing the affair the weekend before last at the county ag center, where it stuffed savings bonds into some of the 2001 Easter eggs hidden on the grounds.

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But it didn't count on one thing: Washington County parents. A few bad eggs showed their parental love by swearing, shoving and in some instances actually hitting their kids who - showing infinitely more sense than their folks - were hesitant to join the melee.

This was an Easter egg hunt. We expect this kind of behavior at a Little League game, but not here.

Talk about disconnect. How in the world did the celebration of the life of the greatest pacifist in history turn into a mob of militant moms poking around in the sagebrush for some hard-boiled breakfast food?

Where else but Washington County - and possibly Texas - could an egg hunt turn into war? But finally, a new avenue for Tom Clancy: "An Easter Bunny in the Kremlin," "Clear and Present Marshmallow Peeps," or "The Hunt for Red Cholesterol."

I've heard of egging someone on, but this is ridiculous. Staff writer Jennifer Silbert took her young son Henry to the event. Jennifer's family is new to the area, and by new I mean her ancestors weren't around to quarry stone for the C&O Canal. So she came out of the Easter egg hunt with a dazed sort of "Toto, I don't think we're in Wisconsin anymore" disposition bordering on shocked disbelief.

"I was appalled..." she wrote last week. "What kind of example did these adults set? It's OK to cheat, break the rules, hit a child, curse, all for the sake of a win?"

The answer is - yes.

This is good preparation for life. Because the world isn't all Easter candy and rainbows. At some point in their lives, these very children will be in the real world where competition is the rule.

They will at some point be interviewing for a job along with a dozen other candidates. And instead of shyly fading into the background they will have the courage and fortitude to leap across the desk of the personnel director, grab her by the blouse and scream "give me the job, you brain-dead shrew, or I'll rip your lungs out of your throat."

And, calling on this long-ago Easter egg hunt for inner strength, they will efficiently be able to ward off the blows from the Billy clubs when she calls for security.

So am I criticizing? No, I'm not criticizing. This is the way Easter egg hunts ought to be conducted. Search to the death. Give the kids a mace and let them go nuts.

Teach the children that it's not whether you win or lose, it's how many people you have to trample to get there.

Of course, there will be some who can't stomach the thought of their 3-year-old getting stampeded by greedy adults. This is easily fixed, because MIHI - if it wanted to avoid violence - violated this cardinal rule: It gave away something for free.

For some reason, in Washington County you can back over a cod-liver donut with a loaded garbage truck - but if you scrape it up with a spatula and announce you are giving it away for free you will be mobbed. You can even charge admission and then give it away for free, it makes no difference.

In the end though, I have the perfect solution which I believe will double attendance and gratify everyone.

Next year have the parents hunt for eggs and let the children watch.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at timr@herald-mail.com.

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