From chocolaty, peanut buttery Reese’s cups to the vast cornucopia of fruit flavored sugar like Air Heads, Nerds and my personal favorite, Starburst, nothing tingles my joy sensors quite like a piece of candy.
When I’m dragging a bit, when the world’s got me down, I know I can reach for a bag of Skittles or grab a handful of M&Ms and for just a few brief moments, forget about the troubles of the day.
But all of that has changed. No longer can I kick back for a few minutes of bliss as I nibble on a Twix; for a new and sinister truth has been revealed to me — a dark and terrible secret has been exposed in my consciousness…
It happened one morning last week while I was casually catching up on the week’s important news, like Kanye West proposing to Kim Kardashian, a man supposedly buying a World Series ticket for $6, and Howard Stern’s wife hosting the first-ever kitten bowl, when my serenity was shattered.
There, as I scrolled through the top stories on msn.com, screaming at me with urgency, beckoning me to read it, was possibly the most important story I’ve ever read — The 10 Worst Halloween Candies for Children.
With mounting fear I ran down the list — Snickers, Candy Corn, Tootsie Pops, Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins, white chocolate candy corn M&M’s, heaven’s forbid, Starburst!
I was devastated! How could this be? Surely this was some cruel joke, some Halloween prank, some sick lie! But as the hair began to stand up on the back of my neck and little bumps of gooseflesh grew on my arms, I knew. I knew this was no trickery, no holiday rouse. This was a reckoning.
My bones shaky and my teeth chattering, as the hard cold truth enveloped me, I began to read:
— Chocolate is loaded with fat and calories; caramel is a serious source of tooth decay.
— Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins have 180 calories each.
— Candy corn has no protein or healthy fats.
And, please Lord say it isn’t true:
— A pack of Starburst is the equivalent of five and a half sugar packets and they adhere to the teeth, causing cavities!
The charade I was living in was over. The jig was up.
Sweat dripping from my brow, my face a ghastly pallor, I sat defeated at my desk, the icy blue of my computer screen flickering before me.
I longed for my wife, my mother, anyone, even Carlton Fletcher, to comfort me in the face of this terror, to shield me from the growing darkness.
But alas, it was not to be. I was laid bare by the cruel facts, forever scarred by the mean truth.
No longer could I live under the delusion that candy caused no me harm. No longer could I pretend all those innocent treats, somehow enriched my life. The gnarled and hateful reality of those sweet treats seeped into my very being.
Then like a shot, I knew I had to do something. With Halloween right around the corner, I knew I had to steel myself and get the word out to the others. I could not allow the residents of southwest Georgia, the faithful readers of the Albany Herald, to walk blindly into a buzz-saw of candy killing power.
How could I let all the children and their families, fancied up in their holiday costumes, go door to door naively courting ruin.
They must know the truth, I must spread the word!
I took up my keyboard and began to type my manifesto, to hopefully author the greatest piece I could ever share with our readers. I threw myself into the task with complete abandon.
Please everyone, put aside your differences, pause from your busy lives and hear me now…
Candy is bad for you! Yes, my dear friends and neighbors, candy is loaded with sugar and empty calories. There is very little to no nutritional value in Skittles or Air Heads.
Candy is a cunning killer, lulling us into complacency, tricking us into the deadliest of treats. If left unchecked, it could very well be the downfall of civilization as we know it.
As the shock of this revelation began to wear off and I neared the end of this column, I knew I had been blessed, spared countless hours in the dentist’s chair or on a treadmill. I knew if I had done my job, others might be spared as well.
I had been given a gift, a new truth had been revealed to me. No longer would I trudge blindly through the darkness.
Somehow, in the face of this awful harbinger of candy-coated destruction, a glimmer of hope, a beam of light, a beacon of truth that is the Internet, had revealed a new truth to me.
The Internet had saved me! The Internet had provided me with something great and beautiful I could share with everyone. The Internet had enlightened me.
Without its constant stream of revelatory information beamed directly into my consciousness, I might have continued on that dark path of terror and heartbreak.
Instead, I’m safely, travelling down the information superhighway, armed with new, lifesaving information. I can now keep the candy apocalypse at bay.
Thanks to the Internet, I will survive!
I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween. Just remember not to overdo it on the sweet treats.
Email Brad McEwen at firstname.lastname@example.org.