Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sofia, the Tooth Fairy and the Rest of Us

The phone rang and I picked it up. I said "Hello." It was Sofia; chirpy and excited. "Grandfather...Grandfather...(I know it was important. Grandpa was too casual a greeting)...The Tooth Fairy is going to come tonight!! The tooth fairy!" My mind quickly caught up to her. A few weeks ago during her visit to us in California, she had had a loose tooth. It was the first about-to-fall-out baby tooth. I chirped back into the phone. "Did your tooth come out? "Yes, yes...just now!" "Did it hurt?" But her mind was churning faster than such mundane concerns. "No, no" she said dismissively..."The tooth Fairy is coming tonight! And I've got to keep my eyes closed and not see her! THE TOOTHFAIRY, Grandfather!" After a long pause, she was done with me. "Let me talk to Grammy!""

I handed over the phone and glowed with happiness and contentment.

We need myths. Myths arise out of the collective unconscious. They are truer than truth. More essential.

What is the truth? That human existence is nothing but a separate universe of molecules, the universe itself an unending expansion of energy, and we humans, a mere molecule with the molecule we call a universe. I thought of her father, the intellectuals intellectual, the historian, the scientist, my daughter Mishi, Sofia's Momma, the truth-seeker, the prize winning investigative journalist, I thought of myself, a non-believer except in the grandeur and glory of life itself, I thought of Grammy, cynic wrapped in naivete...and I thought of Sofia, ecstatic with a lie, a fiction, a make-believe myth...the greatest truth of all.

What would we all be without our lies? The universe would be a far sorrier place, and our lives within it far, far emptier...we would be molecules with sub-molecules inside or out.

Long live Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. May they live until the universe ends, or at least as long as humans are part of it. Tomorrow I can't wait to find out what the Tooth fairy left under the pillow for Sofia. I hope she kept her eyes closed. It will make my life's myth even more worth living.


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3:31 AM  

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