When our family lived in apartments, I was extremely jealous of the house-dwellers in their master-planned communities with their master-planned community events. Not content to simply go trick-or-treating at the mall with the rest of the huddled masses, I started to sneak into communities where I knew I wouldn’t be found out as a plebian; with some neighborhoods in Texas boasting close to 1000 homes in a single subdivision, I would choose the later phases and dare anybody to ask me my address. (Something Something Ranch Drive. There’s one in every neighborhood)
Unfortunately, I must not have been the only one with this idea because the day I tried to show up for an egg hunt, there was a registration tent where you had to show a utility bill to prove that you lived there. So I had to wait until we moved into the ‘burbs to finally do an egg hunt that didn’t convene at a Jamba Juice kiosk. Far from being what I always dreamed of, the neighborhood egg hunt is actually a window straight into the black heart of man.
1. The Bodyguard
To understand why the bodyguard exists, you have to understand that the neighborhood egg hunt takes place on a barren, desolate landscape of drought-ravaged razor like grass. There is nowhere to hide. In fact, there’s nowhere to hide eggs. They just scatter those bad boys around and perform a mass Final Unction before the whistle blows. When it does, you’ll find the bodyguard looming over his beribboned daughter, ready to clothesline any child who gets a little too close.
2. The Assistant
The assistant know what’s up. This isn’t her first time to the rodeo, so to speak, and she understands that the child who ends up with the most plastic crap and slurpee coupons at the end of the egg-hunt wins. They’ll be found at the site before dawn, mapping out a route and having their child do conditioning drills. Once the whistle blows, they can be heard shouting, “Over there! That little girl got one, but you can take her!” Sometimes they join the fray by recruiting a gang of relatives to comb the field and snatch eggs from toddlers.
3. The Photographer
The photographer understands that these are precious childhood memories, people! Not content to sit on the sidelines and smile fondly, the photographer needs their child to pause every 9 seconds in their finest Easter wear to capture the best shots, and they don’t mind telling you to bippity-boppity-back-the-fuck-off if you wander into the frame. They usually give up by the end once their child is sobbing over the fact that they only managed to grab one smashed peep and a broken plastic egg.
4. The Prodigy’s Parent
Egg hunts are typically divided into age groups, since the under two set doesn’t really understand where they are and the over five set typically resembles a pack of rabid honey badgers. But the prodigy’s parent pays no mind to these absurd rules. His child is advanced, after all. “That’s my son,” he’ll murmur proudly to anyone in earshot, pointing at a three year old standing alone amongst gargantuan 2nd graders, wondering why he’s being punished, “he’s gifted.”
5. The Rule Enforcer
The rule enforcer knows what she’s getting into. She’s been to many an egg hunt, and despite knowing what the future holds, continues her valiant but futile fight to keep people honest. Someone has to do it, after all. She can usually be found at the starting line, screeching at children to keep their toes behind the line, or yelling “You can’t do that! You’re cheating!” before storming off to find a volunteer to tattle to. Their child is usually the most prolific and skilled cheater of all.
6. The Sideline Preacher
You disgust the sideline preacher. Yes, his child is a participant, but only because that’s the world we live in, these days. Plus his kid is really a mole–charged with the task of swapping creme eggs for Chick tracts. If you want a lesson on how Easter has been perverted by gay pagans, find the sideline preacher. Or just wait. He’ll find you.
7. The Gladiator
The gladiator comes correct with a 19 gallon cinch top garbage bag and a thirst for blood. She’s not really interested in what her kid’s doing, because she’s too busy body checking kindergartners and dive rolling to collect as many plastic chokables as she can before someone escorts her off the premises. At some point she may be forced to apologize to a kid whose nose she bloodied, but she’ll always follow it up with “Yeah, I’m sorry. Sorry you have a glass jaw, you little crybaby.”
8. The Noob
Every year, the noob will show up, thinking that the neighborhood egg hunt is a fun activity for children. They might snap a few phone pics before the whistle blows, blissfully unaware of the horror that awaits. Scarred, the noob will stare in disbelief at the gladiatorial nightmare, somehow understanding that nothing will ever be the same after this.
9. The Loner
The loner is a mystery wrapped in an enigma covered with a cipher and smothered with secret sauce. No matter how hard you look, you’ll never find the loner’s child, because she doesn’t have one. She’s not really a creeper, she just has the look of a person who has no idea where she is. On the flipside, one type of loner will answer any questions about why she’s there with a long-winded an awkward speech about how she pays HOA fees and taxes, so there’s no way she’s opting out of an Easter Bunny photo-op that she, when you think about it, paid good money for.