Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thank You Easter Bunny!

So one of the things I'm finding about my new life is that occasionally I'm free to take an 'off topic' job. In this case, I'm making a sort of return to one of the best jobs I ever had. I'm a children's character-this time the Easter Bunny at the Tanfranan Mall in San Bruno.

It's not quite like my old Ninja Turtle job. I'm a lot more anchored, I don't have any magic tricks or parachutes and I don't get to use the raspy surfer voice. (Which is good, because apparently I can't do that anymore without coughing.)

I gotta say, I like working with kids again. It may be influenced a bit by the fact that I know that on the 14th I don't have to do it anymore and I can go back to crew work, but what the heck. I'm having fun so far, but it is only the second day.

Sous Rature will point out that kids are just like adults, they have the same chance of being cool or little jerks-and the little jerks don't have the empathy thing really developed yet. But I have had a chance to revisit some things.

I wonder what adults the kids will make. What of the shy ones, that have to be coaxed into shaking my hand or 'petting' my 'paw.' What about the ones that want to be older, too cool to acknowledge the bunny. What about the little girl who couldn't stop waving, laughing and dancing, but didn't want me any closer than three feet? (probably has a good sense of smell, it was day two for that costume...) Or the one who wouldn't leave my side? What about the screamers, the starers? What about the caretakers, the older sisters who would step in and attempt to calm a fussy brother on my knee?

It's interesting to see how often the photo is for the parents versus how often it's for the kids. I sympathize with the kids, I've never been able to fake the smile either.

I don't ever remember 'believing' in the mall Santa or Easter Bunny, or Mickey Mouse at Disneyland or Bugs Bunny at Great America...I knew it was a dude in a suit, I just didn't care. When we go to a play we know that the actors aren't really a couple of arguing college professors (though, sometimes they are, but you get the idea). When the kids see me they don't look into the eyes of my giant bunny head, they look at the screen in the mouth. They know that mouths shouldn't have screens in them and eyes should blink, they just don't care. It's not the Easter Bunny, it's a dude playing the Easter Bunny for them.

For adults, the world revolves around their kids, but I think it's hard to imagine that kids don't always see that and when they find things that are just for them, especially in the mall where they don't want to try on that cute outfit a fifth time, they're thrilled. They don't know 'suspension of dis-belief,' the nature of performance and space, the role of audience and art. They do know that the man or woman in the giant bunny costume is waving at them. Specifically.

Maybe the criers think I'm real. Maybe they know I'm not and have decided that a man in a giant bunny suit is not to be trusted.

So far few mallrats have opted for a bunny photo, I'm prohibitively expensive. I await the prank, I can only hope it's good.

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