Once Upon a Time I won a live rabbit. It was in the church Easter egg hunt. Imagine the look on my mother’s face when I trotted towards her with a full-grown white rabbit in my arms. Parents send their kids to Sunday School to keep them safe from farm animals! In my eyes the creature had been sanctioned by the church, practically a gift from God, and poor Mom knew she didn’t have a leg to stand on. I named him Easter, to reinforce his sanctuary status. We used to eat Lucky Charms together. He only ate the oats, I only ate the marshmallows. It was a perfect relationship.
Yesterday Easter candy kept hopping into my cart while I shopped. Normally I make sure all candy that comes into the house is stuff I don’t like. That is usually easy, I’m Team Dark Chocolate. For some reason most anything shaped like a chocolate rabbit is an exception to the rule. Gnawing the ears off a chocolate rabbit – no matter the color of his skin – is just one of life’s great pleasures. My cashier at Target approved my selection of chocolate rabbits – most destined to be given away minus ears – and told me she got a horse one Easter. Imagine that? My mother got off so easy! Have you ever gotten a farm animal for Easter?
In Texas I lived near a feed store. (It’s where you go to buy food for your livestock, City Slicker.) They had pigs, wallabies, and emu too. At Easter time they dyed baby chicks and rabbits in bright colors and sold them. At least until PETA found out or something. The feed store hosted humongous Easter egg hunts of near-riot proportions. Taking my children to them always made me nervous. Not so much that the egg hunters would stampede my preschoolers, no, my fear was of Pet Karma.
You do realize that the universe has a colossal sense of humor and justice, right? Surely we’ve all gotten our karma smack downs? You know what I mean, every time you looked at someone else’s bratty kids, before you had your own, and scornfully announced, “My kids will never!” the angels in heaven wrote your snide little remark down. Later they took bets on Divine Retribution, and sat around eating popcorn watching while your kid wiped boegies on your sister-in-law’s couch, threw a tantrum at Walmart, and took their diaper off in church. The time your kid got you kicked out of Walmart was directly responsible for more than one pair of wet Angel knickers. They really enjoy justice up there.
Pet Karma is basically everything your parents suffered because of your pets, squared, and right back at you. I whole-heartedly believe in Pet Karma and went willingly to my punishment. Hermit crabs, geckos, aquariums of assorted fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, frogs, bait, snakes, and the white Easter rabbit that lives forever. I figured it was exactly like a friend once told me about teenagers. She said, “Enjoy your kids while you can, because the teenage train* is heading down the tracks right at you.” I asked my friend, “Should I run?” “Oh you can,” she said, “If you want the exercise, but it won’t matter.” So I accepted my Pet Karma fate, and faced it head-on.
Besides the live Easter rabbit I won as a child, Pet Karma accumulated as I brought home “stray cats” and fed them cans of tuna. Years later I realized that not every outside cat was a stray. We went through a lot of tuna. I’ll get into my gerbils and pet mice that lived in bird cages another time. Suffice to say when my own kids dragged baskets filled with candy eggs past cages of live rabbits, and pleaded for one, I already had a bunny hutch ready and waiting at home. Preparation did not make the pet rabbit mistake any better. That was the meanest rabbit that ever lived. It chased the kids by jogging on its hind legs, kind of like one of our cats did. Hmmm, odd coincidence wouldn’t you say? Apparently my Pet Karma is still working off the pet monkey. (Though that monkey was never mine, he was my grandmother’s. I totally demand a Pet Karma refund.)