Hannah lost a tooth the other day, her fourth. In our home, the Tooth Fairy has a grand tradition of leaving these big fancy notes of congratulation—in addition to the money—in exchange for the tooth under the pillow. So that’s what the Tooth Fairy did, even though it was 11 p.m. and he had worked a long day and was tired, and he still had to clean the kitchen and take out the recycling.
In his finest cursive, the Tooth Fairy told Hannah that she was being elevated to the rank of the Fifth Duchess of Cuspid, and offered his heartiest congratulations. He forked over the last two crumpled-up $1 bills from his wallet and called it a night.
But the Tooth Fairy, it turns out, had committed a grave error. He forgot to collect the tooth. It should be mentioned that this task usually falls under the Other Tooth Fairy’s job description, but, alas, the Other Tooth Fairy was on bedrest and had been asleep since 6:30 p.m. and was not particularly interested in the fate of a lone incisor.
This stunning breach of order flummoxed and ultimately outraged Hannah, who considered the oversight a terrible insult. Emboldened by rage, she left this note for the Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy was humiliated. While he felt that he had performed his duties admirably, and should be recognized for his fine service, he was reminded by the Other Tooth Fairy that due to her incapacitation he needed to step up and do her duties as well without being reminded. And fold the laundry, too. Duly chastened, the Tooth Fairy buried his pride and wrote another note, and purchased a ridiculous ceramic container in which the recipient could forever house her forgotten tooth.
This note was not met with joy but rather relief.
Once again all was right in the Fairy World, which is apparently governed by strict laws and codes that cannot be broken, no matter what extenuating circumstances are at play.
Then the Tooth Fairy folded the goddamn laundry.
Photography: Courtesy of Jeff Ruby