Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Oh, grow up. (Seriously, folks, what IS wrong with adult egg-hunters?)

This past weekend produced not one, but two – count ‘em two – absolutely edifying (NOT!) Easter egg hunt-related stories, both of which took place in New England – not the location I would have imagined would be so prone to Easter egg hunt riots.

The first, and most notorious one, took place at the US headquarters of PEZ.

The good folks at PEZ, hoping to spread a bit of PEZ-ziness and some Easter cheer, organized an egg hunt that went bad.

…marauding helicopter parents ruined a Pez Easter egg hunt. Hundreds of people showed up for the 9,000-strong egg hunt, and some parents disregarded the staggered start times, instead rushing the field, pushing past actual children to grab eggs…

Nicole Welch told WFSB that those parents ‘‘bum-rushed’’ the area, leaving her 4-year-old son ‘‘traumatized’’ and ‘‘hysterically crying.’’

‘‘Somebody pushed me over and take my eggs,’’ Vincent Welch, 4, told NBC Connecticut after the event, ‘‘and it’s very rude of them and they broke my bucket.’’ (Source: Boston Globe)

I saw the Welches, mere et fils, on the news, and I would like to acknowledge that young Master Welch was one of the most self-possessed children I’ve ever seen on TV.

I also want to say that the term “hunt” is used very, very lightly these days. Does not the word “hunt” imply that there’s actually something to look for, something hidden? Yes, I know that big game hunters now go on special retreats to kill fenced-in endangered animals, shooting fish in a barrel, as it were. So I guess this trend of making things easy-peasy has passed on to the egg hunt, where the eggs no longer seem to be hidden, but simply strewn all over a field.

Not that there was such a thing as an egg hunt when I was a kid, but didn’t the eggs used to be, like, hidden behind rose bushes and the bathtub Madonna or something? Perhaps it’s better this way – the better to let the greedy egg-grabbers have at it. Remove all element of challenge. But where’s the hunt – and where’s the fun – in this approach.

Before we move any further on, I would like to see a bit more truth in advertising in these so-called egg hunts, and start calling them egg gathers.

Meanwhile, what’s with these adults that they’d push kids over to get a crappy plastic egg with a Hershey’s Kiss stuffed in it? And what’s wrong with these adults that they’d drive 2 1/2 hours – as one of the PEZ Debacle mothers claimed she did – toddler in tow, for the chance to pick up a couple of crappy plastic eggs with a Hershey’s Kiss stuffed in them?

Like Prissy, I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies, but I think I would have been smart enough to figure out that, for a really little kid unsteady on their pins, the place to bring them is not a big crowd of similarly unsteady kiddos, especially when you factored in the greediness and pushiness of older kids, not to mention all those unrestrained adults. Not to mention that most of the videos I’ve seen of the really little guys at these and similar events showed them toddling around right past plastic eggs. They didn’t even get the plot that they were supposed to pick up the damned things.

Wouldn’t it be better to hide a couple of eggs in almost plain sight in the living room and let your toddler have their own private hunt? Or a semi-private hunt in the company of sibs and cousins? Where everyone would be at least quasi-looking out for everyone else, and there’d be little likelihood of anyone getting trampled?

Oh, well.

I feel bad for the kids who got roughed up, and for the folks at PEZ who thought they were doing a community-building event. (The community would have been better served by just having someone in an Easter Bunny suit stand there giving out Easter-themed PEZ dispensers. And they could have really kept the crowds down if they’d advertised that the eggs to be “hidden” were going to be real hard-boiled eggs. Who’d want to maraud for that?)

But these pushy, greedy, grabby grownups?

I’m sure they didn’t come with marauding in mind. But they saw someone jump the gun, and thought their kid would lose out. They saw a slightly bigger kid sweep in and pick up an egg their little guy had had his eye on and was stooping to grab, and jumped in to grab it back. They saw the toddler field open up – the fields were divided by age group, and the “hunt” times staggered – and thought ‘game on.’

It does leave one lifting her Easter bonnet, scratching her head and asking why people are such jerks that they can’t even keep the lid on during an Easter egg hunt.

The other egg hunt incident took place in Proctor, VT, where one.

Police were called to a hunt, in Proctor, Vt., after receiving a report of “multiple irate parents.”

One fellow started threatening the cops who were brought in to police the melee. He ended up being pepper-sprayed and charged with disorderly and resisting. Way to go, Dad.

As I said, I was a bit surprised that these events took place in New England. Sure, we’re rude and pushy, but it just doesn’t seem like the sort of place that would bring out a 1,000 folks for an Easter egg hunt. For one thing, the weather’s too rotten, or at least it was on Saturday. Cold and blustery. But never underestimate, I guess.

And I really should have known better.

Many years ago – the little boys in the story are turning 35 this year – my husband and I took two 9 year-old friends of ours to the old Boston Garden. For some charitable donation or other, you got to walk through the Celtics locker room, and have a few minutes playing hoops on the parquet floor.

There were two sets of baskets: one set were the “real” ones that were actually used in NBA games. The others were opposite each other at mid court.

Want to guess how long it took for grown men to take over the real baskets, leaving the kids to the baskets on the sidelines?

Jim went out for a bit to play with Justin and Sam and block out a few of the “grownups” so that the kids could get a chance or two to heave up a shot in the same baskets that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish used. But mostly the kids were relegated to the non-real baskets. (Frankly, the biggest excitement of the day is that we were featured very prominently on the news as we pushed through the turnstiles at the start of the event.)

Is it to much to ask these sorts of yahoos to just grow up?

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