Hold it Lightly A wooden tooth-shaped box with a smiley face spills teeth onto a white surface

Published on March 25th, 2022 | by Cheryl Klein


The Tooth Fairy for Grownups

If you get a root canal, a GrubHub gift card appears in your inbox.

If your boss sends you a passive aggressive email, you find parking right in front.

If your baby is teething, three people say they envy your sense of style.

If “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” gets stuck in your head, that’s okay, because it’s a great song.

If you make an unpleasant phone call, you get a massage with no small talk.

If your lower back hurts, you suddenly understand cryptocurrency without ever having to learn or think about it.

If your toddler wakes up at 4am and wants to watch Cocomelon, you meet a grad student who loves babysitting, just took a CPR class, and has a schedule as open as the prairie.

If you throw a birthday party with a bouncy castle for twenty first graders, you get a party too.

If your daughter’s second-grade boyfriend tells her she looks better without bangs, that little fucker only gets educational wooden toys for Christmas.

If your spouse says, “I feel like you’re not hearing my needs,” you get trapped overnight in a bookstore that also sells exceptionally fluffy pillows.

A wooden figure—the kind that artists use as models to draw people—leans over several smooth gray stones with white stripes encircling them. Another striped stone rests on the figure's back.

If the vet bill costs more than a new refrigerator, you see on Facebook that your high school rival never amounted to anything.

If your child yells I hate you because you mentioned the existence of math homework, your dad calls to tell you how proud he is of your life choices, even your decision to buy a used car from the dealership. 

If you agree to go camping, the trip gets canceled due to rain.

If you have to help your aging parents clean out their garage, your therapist gives you six months of free sessions.

If you work as a GrubHub driver, you get an all-electric BMW and a fat motherfucking tip.

If your family has to quarantine due to a COVID exposure, a swimming pool appears in your backyard—appropriate fencing, lifeguard, and sexy pool person in the gender of your choosing included. If you don’t have a backyard, now you do.

If your three-year-old “helps wash the car” with sandpaper, their preschool plans an overnight field trip to a working unicorn farm, and all the chaperone spots have already been filled.

If your identity is stolen, a real-life Instagram filter wraps itself around your face, giving your jaw just a bit more definition. 

If your teenager gets arrested for tagging up that weird building on the corner—the one where no business lasts more than two months—a puppy follows you home. Surprise, the puppy can cook!

If your partner leaves you for someone who never complains, you’re the next guest on Queer Eye. 

If you have a miscarriage, a baby appears on your doorstep with a note detailing their full family medical history and assuring you that the baby’s original mother very much wants this.

If they find cancer, they also find several gold doubloons, just behind your spleen.

If a dictator invades your country, you get a tent and a bag of grain a charming three-bedroom bungalow with a lake view and GrubHub for life. Every cookie you ever eat will overflow with chocolate chips; you will never feel the disappointment of raisins. Every ancestor will perch on your shoulder, whispering that time is a myth. The spirits of the ones who couldn’t escape will find safe haven in your belly, but it won’t feel like guilt. It will feel like a purring cat, like a smooth stone that skips across the water before dipping quietly below the surface.

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About the Author

Cheryl Klein’s column, “Hold it Lightly,” appears monthly(ish) in MUTHA. She is the author of Crybaby (out in 2022 from Brown Paper Press), a memoir about wanting a baby and getting cancer instead. She also wrote a story collection, The Commuters (City Works Press) and a novel, Lilac Mines (Manic D Press). Her stories and essays have appeared in Blunderbuss, The Normal School, Razorcake, Literary Mama, and several anthologies. Her MUTHA column “Onesie, Never Worn” was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2022. She blogs about the intersection of art, life and carbohydrates at breadandbread.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylekleinla.

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