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Michael Picarella: Watch out for egg cheaters

Picarella Family Report

Posted: April 10, 2009 11:57 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 
This year, I won’t be participating in the family Easter Egg Hunt and Barbecue Eggstravaganza.

I won’t participate because, every year, the group elects me to barbecue the food, and I’m sick of doing it. Another reason I won’t participate is because I just don’t enjoy bugs eating me alive. And of course, I won’t participate because I was banned for what I did last year.

My 5-year-old son has represented my immediate family in the annual egg hunt for the past three years. But he’s neglected to take home the 1st place prize.

I like to win, so I did my best to encourage my boy.

“Do you really think 2nd place is any better than last place?” I’d say to my son. “Win the 1st place prize, or run laps around the park.”

My wife thinks I’m too hard on the kid. “The egg hunt is supposed to be fun,” she’d say, “not work.”

Two years ago, during the Great Easter Egg Hunt of ’07, one of the parents expertly coached his little egg hunter to the biggest victory in the history of the event. In other words, the father-son duo cheated.

“I got the most eggs ever, I win the big basket, candy, candy, candy!” the kid yelled as he collected the 1st place prize, a massive gift basket of Easter goodies. You could call my son’s 2nd place gift basket “easier to carry.” My wife was thrilled — she misses the point of competition.

Cheater Kid taunted my son. “My basket’s bigger than yours.”

My son, who knew the kid cheated, took the high ground and didn’t sock the boy in the mouth. Instead he congratulated him. It was an honorable move.

I have no shame.

“You cheated!” I screamed to the dad, who, standing there in his dorky white tennis shoes, laughed and denied the charge. Everybody told me to calm down, said I was upset over a silly, irrelevant little egg hunt. Then they contacted the media and reported Cheater Kid’s record-breaking victory.

As I cooked everyone’s food that year, I plotted how I’d get even in ’08.

Each year, the Great Egg Hunt rewards young hunters who find the majority of the 100 plastic eggs that us parents hide prior to the event. The kid who won the Great Easter Egg Hunt of ’07 collected 69 eggs that year—thanks to his cheating dad.

So, following the ’07 event, I went to the store and bought 600 plastic eggs and an Easter basket big enough to hold all 600. During the Great Easter Egg Hunt of ’08, while the kids were busy hunting and the parents were busy watching, my son and I would meet in a secluded area of the park, and I’d smuggle the 600 eggs from my car into my kid’s basket. No other hunter would be able to compete with my boy when it came time to count eggs.

That day, before the hunt, I went to great lengths to prove to everyone that I wasn’t sore about the previous year’s incident. I bought quality meats to barbecue instead of the usual hot dogs. I even complimented Cheater Dad’s brand new dorky white tennis shoes. I conversed with him, laughed with him ... I told him I thought his kid would break the egg hunt record again.

When the kids were off and hunting, I tiptoed away from the group and over to my car. I couldn’t wait to see Cheater Dad’s face as my son dumped out his 600 eggs. I even brought my video camera so I could capture the scene on tape for repeat viewings.

I got to my car, disarmed it, popped the trunk . . . and discovered that my wife had removed the 600 eggs and hid them with the others. She thought the hunt would be better for the kids if they had more eggs to find.

So I trudged back to the egg hunting grounds and watched Cheater Dad and his cheater kid steal another 1st place prize. Then I fired up the barbecue. And I burnt everyone’s food.

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinion, not necessarily that of The Signal. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to www.michaelpicarellacolumn.blogspot.com.

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