It was a little over a month before Christmas of 1997, when I had set out on a quest of altruism to prove once and for all to the world whether or not Santa Claus was a scam.
I can't really recall the exact reason as to why I started questioning the existence of the jolly old man in the red suit, but I kept hearing rumors floating around school by the same collection of shit-licking little slapdick kids who vehemently reiterated their claims that people who still believed in Santa Claus were simple minded victims of fraud at the hands of their own parents.
They maintained they had undeniable evidence to support their position, but I didn't believe them. I just couldn't. It didn't seem logical. In order for me to believe this was a scam, I had to accept these 3 truths.
1. My parents made me mail a list to Santa that is going nowhere.
2. They let an impostor masquerading as St. Nick take pictures of me on his lap.
3. We've been providing hospice care for a waning spruce for no reason.
It didn't make any sense. What would be the point of lying to me like that? Just so you could see the joy on a child's face? That would be fucking insane.
I had no idea how I would capture and contain the sorcerer long enough to prove it to all the future heroin addicts and single mothers at my school, but the top three contenders of doing so were: trapping him in a giant net made out of blankets, covering the floor in super glue or administering a near fatal dose of AJAX in the sugar cookies I planned on leaving for him.
Over the next few days, I weighed the pros and cons to all of these, but none of them seemed to stick. There was no way to make any of them look like an accident, and I didn't want to risk being the guy that ruined the holidays for everyone by committing manslaughter. It was just bad form.
But, as fortune would have it on my way to school one morning, a baby tooth fell out of my mouth, and it struck me that I wouldn't have to wait till Christmas to find out if any of this was real. My focus had shifted from capturing Santa to exposing the true identity of the Tooth Fairy.
Because in my mind, if one of them falls, then none of them can stand.
I spent the entire school day hatching a scheme on how I would catch that frugal bitch putting her hand under my pillow. When I came home later that afternoon, I relayed the information about the tooth to my mother, and in between drags of her cigarette, she told me to put it in a plastic Ziplock bag and place it underneath my pillow — so The Tooth Fairy could find it.
I took the tooth and put it in the bag, but instead of placing it under my pillow, I threw it in the garbage can. I did this because I know my mother. It was my own personal belief that she didn't respond well to pressure situations and if she was the Tooth Fairy, she would feel so bad that she couldn't find the tooth, and she would panic, and she'd just leave the dollar hoping that I wouldn't ask too many questions the next morning.
But, if the Tooth Fairy was real, I figured that an entity like her who purchases the ex-body parts of children for only a dollar must be a very shrewd businesswoman. And if I didn't provide the tooth, then the business transaction would never take place.
It's was just common sense.
Later that night, I remember standing in the bathroom in front of my mirror brushing my teeth and desperately clinging to the hope that I was right and everyone else was wrong. I looked at my reflection and saw the gap of space where a tooth had previously been earlier that day. And every time I think back on this moment today, this is the image I see, one of a boy who believed in Santa Claus.
After brushing my childish teeth, I shut off the lights and went to go lay down in bed. But as I started falling asleep, I thought about the ramifications of my actions. I quickly sat up in bed and contemplated going to retrieve the tooth from the garbage, because I wasn't sure if I was ready to grow up quite yet. I took a few moments and decided against it; because if none of this was true, then I wasn't about to keep believing this lie.
I laid back down and fell asleep. About three or four hours later, I was shaken by a hand underneath my pillow desperately trying to find a tooth that wasn't there.
That's when I rolled over and realized The Tooth Fairy smoked cigarettes.
Fast-forward to a little over a month before Christmas of 2017, and I was sitting having a conversation with a Christian about how enlightened she is because she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior. She suggests I do the same.
Then she starts going on a rampage about how people who don't believe in the spiritual are simple minded victims of an increasingly profane society trying to brainwash us with their secular agendas.
"All we have to do is live good lives in the name of Christ and we will be granted the privilege of living in paradise for the rest of time," she told me.
She claimed to have undeniable evidence to support her position. But, I didn't believe her. I just couldn't.