Steve Jobs Owes Us All An Apology

I left college poor and under debt, so for awhile I crashed in my father’s basement. He lived on Long Island. Each day I took the train to the city to write advertisements and ghost articles for Prudential Securities. I loved the commute. I read a book a week and enjoyed the empty time.

In 1996 when I started commuting, cell phones were not yet ubiquitous. By 1997 they were everywhere. People got rude; lazy and rude. They stopped even trying to show courtesy. In a matter of months, the commute to the city became intolerable.

“I’m on the train. THE TRAIN.  What?  I can’t hear you.  WHAT?  I can’t hear you.  Can you hear me? HELLO?  I’ll call you when I get home.  Seven minutes.  No, six and a half.”

Yes we can hear you.

Cell phones weren’t always just a logistical device.  Sometimes, though rarely, you’d get to hear one side of a fairly interesting conversation.  Once I heard a girl sob into her phone that she kept getting drunk and sleeping with different men.  Three in the past week. She kept telling her phone that she had lost control.  The train car was silent.  People pretended to read their newspapers but we were all listening.

Half the car wanted to give her advice; the other half wanted to buy her a drink.

I got cranky and developed a bad habit.  Whenever someone loudly recited their number, I’d write it down.  Upon exiting the train I’d call from the nearest payphone (kids, google “payphone” to see what I’m talking about here) and tell them I was sleeping with their spouse.

Since the peaceful commute was dead, I started staying in the city, relying on the hospitality of my future wife and her roommate for a bed.  But I couldn’t stay with them forever, so I rented a place where I was tortured by my lesbian neighbors. One of them was a sex worker.  She’s one reason I became a stock trader.

Anyway, so here we are in 2011 and everyone is in love with their fucking iPhones.  They drive with them.  They eat with them.  They say they can’t live without them.  They get upset if you tell them to turn their fucking phone off during dinner.  They get even more upset if you throw their fucking phone in a pool.

They drive with them.

People don’t seem to care that their phones track their movements. People, the same people who are worried about saving for their retirement and their children’s college costs, think it’s perfectly normal to spend $200 a month on phone plans. I think it’s nuts.  $24,000 over 10 years for something that is not essential, steals your liberty, and makes normal human exchange anachronistic seems silly.

So why am I ranting about cell phones now? It’s because they’ve infiltrated my entire family and are starting to ruin the holidays.

When I was a kid we’d go to my Aunt Tina’s house after Christmas dinner.  My Italian uncles would fight about politics over coffee while the children clambered under the table.  There was one big table.  My grandmother sat at the head. She ruled the family until she died at 100. As children were born, square card tables were attached to the larger table in a Dr. Suessian sort of way.  After a couple of hours, we’d finally convince the adults to play a game together.

We’d stay around that large table all night, laughing, telling stories and getting to know each other. Things got crowded and it was always too hot but we were a family, and I was proud of my family.

Grandma’s birthday was January 1st.  So a week after seeing everyone on Christmas, we’d get together again. We still go to the same restaurant each year to honor her memory. This year, instead of all sitting together at one table the adults were broken into three circular tables while the children were sent far across the restaurant to their own table.

Kids being kids, under a table.

The older table made up of my uncles and aunts was the liveliest.  They were trading stories, old and new, and laughing.  My table consisted mainly of my immediate family.  My brother in law stared down at his “smart phone” for the entirety of the Jets game without saying a word.  I looked over at the table containing my cousins who are all about 20 years older than me.  A few of them were on smart phones as well.

I walked the quarter mile across the restaurant to where the children sat.  My daughter started out playing under the table and drawing pictures with her cousin.  That lasted about fifteen minutes. Then all the “devices” came out.  A ten year old held up two.

“You have two iPhones?” my daughter asked.

“No, this is my iPhone and this is my iPod.” The girl was ten.  She said this matter-of-factly as she pulled a handheld gaming thing out of her bag.

“You want to play a game?”  The ten year old spent 5 seconds teaching my daughter how to “make cookies” on the phone.  An hour later my daughter’s dinner went largely untouched and the sheets of paper upon which she had been drawing lay next to her bowl, blank.  No nice drawings for Aunt Tina to hang on her refrigerator.  The phone bleeped and blopped.  She made “cookies.”

There was a clear devolution of social interaction from the older tables down to the young. It was sad.  The NFL won.  Apple won.  The family lost.

