Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't Invite the Pinata

This photo is completely unrelated to the story... just a picture of Earwax Cafe...
When I was a child I somehow got it in my head that I must have a piñata at my birthday party. How could I go wrong? Whack at a cardboard vessel crammed with toys, pennies and, best of all, candy until it exploded and showered the guests with these fine gifts… and you even got to eat the candy? This sounded like a great idea. I was wholly invested in the "piñata scenario."

After some serious pestering, my mother agreed to the addition of the piñata to my up coming birthday. I couldn’t wait. I played and replayed the images in my mind. The anticipation, the senseless whacking at something with a stick without getting in trouble, and, then, for the grand finale, the explosion of pieces of everything you ever wanted pouring down from above. And… I would be the one supplying the excitement. Yes, me! I would be remembered with godlike awe as that girl with the piñata.

At the party, everything was going smoothly. Food, cake, and little girl chatter. Finally, the time arrived. We all headed up to the attic where the jewel of the evening was hanging from the ceiling like an angel. The anticipation sat heavy as all the little girls clamored to the top of the stairs beholding the donkey piñata in all its glory. We stood around twitching with excitement.

Blindfold the contestant, spin her around a couple times and hand her a long wooden stick. Sounds safe, doesn’t it? Some missed the mark completely, some made contact. A few sprinkles of candies showered upon us. But then, to my horror, something else occurred. There was a slight groan in the rope and the freed cardboard donkey made its final decent. It landed with a muffled thud. The fallen angel.

Laying there bloated, limp and exposed, the donkey waited for something to happen. It didn’t take long for the other birthday guests to circle their prey. The tearing and pounding of this helpless cardboard donkey was more than I could bear. It was one thing to beat it with a stick, dizzy and blindfolded while it hung in the air, but this savagery was just too much. I tried to stop it. Tried to hold back the pack of wild hyenas that moments before were docile friends of mine, but no, it was too late. I pleaded with them to allow the donkey to be restrung and place back on high. My pleas fell silently upon the foaming at the mouth hyena children. There was no saving the donkey from this level of brutality. I fled.

This episode brought to light my character flaw of needing to follow the rules. There are certain rules the must be obeyed. The piñata is supposed to go down in a blaze of candy glory, not torn to bits by wild children. There are rules. They were not followed and I knew it. I knew that they had been broken and I wanted no part of it.

Finding myself a nice safe hiding place behind an oversized chair in our living room, I waited. The hyenas would not get me after they finished cleaning out the donkey’s innards. I was protected. As the beating of the cardboard donkey was the last planned activity of my birthday party, I remained hidden until the final guest turned savage left my home, booty in hand. Once it was certain everyone had left, my mother coaxed me out of my hiding place, dried my tears and made a vow to never allow another cardboard donkey make an appearance at any festive gathering.