Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Tooth Fairy

By Diane Forrest

My first brush with cash came when I was just a small child.  I learned quickly that to earn some fast easy money all I had to do was pull a tooth and hide it in a paper towel under my pillow.  When I woke up the next morning, there would be a shiny quarter in its place.  Of course I couldn’t do this frequently, but as soon as a tooth started to wiggle I was dreaming of what I could buy.

Today is a day to recognize the person who helped make that possible.  He needs no introduction, I’m sure you know whom I am talking about.  This person has no specific "day" or holiday - just shows up when the need arises.  Then remains on standby, and shows up at a moment's notice.  He completes his work in the dark of night, or wee hours of the morning, and receives no payment for efforts, not even a cookie or glass of milk.  Not only does he show up during your time of need, but also makes repeated visits without complaints.

So who is the tooth fairy exactly?  The tooth fairy is a fantasy figure who belongs in the group of other famous people.  In the movie, the Santa Claus, There are quite a few prestigious members of that club.  There is Mother Nature and Father Time, Santa, the Easter Bunny, The tooth fairy, cupid, the sandman, and Jack Frost, a fantasy want to be.

 The earliest mention of the tooth fairy started in Europe.  It was the custom to bury the child's baby teeth, then after the 6th tooth fell out, a gift of money was placed under the pillow.  Some even sprinkled glitter on the floor to depict a trail of fairy dust.  No one knows exactly what the tooth fairy looks like.  There is no standard picture as there is of Santa, or the Bunny.  Reports from Wikipedia states that a 1984 study conducted by Rosemary Wells revealed that most, 74 percent of those surveyed, believed the tooth fairy to be female, while 12 percent believed the tooth fairy to be neither male nor female and 8 percent believed the tooth fairy could be either male or female. One review of published children's books and popular artwork found the tooth fairy to also be depicted as a child with wings, a pixie, a dragon, a blue mother-figure, a flying ballerina, two little old men, a dental hygienist, a potbellied flying man smoking a cigar, a bat, a bear and others. Unlike the well-established imagining of Santa Claus, differences in renderings of the tooth fairy are not as upsetting to children.

After interviewing several people, the findings of the amount the tooth fairy left usually average out depending on each generation.  My father's generation usually got nothin, or maybe a nickel.  My generation got a quarter, while my son's generation got a dollar.  When asking my cousin what the tooth fairy brought her kids I was surprised.  The fairy brought $10.00 for the first tooth, and $3.00 to $5.00 for the remaining teeth.  I guess inflation hits everyone.  The reported average for teeth these days is around $2.70 per tooth.

Today is National Tooth Fairy Day.  If you have already lost all your baby teeth, why not rent the movie The Tooth Fairy, and relive some of your fond childhood memories.

[All images from Google]

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