George Packer wrote a great piece in the New Yorker this week about weariness.  His article was about political reporters having to knock back utter lies, but his larger point resonated with me and my attempts, even among my family, to put their phones down, to turn their televisions off.  He explains:

Certain forms of deterioration—like writers using “impact” as a verb, or basketball coaches screaming about every foul—become acceptable by attrition, because critics lose the energy to call them out. Eventually, people even stop remembering that they’re wrong.

The difference between me and political reporters is that I can’t stop remembering. Children should be plotting under tables and giggling.  Adults should be talking to each other.  Instead my family looked like a group of zombies, their faces lit by the blue-green screen glow as they poked at keypads.

Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! or, I'm so sorry...

People shrug and say “Lighten up. This is the way things are now.” All kids have phones. All little pop stars are sluts. A few hours of television a week won’t hurt you. All toys are made of cheap plastic. Everyone eats fast food.

This is the way things are now because YOU’RE MAKING IT THIS WAY.  And it’s a worse way.

I wanted my 100 year old grandmother, or at least her authority, to be there so she could yell at everyone staring at their phones to wake the fuck up.  I wanted her to remind everyone that we’re only here for a limited time and on our death bed it’s not Siri that we wish we had spoken to more.

Or better yet, speaking of dead people, how about a posthumous apology from Steve Jobs, a professed Buddhist. Surely he’d understand how awful it is that all of those meditative silences of a long train ride, or the shared laughter of a family dinner, are gone forever.

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Meanwhile, I don’t only rant. Sometimes I just buy mexican food.

Exit Music. 

Mistletoe

On Christmas Eve, Judy sent me out to buy some mistletoe.

“It’ll give the house a fresh, ‘Christmasy’ kind of feel,” she explained.

organic, locally-sourced, mistletoe

So I drove to the local garden center and asked the somewhat “fish-eyed” looking girl behind the counter if she had any mistletoe.

“We sure do,” she said with a decisively southern twang.

Now, her accent should have indicated that something was seriously wrong. Like most northerners, I hear a southern accent and I think “Oh, this person is an idiot,” or, “Jerry Springer.” But since it was Christmas and I was feeling somewhat charitable, I hung around and let her show me the mistletoe.

From a cardboard display that looked like it once housed car deodorizers, little plastic bags marked with the words “Fun Time Mistletoe!” hung.

The counter girl started with the hard sell. “It’s real mistletoe…they just freeze dry it so it stays fresh longer,” she said. “The berries are fake because they’re poisonous or something.”

I picked up a bag and looked closely at the product inside. The plastic crinkled. The “mistletoe” was hard and an unnatural color of green.

“This is real mistletoe?” I challenged.

“Yup,” she said. “Just freeze-dried. They stick it in a freezer. Makes it last longer.”

“And when I take it home,” I said slowly, “it will ‘spring to life’ and look ‘Christmasy’?”

She started to get defensive. “Yup, it should… I don’t see why not. It’s real mistletoe.”

So I ponied up the $2.17 and took the plastic package home. Needless to say, Judy wasn’t impressed. However, it made my daughter very happy.

She stood under the mistletoe doling out “Christmas Kisses!” for the better part of the day. Even the cats got their share.

(note: this was originally published to my old blog, in 2007.)

For more on the war against Christmas, follow me on Twitter.

Memory, Mexican Food, and Eternity

John Lennon paid attention.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” -John Lennon

Yesterday was busy.  Into the car, out of the car; small chores and smaller talk.  When we’re done we’ll get you a treat.  Strap her in.  Why is your sister crying?  We need gas.

Once or twice I glanced in the rearview mirror and watched as my seven year old absently stared out her window.  Which moment would hang in there and become a memory of dull security and comfort thirty years down the line?  Tires humming, Mom and Dad in the front; blurred trees. Would she try her entire life to regain that vague feeling of safety?  The whole thing filled me with an urge to be better and then, immediate frustration.  It’s just that I’m having a harder time changing as I age.  I think about myself in a certain way, and my anxieties are set.  Eventually I rolled the car back up our driveway and when we entered the house, we realized we never planned dinner.

Judy called in some Mexican food and fifteen minutes later, I backed down the driveway past the electric deer grazing on our lawn, and turned towards town.  The CD player in my car is broken, and since my iPod broke after only 2 years I’ve decided it’s not worth replacing.  So I’m back to old mixtapes.  Their labels have long since lost their relevancy so every time I bring a new one into the car, it’s a surprise.  The one I chose was full of music I hadn’t listened to in fifteen years.

