Posted by: laughs4dads | April 23, 2010


The economy is on the upswing!

This announcement comes from an unlikely source: Delta Dental of Minnesota. And the statistics behind it are even more unusual.

The national average payment is up to $2.13 from last year’s $1.88.

You’re probably asking, “Payment for what?” And the answer is: teeth. More specifically, lost teeth.

And who has been willing, even in uncertain economic times, to pay 25 cents more per lost tooth? Why, of course, the Tooth Fairy.

That’s right. Delta Dental of Minnesota has released the results of it’s annual national Tooth Fairy Poll® (yes that is a registered trademark), and it seems that baby teeth have succumbed to inflation.

This raises a few interesting questions:

  1. Why would the Tooth Fairy be affected by the tides of free market commerce? After all, supply and demand is not at work here. Is somebody out there competing with the Tooth Fairy for these teeth?
  2. On the other side, how are kids in a position to demand more money? I mean, what are they going to do if the Tooth Fairy refuses to pay the exorbitant increases? Not lose the tooth?
  3. The fact that there is an average cost per tooth must mean that there is no standard fee structure. What makes one tooth more expensive than another? Is the Tooth Fairy stiffing some kids in order to make up for being gouged by others?
  4. Where does the Tooth Fairy get the money anyway? What does she (I’ve always assumed it’s a she) do for a living? Is she on a trust fund? And what does she do with the teeth? Does she live in a mansion made of little bicuspid bricks? How does she get into your house?  Down the chimney?  And isn’t it a bit creepy to be sneaking around reaching under kids’ pillows? And why is it that these fantasy characters seem to enjoy breaking into our homes at night, taking teeth and eating cookies?

Seriously, though, it does seem as though there must be a wide range of parental payouts. You’d have to assume that some parents don’t give anything at all, which would mean that others are very generous. I’m sure that there are affluent homes where the Tooth Fairy even leaves checks or stock certificates.

We had an escalating schedule for Casey: each tooth was another dollar. But with us, it was more about the game of Tooth Fairy. In the guise of the Tooth Fairy, I maintained an ongoing correspondence with Casey wherein she and the Tooth Fairy would write to each other. I’m sure she knew it was really me, and she knew that I knew she knew, which made the whole thing sort of tongue-in-cheek.

Barbara kept many of the letters. Once, when Casey was seven, a tooth came out, but then Casey couldn’t find it. So in lieu of the tooth, she left this Post-it Note under her pillow: “Dear Toth Fary. “Today I lost a toth. But I lost it. Love Casey Hallen.” (Spelling will be a subject for another day.) She woke up to find $5 and this note from the “Tooth Fairy:”

I really shouldn’t do this
If you want to know the truth
I’m not supposed to give you money
If you can’t give me your tooth

But you’re such a good girl
I’ve got to say “Shucks.”
The rule is “no tooth, no quarter.”
But it doesn’t say “no five bucks.”

Another time, Casey had a tooth that simply refused to come out. It just hung there for weeks. So she awoke one morning to find this note, on official Tooth Fairy stationery:

Dear Casey:

I have been waiting and waiting for your tooth. When am I going to get it? If I don’t get it soon, I’ll spend the money I’m holding for you. If it does not come out soon, please tie it to a door and yank it out. Thank you. Love, The Tooth Fairy.

(Casey just read this post over my shoulder and said, “Yeah, I stopped liking the Tooth Fairy game when she started getting snarky.”)

Anyway, the point of all of this is that, polls not withstanding, the relationship between a child and the Tooth Fairy should not be a strictly financial one.

Fantasies are priceless in any economy.



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