Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Political Economy of the Tooth Fairy

GoofGirl tends to wake up very early. This complicates Tooth Fairy visits a bit, since the Tooth Fairy isn’t exactly a morning spirit (at least in our house). Finding her tooth still present and no bills or coins, GoofGirl came to our room – furious.

So I did what any sensible parent would do, I offered to buy her tooth and plant it in the backyard so it would sprout a tooth three and she could get lots of money.

“That won’t work in our backyard!” GoofGirl exclaimed, frustrated.

“It might work someplace else?” I asked, sheepishly.

“That’s what the Tooth Fairies do with the teeth. They take them back to their own world and plant them. Then it sprouts tooth trees.”

“Where do they get the money?”

“Daddy, they can make money.”

“Then why don’t they just make money and buy whatever they need.”

“Because they only need the fruit of the tooth trees. They don’t need anything money can buy, so they just make enough to buy the teeth,” she explained patiently. “Anyway, they have to be careful and not pay too much money or people might start to wonder what was going on. They don’t want people to find out about them because then we would start visiting their world and messing it up.”

I hadn’t even had coffee and I was discussing monetary policy with a seven year old.

“So what do they do with our teeth again?”

“They plant our teeth and they sprout tooth trees. They have everything the Tooth Fairies need. They eat the fruit. They make clothes from the leaves, which are all different colors. They use the wood for their houses.”

“Don’t they get bored eating tooth fruit all the time.”

“No, different teeth make different fruit and they are all succulent.”

“Can’t they just take the seeds from the fruit and plant their own trees?”

“No, it doesn’t work like that. They need teeth from little kids.”

“Why can’t they plant their own teeth?”

“Daddy,” she rolled her eyes at me, “That’s just dumb. Fairies don’t lose their teeth. Their teeth are perfect.”

“What else do the Tooth Fairies do, besides sit around wearing multi-colored leaves and eating tooth fruit?”

“Everything, just like us – except they all have to work to gather teeth from children. Everyone pitches in.”

The economic and sociological implications of a tooth-based society were a bit more then I could take pre-caffeination. But, for the moment GoofGirl’s wrath had been assuaged. Still, I knew the Tooth Fairy had better not forget two nights in a row – the world depended on it.

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