Electric deer.

I thought back to a couple of girlfriends from that era who had attended concerts with me.  We shared good times, broke up, and then I stalked them both for years, but amazingly, neither worked out.  I thought back to another girl, one who would hang out with me in my dorm room.  We’d get high and listen to music and then write.  She moved to Italy and disappeared completely.  What happened to these people?  I felt ambushed by the past as I drove over the small bridge that leads into my town.  Five minutes before I was in my house with my wife and growing daughters and then suddenly, I was in my dorm room with candles melting and a girl swaying to music with her eyes closed.

When you’re young you can’t understand how the past could ever tempt you. I’m getting older.

Anyway, I made it to the Mexican place and parked in the empty church lot across the street.  I love December because it gets dark at 4:30.  We eat early, go to sleep early, and wake early.  The taqueria was brightly lit against the darkness, like a Christmas pin on a goth chick.  No one was around, it was perfectly silent.  The only sound I noticed were the chrome crickets chirping in my ears, a result maybe, of all those concerts I attended.  The moon was full, and its light improved everything it touched.

The girl behind the counter was pregnant.  Maybe a few months…

“Do you need napkins?  Want hot sauce?” she said.

Thinking of my daughters I made a mental note not to check out her ass as she turned around to use the credit card machine.

“I’ll take some hot sauce,” I said.

Through a door that led to the kitchen I noticed a large hispanic man with his arms folded across his chest, glaring at me. Maybe he was just looking at me, I don’t know.  His hat was on backwards and he looked dirty.  He had just cooked food for my family.  I smiled at him and nodded in the way that white people smile and nod at menacing minorities.  He reacted by turning around to scrape the grill.

“Green or red?”

“Which is…”

“The red is hotter.”

“I’ll take the red.”

I wanted to ask the girl about her belly but I didn’t, just in case.  What I didn’t want to do was say something about the miracle of parenthood.  Not that I didn’t believe it, just that I would want it to be meaningful and it wouldn’t end up that way.  She had no choice but to hear whatever I said, so I decided to say nothing and free her of the obligation of having to listen.

More than anything, I felt some silent desire to help her and thought maybe that saying nothing was the best I could do.  I just wanted her and her baby to be okay but I don’t know why I think like that.  Of course they’ll be okay, right?  But she’s pregnant and there’s some mean looking dude cooking burritos a few feet away from her unborn fetus and maybe that’s what made me nervous for her.

I completed the transaction and entered the outside again.

It looked like a white spike.

Just as I started to open my car door the church bells started to ring.  I stood there to listen.  I felt secure.  Comforted.  What could go wrong when church bells were ringing?  The baby would be fine.  My family would be fine, too.  Across the street I could see the counter girl through the window, texting.

I looked away from the girl and up at the spire.  Huge white floodlights lit it so that it looked like a white spike piercing the dark sky.  You look up at a spire like that on a clear cold night in December, it’s so bright it’s almost loud.  And from the spire I looked up and saw the stars.

They were singing to me and I was breathing in planets.

No, you can just never tell what’s going to become a memory and what’s lost forever. So pay attention.
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How A Pile Of Puke Helped Me Hold A Trade

Some days seem longer than others. Today was one of the long ones.

It started with my 6 year old daughter slapping the side of my sleeping face and telling me to “wake up.” Normally this is a cute, but after a cold weekend on a frozen river in central Maine “smelting” with college friends, I was hurting. “Wake up Mommy first,” I said. (Note: My wife, Judy, is 8 months pregnant and miserable.)

After Judy expressed her displeasure with me by banging the shit out of the pots and pans in the kitchen while she prepared my daughter’s breakfast, thereby disallowing me the luxury of extra sleep, I woke up. I walked into the next room and turned on my screens. The futures were gapping down a bunch. “Finally!” I found myself thinking. I immediately felt a pang of guilt as I realized the market was only gapping down because Gaddafi is a dick. The guilt eased as I decided that wanting a little stock market volatility wasn’t the same as wanting protesters in the mideast to be slaughtered.

Gaddafi is (was) a dick.

Look, as it sometimes happens in this business, what’s good for me is often bad for some, okay, maybe millions, of people.

That doesn’t make me a bad person. Hating handicapped parking spaces might though… they’re always empty. Seriously.

