Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig If you're feeling a little blue, your ego's not as healthy as it should be or you just need a quick pick-me-up, I'm telling you that the absolute best way to do that is to have lunch at an elementary school.
I stopped by to have lunch with my daughter this week, and I was flying high for the rest of the day.
It's a guarantee.
The minute you walk in, children are clamoring for your attention. They compete to see who gets to sit beside you and across from you.
Katie's status was immediately raised a notch because she had guaranteed placement.
Then the stories start. The kids can hardly eat they're so excited to have a new adult listen to them.
It's pretty heady.
But, be prepared to be shocked in some way every single time.
The last time I visited, I sat across from a boy who mixed his canned fruit with his mashed potatoes and gravy, added ketchup and used a breadstick to ferry the concoction to his mouth. I couldn't look at him and still finish my meal.
But in the big picture, that's such a little thing.
This week, my eyes were opened by behavior that was completely opposite.
I sat across from a second-grader who was 7 going on 37. She told me she planned to be a dentist when she grows up.
"And what kind of work do you do?" she asked thoughtfully, curling her leg underneath her and looking me squarely in the eye.
I told her I worked for the Chamber of Commerce.
"Oh," she said politely, with just a hint of disdain.
Clearly, it's a job well beneath her notice.
As we talked about her fascination with dentistry, the other children at the table found a topic they could chime in on, and it led to a flurry of stories about loose teeth, which, of course, meant they all had to show me the current status of their (a) loose tooth, (b) recently lost tooth or (c) teeth that will someday be lost.
It's a really fun activity while kids are eating.
Seriously, this is a great experience, but my advice would be to eat your own food quickly while looking down and then join the conversation.
We all compared stories about who lost how many teeth when and how. The fact that Katie was such a wuss she wouldn't let me pull hers, and it got so loose she swallowed it was a big hit. (We left the wuss part out).
"So," the sage asked, "How much do you give Katie for her teeth?"
I told her that I didn't give money, the Tooth Fairy did.
And evidently, the Tooth Fairy at my house ranks as ultra cheap among second-graders.
Six-year-old Nikki lost four teeth at once. She got $10, which averages $2.50 a tooth.
I thought that was pretty good.
When Katie lost her first tooth, she had three dollar bills under her pillow.
That's not bad.
Evidently the going rate is a whopping $5 a tooth.
Seriously, $5 a tooth!
The smart girl across from me netted a phenomenal $15 when she placed three teeth under her pillow.
One boy, whose parents obviously remember simpler times, is happy with the single dollar he finds.
Is there a Web site where you can look up the going rate? Because the Tooth Fairy's inconsistencies are really going to blow the whole racket. I mean really, if I performed my job (yes it's a real job) in a similar manner, I'd be packing my bags.
That Web site should have a suggestion box.
I'm feeling a little disconcerted at this point and losing my buzz. But, when it was time to go, I got a few hugs and several children left with a wave and a smile, "Bye, Ms. Currie."
That glow was back.
From the visit, I got a financial lesson, a meal, put in my place and a lot of love.
All for $3.
Not bad for a single tooth.