As the dust and blood sugar levels begin to settle in the aftermath of Easter Sunday, and we are confronted with the idea that the long-weekend will soon slide into the realms of mere memory, we begin to come to terms with the fact that, come tomorrow, we will be forced to resume our working routine. For the majority, this thought conjures up nothing more than a shiver of discontent; yet for the Easter Bunny, everybody’s second favourite gift-giving home-invader – behind Santa Claus, but ahead of the tooth-fairy or any sinister, yet ultimately well-meaning, estranged parent hoping to win back a child’s affection – this pill is harder to swallow.
Despite being universally renowned for dispensing chocolate spheroids around the (Western) world, it is a task which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t pay the bills. So, to make ends meet, for the other 364 days of the year (excluding paid holiday leave and weekends) the Easter Bunny works as a cosmetics and medicines tester; having various shampoos, perfumes etc. poured onto his skin and eyes.
“It’s a welcome distraction sure, I’m not going to pretend I don’t enjoy Easter.” I am chatting to the Easter Bunny over Skype. He is in a small home-office, sitting wedged between a decrepit fax-machine, and a stacked collection, of what looks like, novelty erotic calenders from the 80’s. “It’s a fun gig, but anybody with a basic grasp of economics knows that giving away millions of chocolate eggs for free is nothing short of, as my accountant describes it, ‘financial suicide’. I’ve got a family to support, I mean a large fami- a fucking massive family- we breed, literally, like rabbits. So to feed us, I sit in a cage five days a week and have pricks in white coats rub shampoos directly onto my eye-balls.”
Unfortunately, financial difficulties are very much part of the territory for festive mascots. Today, it is only the Easter Bunny that survives from this tradition, but it wasn’t long ago that the majority of our yearly celebrations were centred around the gifts of festive, quasi-magical animals.
“There used to be loads of us,” says the Easter Bunny. “The May Day Panther, the Michaelmas Aardvark, the Equinox Badger; they’re probably all unfamiliar names to you, but they were huge back in their day, and now… The Pancake Crab was the last to go. Some of your older readers may remember him. He would come around people’s houses every Pancake Tuesday and, during the night, would sort your home insurance out for you. Everybody loved him. But again, there was just no money in it. He ended up having to pack it all in, and last I heard he was working 9-5 in a munitions factory in Bangladesh- and by the way, that’s 9am to 5am. It sounds appalling.”
In the midst of all this uncertainty, what does the future hold for the Easter Bunny. “Well, the Mrs. is out with the kids, so I’m probably going to get reacquainted with some of these bad boys,” he says, patting the stack of lurid calenders beside him. I point out that I was asking more philosophically about the long-term rather than with regard to the rest of his afternoon. “Oh right, well I guess, if there’s still room in this world, now so incredibly conscious of food hygiene, for people to accept the delivery of chocolate orbs manufactured by a pseudo-magical rodent, then I’ll try and carry on. To keep the family afloat, I’ll pass the year earning an honest dollar having incredibly corrosive cosmetics applied to my eyes. For now though…” he pats the stack of calenders once more, before disconnecting from our call.