Anyway, I decided that it would be a tough day for support buys. We’ve been going up for what seems like forever, when we turn down for real, could take at least a few days for buyers to show up again. But then I always have difficulty shorting into a gap down. I decided to just chill out, take it easy, and let my long weekend wear off. My wife yelled up the stairs that they were leaving. They were going to have a “mother and daughter” type day. My kid is off from school all week. I said goodbye and the market opened.

Along with my friends at HCPG, I was watching SQM for a support trade at $53. When it opened there, I knew it was going to have to trade lower if I was going to get involved. It made a quick move down to $52.25 and started to bounce. Two minutes into the bounce, at 9:38 a ton of volume went off and I decided to give it a whirl. I picked some up at $52.57, put my stop just below the low of the day, and waited for the sweet money to hit me in the face.

The stock complied moving upwards very smoothly. I didn’t even curse once while I watched its ascent. From downstairs, I heard the backdoor swing open and then splashing sounds and some grunting. My wife was letting it all loose on the kitchen floor. “Hey, I’m trying to trade up here, for chrissakes!” No response… not even the customary “Fuck you” that such insensitivities should elicit. I moved my stop up to breakeven and went downstairs to “help.”

There she was, crumpled against the downstairs toilet, saying goodbye to breakfast. She told me to go check on our daughter out in the car. Now, I had seriously crawled out of bed and started to trade. Since I don’t turn the heat up in the house past 60 nowadays, I sit in a chair wrapped in a blanket my grandmother knit me when I was 13. So yeah, it’s over 20 years old and, well, colorful. I was also sporting the pajamas my daughter had given me for Valentine’s day (think hearts) and slippers.

I approached the car. She was drawing. She didn’t see me coming, but just in case she happened to look up, I decided to do the mock tip toe with a crazy look on my face. Heart pajamas, slippers, funny blanket, mock tip toe, crazy face… Of course, that’s when I saw my neighbor walking his dog in my direction. “Hi Jeff,” I waved. He gave me a strange look. He couldn’t have seen my daughter in the car.

People must wonder what I do all day.

I opened my daughter’s door. She didn’t even look up. “Daddy, I need a brown pencil.”

Back inside, my wife was brushing her teeth. I grabbed a brown pencil and gave it to her. I gave her a hug and apologized for getting her pregnant again. I also reminded her that women used to have many more kids back in the 50s and that if we didn’t have a boy this time, she’d be having another in about a year. She left unamused.

My SQM trade was working out despite all the hubbub in the house. I nearly sold some into S2 at $53.14 but given the severe bounce overtaking the ag stocks like CF, MOS and AGU, I decided to hold it a bit longer. I took off half at $53.36 and then the last half when the stock got rejected by the 20 ema on the 5 minute chart. My average exit was $53.42, for an 85 cent profit.

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Insomnia, Gold, and Delusions of Grandeur

Two days ago, at 12:30 am a gigantic beech tree crashed through my house trapping my wife and two daughters against their beds. Amazingly, though only a couple of feet away, I was unharmed. The tree had knocked out the power and so I couldn’t see anything but I heard their screams and I knew they were hurt.

A few weeks back, I had a guy come to look at the tree and he told me to cut it down. “It’s full of ants,” he said. But we got busy getting the house rented for August and so we put it off. I figured I’d just do it in the fall before the winter when the heavy snow could pull it down. The immediate guilt caused by this decision was complete.

Sure it looks pretty, but a Beech Tree nearly killed my family.

I stumbled through the room, or what was left of it, even trying without success to lift the tree off the bed. The hole in the roof was letting the rain in. Rainwater on my bed, on my bedroom floor. I had to get help. The kids were crying but my wife was quiet and unresponsive. The phone was knocked out and I had no idea where the cell was. I had a hard time even getting out the front door. There were no neighbors within a quarter mile. The summer people all left. I decided to head out to the main road and try to flag down a car.

At least, this is what was running through my head last night as I lay awake in bed not able to fall back asleep.

What do YOU do when your thoughts spin out of control in the middle of the night?

I walked downstairs, switched on the kitchen light and rifled through a stack of business cards. I found the tree guy’s card, and put it on the counter with a note for my wife, “Call tomorrow.”

I was hungry. I made some toast. There was no way I was going to fall back to sleep so I went upstairs to my office and turned on the computer. Reflexively, I switched on my broker and Esignal and then started to surf around.

I “pointed my browser” at Twitter (quick parenthetical rant: seriously, whoever came up with such an expression. no one in the history of internet “surfing” has ever “pointed their browser” at anything) and noticed that Barry Ritholz had tweeted 4 minutes earlier. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe Barry is up too. Maybe he can’t sleep.”

