With the possible exception of Santa Claus himself, there is not a busier mammal on the face of the earth than the Easter Bunny. Once a year, the Easter Bunny hops into the home of hundreds of millions of boys and girls all over the globe, dropping off chocolates, candy and eggs as part of the celebration of Easter. America Online spent a few minutes with the Easter Bunny as he was preparing for this year's task, for a tell-all, no-holds-barred interview. If you thought you knew the Easter Bunny, you just may be surprised.
America Online: Thanks for talking to us.
Easter Bunny: No problem. Do you mind if I eat while we talk? (takes out a packet of small green pellets) I've been in a rush recently.
AOL: Go right ahead. We've got a list of questions here, compiled from our members, and I'll just go down the list if you don't mind.
EB: Ready when you are.
AOL: The first question comes from Ted, in Dayton, Ohio. He writes: "We all know that Santa's Workshop is located at the North Pole. Does the Easter Bunny have a workshop, and if so, where is it located?"
EB: Well, Ted, the answer is yes, I do have a workshop. It's located in San Bernardino, California.
AOL: San Bernardino?
EB: That's right.
AOL: You have to understand that most people would have figured some place like Easter Island.
EB: Have you *been* to Easter Island? What a rock! It's the single most isolated piece of land on the planet. By the time we shipped fresh eggs there, we'd have chickens. Besides, San Bernardino has the sort of motivated labor pool we need.
EB: Laid-off aerospace workers.
AOL: They would seem to be a little overqualified.
EB: Maybe. But now we have some lovely chocolate stealth bombers.
AOL: Our next question comes from Cindy, in Tempe. She writes: "Why is the Easter Bunny a bunny? Why couldn't it have been the Easter Kitty, or the Easter Puppy?"
EB: That's a very good question. In fact, in the late 70s, we as an organization decided to play around with the whole "bunny" thing by recruiting prominent local animals to deliver Easter baskets. In 1978, when the experiment was at its height, we had an Easter Bunny, an Easter Coyote, an Easter Manatee and an Easter Komodo Dragon.
AOL: What happened?
EB: It just didn't work out. The Komodo dragon ate the eggs, the coyote just flaked out, and the manatee, if I may say so, was just about as dumb as a stick. There were some other problems with the program, too. The less we talk about the whole Easter Man-Eating Bengali Swamp Tiger episode, the better. Now we stick with bunnies. We know bunnies. We can work with bunnies. Bunnies don't eat anyone.
AOL: Bob in Honolulu asks: "Is there is just one Easter Bunny? Moreover, has the same Easter Bunny been the Easter Bunny for the last couple of millennia?"
EB: The fact of the matter is that there are quite a few Easter Bunnies, and we've never made a secret about that. Unlike the Santa Claus operation, which works under the improbable assumption that one guy delivers all those presents.
AOL: Are you saying that Santa is a sham?
EB: I didn't say that. I never said that. What I am saying is that *we* don't work under the same sort of constraints. I mean, think about it. One bunny delivering baskets to several hundred million homes across the planet? The friction from the atmosphere alone would turn the poor guy into a bunny briquette. There'd be hideous charcoal smudges all over the baskets. "Easter Bunny" is a job description, not a proper name. It's like "Postal Carrier," except our employees very rarely become disgruntled.
AOL: So why are you THE Easter Bunny?
EB: Because I'm boss. You're not an Easter Bunny until I say you are.
AOL: How does one become an Easter Bunny?
EB: Well, it's not just hopping down the bunny trail, I'll tell you. First, for reasons already explained, you have to be a bunny. After that, we have a psychological evaluation and a battery of physical tests you have to pass. We can't afford to have an Easter Bunny cramp up at the beginning of his run.
AOL: Any famous rabbits turned down for the job?
EB: I don't want to name names. But one bunny who's making a living in the breakfast cereal industry, we had to let go. Any time a child would try to get an Easter basket from him, he'd back away and start snarling. He was a silly rabbit. Easter baskets are for kids.
AOL: He seems to have gotten better since then.
EB: Prozac helps.
AOL: Albert from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, wants to know what are the occupational hazards of being the Easter Bunny.
EB: There are several. Large dogs are always a problem, of course: one moment you're delivering a basket of goodies, the next, a Rottweiler named Pinochet is on you like a meat-filled sock. Nervous homeowners with guns wing a couple of bunnies a year, as do edgy cops and private security guards. We don't even bother trying to deliver to the children of militia members anymore; first they'll plug you for being on their land, then they'll make you into jerky and a pair of gloves. But you know what our number one problem is?
EB: Sliding glass doors. Sometimes we'll just forget they're there. Man, that's embarrassing.
AOL: Here's an interesting question, from Amy, in New York City. She writes: "How does the Easter Bunny get along with Santa Claus? It seems like Santa gets all the attention." And I have to say, I did notice some tension earlier, when you brought him up.
EB: (Looking uncomfortable): Well, you know, look. I don't want to say anything bad about the guy. He does what he does, and I do what I do. Professionally, we get along fine.
AOL: But privately?
EB: Is that tape recorder turned off?
EB: He's a big ol' pain in this bunny's bottom. For one thing, he's a prima donna: always me, me, me, where's my highball, where's my corned beef sandwich, tell this dumb bunny to get his own dressing room. I'd rather be trapped in a sack with Joan Crawford. For another, he's totally paranoid of other large men. He thinks that Luciano Pavarotti is trying to move into his territory. Last year it was John Goodman. He actually danced when Orson Welles kicked, waving his pistol and bellowing "Rosebud!" from the top of his lungs.
AOL: Wow. He seems a little scary.
EB: You think? And yet he gets all the publicity. Why? We do the same job. Mine's actually tougher, since I'm moving perishable stuff. You can't have bad eggs or stale chocolate, you know. Folks wouldn't stand for it. I have to maintain strict quality control. The only food product he has to worry about is fruitcake. You could tile the Space Shuttle with fruitcake.
AOL: We're sure you have your own fans.
EB: It's like opening for the Beatles, is all. And he *is* the walrus, if you know what I mean.
AOL: One final question, from Pat, in Rockford, Illinois; "Does the Easter Bunny actually lay eggs? How does that happen, since the Easter Bunny is both male and a mammal?"
EB: Well, platypuses are mammals, and they lay eggs. So it's not impossible.
AOL: That still leaves the male part.
EB: We're quibbling on details, here.
AOL: Maybe there should be an Easter Platypus.
EB: Sorry. We tried that in '78.
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