So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with ...
A wall of candy.
Approximately 78 days before Halloween.
Anybody see a problem here?
I have written before about the rush to Christmas — which now begins with the arrival of the first Christmas catalog, sometimes around Labor Day — but the rush to Halloween is a fairly new one for me.
Actually, they’re being a bit sneaky about it. It isn’t labeled as Halloween candy, as such.
It’s autumn candy. Instead of jack-o’-lanterns and ghosts, the bags are festooned with images of falling leaves. But I’m not fooled. This is Halloween candy. Because nowhere among the traditions of fall — football, bonfires, leaf-raking, apple-picking — do we find an entry for “gorge yourself on tiny Milky Ways.”
Which, by the (milky) way, I love. And that brings us to the big problem with Halloween — or, if you must, autumn — candy: Miniaturization. You see a bowl of adorable little chocolate bars, and they look innocent. You think: Just one won’t hurt, right? Or maybe two. Three, at the most. Oh, what the heck, they’re little so what’s the difference? And before you know it you have eaten the equivalent of three full-size Hershey bars. With almonds.
The bigger problem (and when you’re talking about a problem bigger than the American waistline, that’s sizable) is the way we seem to have lost the capacity to wait — and with it, the joy of anticipation.
Those of us with a certain number of miles on the odometer will remember when every fall auto dealers papered over their windows for a week prior to the new-model launches. And for a week we wonder about what was behind those windows — What do you think the new Fords look like? What about the Dodges? It was great.
And then would come Reveal Night, with searchlights and balloons and free hot dogs for the kids. I still have a model of a Ford Falcon that I got at one of those events. I lied and told them my dad was very interested to buy the full-size model. Actually, Dad was nowhere near the place at the time. And besides, we had a new Pontiac.
Anyway, the new cars seem to come out whenever they feel like it nowadays. I suppose it’s better modern marketing strategy, but it sure isn’t as much fun.
Which gets me back to the Halloween candy. What’s the big hurry? We have plenty of time before we need to stock up for trick-or-treaters (which in my case means buy about twice as much candy as necessary, oops).
Or, to put it another way:
It’s still summer!
Sorry. Didn’t mean to shout. I just get frustrated sometimes because life is already moving pretty fast, and to speed it up even more seems so unnecessary. And little candy bars are part of it — a small part, sure, but a part just the same.
And I’m part of the problem, because I bought a bag. Ate about three Hershey bars’ worth, too.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.