They dominated our childhood and then, like a bunch of ungrateful Little Jackie Papers, we forgot all about them. But the Childhood Myths live on, still enchanting and/or terrifying the latest generation of children. However, the world is a very different place these days, and they are finding it a bit of a struggle.
The Tooth Fairy was the world’s first recycler, offering us a euro for our discarded teeth and then, er, doing something with them (actually, it doesn’t do to think too deeply about the Tooth Fairy). However, improved dental hygiene for kids, the invention of the gumshield for hockey and a preference for computer games over hurling have all cut her supply chain severely, and she has had to become more inventive. She is now offering a “two teeth for three euro” deal. She is the one who slips those rock-hard kernels into your bag of popcorn. She was recently reprimanded by the Mythical Regulator (hey, we have one of those too) after she was discovered with a toffee hammer hidden in her dress. On nights when she has no teeth to collect she creeps into childrens’ rooms anyway, and whispers into their ears that they should take up boxing, or tell Big Johnny at school that he smells of wee.
Remember when we were all too busy? When we never had enough time? That was Old Father Time‘s boom period. He could only keep up Making Time for us by working 32-hour days. Luckily, being Father Time, this wasn’t a problem. Then the recession came. Now we all have too much time on our hands, and he’s been left with nothing to do. He also keeps reading that the 1980s are back, and has an awful fear that he might have caused this by hitting a wrong button somewhere. To add to his problems, it is rumoured that the bankers, the property developers and even the Government are living on Borrowed Time, and he just knows he’s going to have to write most of it off.
Global Warming has hit Jack Frost hard. While he can still produce ice & snow, it no longer sticks anywhere, even in alpine ski resorts where it is desperately needed. He is aware that the other Myths make fun of him, referring to him behind his back as “Jack Mild-With-Light-Showers-Later”. Furthermore, a scheme thought up by the Tooth Fairy, where she would have paid him to ice the floor of childrens’ bedrooms, was ruled “unsporting” by the Mythical Regulator. Jack has taken to drinking heavily, sitting in his local every night lashing back vodka with ice. Lots and lots of ice.
You wouldn’t think that the recession would have any effect on the Banshee, since all she does is wail outside the houses of people who are going to die. The fact is, though, that we have all become a lot more bad-tempered since we became suddenly poor again. Last week she started keening outside a house and a voice from next door yelled “ah, shut up, ya slapper” and she was hit full in the face by a well-aimed garden gnome. On a slightly positive note she lost two teeth, and the Tooth Fairy gave her three euro for them.
As the Chief Executive of the biggest enterprise of them all, Santa Claus has been hardest hit by the recession. Desperate parents are telling children as young as four that he doesn’t exist. Others are blaming their own failings on him, so that he is getting letters saying “Dear Santa, I really wanted a Nintendo DS but Mum says you’re really poor this year because you fucked up and bought Bank shares and a second house that you now can’t sell, so a Colouring Book and some crayons will have to do, I suppose.”
With far fewer toys to make, he’s had to put the elves on (wait for it) short time (sorry). He’s had to let two of the reindeer go. I was going to say that he’s had to get rid of one of the three Ho’s, but this isn’t that type of blog. Cash-starved local councils have introduced Pay and Display everywhere, even on rooftops, so the Christmas Eve journey is costing him a fortune. Worst of all, the Greens have forced Rudolf to replace his nose with an energy-saving light bulb. As everyone knows, these bulbs save energy because they give out less light. Santa can’t see where’s he going.
So next Christmas Eve, when out on the lawn there arises such a clatter, don’t bother getting up. It’s just Santa Claus crashing into your bins.