As a small child, like most children I was told about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa and God. You couldn't actually see them and each had special powers. They were like superheroes, the Fantastic Four. Sadly, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse were not imbued with any super powers because boy, that would have been the coolest evah.
I was made to believe by adults (and society apparently was in on the scam) - further demonstrated to all small children by the sophisticated seasonally-decked out shopping malls at Easter and Christmas - that these superheroes were really, really for real and as a young child, why would I doubt what my parents and elders told me? And I saw it with my own eyes too, I mean, I sorta sat on Santa's lap!
Some of these superheroes were so important that they even had their own special periods during the year. Santa got a whole month and then a very big special day when lots of presents were given out - and we got to eat turkey. The Easter bunny got a long weekend and we ate chocolate eggs which I suppose gave the tooth fairy some work. Well, he had to be the least busy because he only came around when a tooth fell out.
But that God fella, hey, he must have been the leader of the Fantastic Four because he had separate special buildings built for him and we all had to get dressed up nice and go to one of his houses on Sundays and then listened for a long time while a bloke that said he talked to the god superhero went on and on about what the god superhero wanted us to know for that week, or the next, I can't remember, it was all so confusing.
Of the four superheroes, two appeared to be more powerful; God and Santa. Apparently, these two even had powers that allowed them to keep an eye on my behaviour ALL year long, even in my bestest hiding spots. If I was naughty, the bearded fat Santa man who lived in the North Pole found out and it would mean no presents on Christmas day. He could be really strict.
And the God superhero, well, he was even meaner. He could know what I was THINKING even and I wasn't always thinking nice stuff. And no presents or turkey with him, nah ah. I guess since he was kinda the superhero boss he made his rules super scary. He had this place called Hell that was full of fire and devils and stuff where bad people would go when they died and you would be put there forever and ever to burn. Boy, I really did my best to behave around him.
Then around age 6 or 7, I can't be sure, I began to doubt that Santa was real. Maybe it was watching mom wrap presents we had just bought together that gave it away but I wanted to know. So I asked my parents and they admitted Santa was all made up and it was all a bit of a big yuk, yuk, a good laugh. So what about the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, I asked? Same. Just made up stuff, they said, now that you're a little more grown up we can't fool you any more.
And what about the God guy? Oh no, he's real, son. Really? You've just spent my entire existence telling me great big fibs about four superheroes where three turn out not to be real but this one guy is? Why should I believe you now?
To end my story, I eventually grew up and realised the last god superhero was also a fabrication. It took me a few extra years to get my head around it. My parents and society and a 2000-year headstart really pushes for that one to be "real" but my second Santa (god)-is-not-real moment did eventually arrive for the last Fantastic Four superhero.
It's easy to explain why. I grew up. I reasoned. Much like humanity is growing up, hence the declining belief in vampires, werewolves, magical spirits, mystical superheroes, angels, superstition and invisible friends. You see, just like a small child eventually becomes more aware and educated about the world around it, and sees what is and is not true, and can work out fact from fiction, it becomes harder to fool. We as the human species are growing up and becoming more enlightened, and are no longer so easily fooled.
Well, some of us.
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