If stress shortens lives then piñatas have probably shaved about a decade off mine.
As you faithful imaginary readers know, I am pretty anti-kids-birthday party. The ridiculous amount of unwarranted anxiety of the planners is enough to turn me off but the unbridled chaos of the attendees saps me of all desire to be present. Just observing the bedlam drains me.
The apex of the raucous behavior is usually associated with a piñata. Who could even think this up? You get a group of kids, wind them up on cake and punch, and then whip them to an uncontrollable frenzy with the promise of more candy falling from the sky. While everyone quivers about with their eyes trained on the colorful object swinging from the tree, you blindfold one kid, give him a stick, spin him until he is disoriented, and tell him to slash away.
How did this dangerous practice ever take hold? At every birthday party I attend, I personally prevent no fewer than 2 major head traumas by plucking children (heroically in a nick of time) from the path of a swinging bat.
Even more puzzling, whenever I spring from my lawn chair and make one of my patented, diving saves of a child in danger, I dust myself off to a complete lack of fanfare. Never is there so much as a trace of thankfulness from the kid or his irresponsible, cake-eating parent who is no doubt gossiping with the other moms in the kitchen.
So I guess this is several gripes all wrapped up in a conundrum. I don't want to be at these parties (gripe), piñatas make me nervous (gripe), and no one else seems to think the kids are in danger so I am left to police the scene alone (gripe).
The conundrum is how these icons of celebration became staples of the birthday party protocol to begin with. They are really not that fun if you think about it. One kid breaks the damn thing and the other 19 are mad because they didn't. Some don't even get a swing. The parents lament the amount of candy their kids are scavenging from the ground. And as the loot is quickly collected, countless scuffles break out over the final pieces creating tension between the parents of the scufflers. The whole ceremony is a let down that casts a pall over the meticulously planned event.