I clicked on the link in his tweet. It was some bajillion word post on rebalancing the housing market. No pictures, nothing. I scrolled to the end. It was signed, “Governor Elizabeth A. Duke.” This confused the fuck out of me.

“Jesus, Barry Ritholz has fucking Governors writing posts to his blog and tweeting them at 1:00am? Dude has power,” I thought.

I thought about Joshy sitting across from Barry in Barry’s huge office. Gigantic gold-plated desk…animal heads on the wall, etc. Barry is angry that Joshy is closing in on his Twitter follower lead. Barry stands up and calmly tells Joshy that he’s pulling the plug on him. He’s going to support this upstart Dinosaur Trader now.

“No one knows who he is,” Barry would explain to Josh. “He’s mysterious. Plus, I love Dinosaurs. He’s gonna be a star…”

I quickly fantasized about being on CNBC. Balding, nervous and sexually cowed by Courtney Reagan… no… by Sylvia Wadhwa. I’m terrified of her. Can you imagine what she could do to a man? I’d love to be sexually brutalized by her… I imagine the email I’d shoot off to Joshy now that I’d be in charge. “Hey, get a few posts up on The Mixtape or I’m considering removing the page. Just not getting enough traffic there to support the bandwidth costs.” This made me smile.

Silvia Wadwha would sexually destroy me.

Someone else in my stream posted a horrifying story about an 11 year old girl who was bullied by an entire network of underground hacker types. She had posted suggestive and taunting videos and now the hackers were getting their revenge on her family. I watched one video where she’s crying and her father comes to her side and starts yelling at the entire internet. He’s yelling at the anonymous rage that’s attacking his daughter and he’s got no fucking shot. This depressed me.

Jessi Slaughter and her Dad

Why are we letting our kids go? Don’t buy your kid a phone people. Beware popular culture.

I took a peek at gold which was back over $1900. In fact, it was up near the old highs trading between $1915 and $1916. I didn’t want to trade, it was 1am for chrissakes, but I couldn’t help myself. I figured if this thing traded over $1916 it was definitely going to pop to a new high. So I bought, $1915.70. Seconds later it was trading over $1920. I sold and immediately shut my computer down.

In the next room, my family was sleeping soundly. No tree. No crazy anonymous internet gangs. No gold. I lay down, me and my thoughts.

I worried that I’d wake up to find $GC_F trading over $2000. I mused about how 20 minutes earlier I was poorer somehow but I was actually happier. Now I was laying here worried that I fucked up a trade. I worried about 11 year old kids posting suggestive internet videos. I wondered if any of them were awake, posting videos, getting into trouble while maybe their parents were passed out drunk in the next room.

I worried… I worried…

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How To Beat Tooth Fairy Inflation

Last week I was deep underwater in a trade and glued to my screens when my daughter entered my office drooling.

“Adda! Adda!” she said. From the corner of my eye, I could see she was jumping.

I took a quick glance. Hanging from her open mouth was a string. It was tied to her tooth.

A couple of weeks earlier, when she was in the throes of losing her first tooth, my father told her how they used to remove teeth back in the day. You know the classic story: A loose tooth. A piece of string. A doorknob. A sadistic sibling. Inspired by this story of abuse, my daughter was set to untooth herself.

Historically, losing a tooth has been linked with violence.

Happily, later that day, without the aid of a string or doorknob, my daughter’s tooth succumbed to plain old gravity.

The tooth fairy was summoned.

Now, when I was a kid, the tooth fairy was a simple character. You wrapped your tooth in a bloody tissue and stuck it under your pillow. While you slept the tooth fairy visited and you woke a quarter richer. There were no questions like, “What’d the tooth fairy do with my tooth?” or, “Do I need to report tooth fairy profits to the IRS?”

For some, things haven’t changed much. The prior weekend, I visited my sister. She has two boys. Knowing that my daughter’s tooth was about to fall out, I had asked my nephew what the tooth fairy brought him. “The tooth fairy stinks,” he told me. “I put my tooth under my pillow for like, 3 weeks and when she finally came all I got was a buck.”

Things are more complex in my household. When my daughter lost her first tooth, my wife decided since it was “a special day” that the tooth fairy would not only BUY the tooth, but grant a wish as well. Wishes aren’t measured by the CPI, but let me tell you, they’re maybe the biggest inflationary threat to our economy.

