April 5th, 2004


I want candy.

So it's almost easter and they've put the candy out. I can't walk into CVS without being bombarded with jellybeans of the Smuckers, Starburst, Brachs, Livesaver, and generic, 'sort of spice-tasting' variety that old people put on their coffee tables and you wind up eventually spitting into a napkin. If I were smart I would refrain from walking into CVS at all, but I needed replacement razorblades to use when shaving my legs and/or slitting the throats of the people who market jellybeans to easily distracted twenty three year-olds.

I used to have a reeeal problem with candy which mainly involved eating it. A lot. If I could get back all the money I spent on candy between the ages of twelve and twenty-two, I have little doubt that the money returned would allow me to purchase a reasonably priced used-car or an island in the Pacific Ocean.
I don't even know how to express the severity of this problem. I started small, with perhaps a bag or two of skittles a day. Within a year I was consuming family-size bags as if they were single servings. If I could gain access to Costco or Sam's Club, I would inevitably leave with several bags of those ridiculously large containers of candy that one might consider if one were purchasing candy for...say, an entire girl scout troop.

I once polished off a two pound bag of smarties in a day and (being rather sick of smarties for several days after that) spent the next day polishing off a 5 pound box of Twizzlers. Entire sugar cane plantations have been poured past my tonsils. I'd spend time connecting my various bubbletapes into long carpets of gum--often creating strips only slightly shorter than the distance between the earth and the moon. I hated math but was excellent at finding multiples of 6.
"Bubbletape: It's four thousand seven hundred and forty six feet of bubble gum...for YOU, not THEM."

The first two years of college were a disaster in that my mother not around to remind me that Candy Corn was not a vegetable, Good and Plenty was not Good FOR you, and Big League chew was not appropriate for melting over lasagna. My tuition was only slightly more exorbitant than my dental bills. And my teeth, while not outwardly appearing to suffer from any sort of decay, have become less useful for activities such as "chewing" and "biting down on things, such as the bullet they give me when they're filling my cavities."

In 2002 I gave up all candy with the exception of chocolate (I'm not as big of a chocolate person) and sugarless. And sugarless is usually the answer to fill my cravings. Unable to find sugarless Jelly Beans I opted instead for two bags of "sugarless gummi bears."
So here's where I pay my price for my years of candy over-eating. Not in sacrificing taste, since I could never taste much of the candy I ate anyway, but if the disadvantage to regular candy is that it destroys your teeth, the disadvantage to sugarless candy is that it destroys your friendships, because NO ONE will be willing to pal around with you when the artificial sweetener turns your stomach into a combination of Yellowstone, Mt. Vesuvius, and the earthquake of 1906.
I wound up spending as much time on the toilet from two bags of sugarless gummibears as I did in the dentist chair from two decades of sugar intake, and when the affair was finally over (11 or 12 hours later) I didn't even have the satisfaction of collecting a sticker with an enormous cartoon of a molar on it, proclaiming, "I'm a great patient! And that's the tooth!"