That first tooth cost me $5. The wish (a doll) cost an additional $35.

Anyway, the day my daughter lost her tooth, it was my turn to put her to sleep. Before I entered her room my wife pulled me aside, and whispered a threat disguised as a request. “Make sure you find out what she wishes for!” This meant I had to be both a warm and loving father and a cold and heartless intelligence gatherer. From my daughter’s glitter-and-pony-filled head I had to pry her wish, so that it might be granted by the morning.

Brain scan of a 7-year old female.

So after we read our book and were set to turn off the light, I asked, “Did you make your wish?”

“Not yet,” my daughter said. She grabbed her tooth from the special jewel-encased box she has made specifically for lost teeth, and moved a couple of feet away from me, towards the end of the bed. She clasped the tooth between her hands, closed her eyes really hard, bit her bottom lip, and wished with great effort. When she opened her eyes again, it was as if she was exiting a trance. She looked completely unburdened.

“Holy shit,” I thought. “That was a big wish.”

I asked her in a conspiratorial whisper, “What’d you wish for?”

“Shhhh, Daddy! You know I can’t tell you. Quick let’s get to bed. The tooth fairy is gonna be busy tonight.”

“Is it something you eat?”

Silence.

“A doll?”

Silence.

She wasn’t letting me in. I felt a little panic entering my head.

“Is it” I asked with some trepidation, “alive?”

But she wasn’t talking. She took her wish to sleep that night. In fact, she fell asleep faster than ever.

My wife was waiting for me in the office. “So?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said. “I got nothing.”

“Well what are we supposed to do?” She looked emotional about it. She’s 8 months pregnant and just about anything can make her emotional right now. I knew I had to come up with something, and fast.

“Look,” I said. “I don’t remember much about the tooth fairy when I was a kid. All I know is that I maybe got a quarter in 1980. This whole idea about the tooth fairy granting wishes isn’t going to work. Let’s just get back to cash. The tooth fairy traffics in financial dreams only.”

“No, I don’t like it,” she said. “I want the tooth fairy to be a little more special.” My wife wasn’t going to settle for the quarter under the pillow trick. “It’s like, remember a few years ago when you wanted to make Groundhog’s Day an important family holiday?”

She always brought up my Groundhog’s Day idea when her back was against a wall.

“Yes,” I sighed.

“Well, I supported you then. Now you support my ‘tooth fairy is a big deal’ idea.”

I did some quick math. My daughter had another 18 teeth to lose. At $40 a tooth (assuming $5 a tooth and $35 per inflationary wish), that would cost me $720! Tooth fairy inflation was going to ruin me. I decided to try a different tact. With my wife feeling emotional, I took a stab at poetry.

“Let’s just change the character of the tooth fairy,” I said. “Losing teeth is a stage in life. The tooth fairy needs some depth, some philosophy, some poetry. We’ll write a note in glitter pen, or whatever, on special tooth fairy stationary that we can hide away. We can even douse the paper in perfume and tie it up with hair that came from the tooth fairy’s pony. (Admittedly, that last detail was a bit much.) We’ll just wrap the $5 in the note, done!”

My wife was skeptical. She wanted more details. “What does the note say, exactly?”

“The tooth fairy gives away stars.”

Where teeth come from and where they return.

“What?”

So we came up with a story. Every tooth, is a bit of a lost star. When your kid loses a tooth, the tooth fairy comes to reclaim it and return it to its star. For returning the tooth, your kid gets a little bit of money. Sort of like a bottle deposit, but much more romantic. Importantly, the tooth that grows in has also come from a star, one that you can choose and point out to your child.

Now, don’t worry if your neighbors give you crazy looks when you’re out on the front lawn, one arm around your kid’s shoulder the other pointing up to the night sky saying, “There it is! That’s the star your tooth came from, honey!” I mean, they probably lie to their kids about Santa Claus.

And their parents lied to them about “job benefits” and Social Security.

We all choose the myths we wish to believe in.

The next morning when my daughter first looked under her pillow, a wave of disappointment swept over her face. The hamster, or puppy, or whatever it was she expected to find, wasn’t there. Instead, there was a glittery note, fashioned as a wing (I have a crafty wife).

Quizzically, my daughter picked it up. She asked me to read it.

“It says, ‘The stars are in your smile.’”

Apparently I was dead on. Because she looked at me and I was blinded.

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Have teeth? OMFG! ME TOO!!! Follow me on Twitter!

Exit music.