punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

This Easter...

... I will be alone. takayla is going home to West Virginia to be with her sister, CR is going to provide her company (he likes Keyser), and I am staying home to make sure the dogs have someone to take care of them.

I might go to DC and bum around on Saturday, depending on the weather. Sunday is out because the Easter schedules for the Metro are pretty prohibitive, and most everything will be closed, anyway. I also thought about going on a discount candy binge.

My parents were... well, at least my dad was an atheist. I have no idea what my mother's religious convictions were, because religion was forbidden in our home. Yet, we celebrated Easter. I think it was more for me than anyone else, because my mother loved doing the Easter basket thing. My basket was the same basket, year after year, and wore down over the years until it finally was unraveling in my teen years. I got small toys and candy. My mother always made the basket, and to this day I still think the pre-made baskets are lame. There were a few skipped years, especially when my mother got drunk a lot, but for the most part Easter was a "candy thing" until it became a "family dinner" thing, which was never nice, but I have covered those hellish events before.

When I was a teenager, the day after Easter usually meant two things: the end of Spring Break and the day all the candy went on sale. I stocked up on candy, and at some point in the 1980s, the fine folks at Reese's started to make peanut butter eggs. Once, I was at JulieCon 1, wombat1138's mom got like a pallet of them for the party in the basement, and holly god, I swear I ate like a box and a half of them. We're talking the display box they usually have at the register; her mom was one of the first people who took advantage of the new "bulk food stores" that started showing up around here in the 1980s (you know, Costco, BJ's, Price Club, and so on).

One of the things I found was that Easter was the only time of year when the lower quality candy came out. Being raised on fine chocolate, my scale of preferences started with European chocolate, especially Swiss, and went down to Hershey's, which I considered "passable." But there was a lower floor to chocolate during Easter, and I see that it still lives on. Halloween doesn't do this so much. Sure, you see Mary Janes, Necco Wafers, and other rare candies only old and cheap people give out, but Easter especially seems to bring out the bottom shelf chocolate. Often foil-wrapped, brand names that sound like Dutch swear words litter the shelves with a preemptive sense of poor self worth. "I know..." they seem to moan, "I'm not Hershey's..." Sometimes covered with overly colorful wrappings, weird confections lay awkwardly in their poorly designed cardboard displays; uneven rows wax eggs with marshmallow and coconut centers, smelling of paraffin, dust, and old men in Wisconsin forced labor camps. I don't know who makes the chocolate often used in these ghetto confections, but they seem like cargo cult candy makers. Quite possibly the same factory that makes 5-packs of kitchen sponges you see at the Dollar Stores also make Easter candy due to some legal contract from a 1970s buyout. Like they know what candy is, they've seen pictures, but their taste tester is somebody's grandpa who sucks licorice all day during the off season.

Today, someone brought this kind of candy to work. It was a gift from one of our vendors, I think. I took a gander, even though the jar the candy was in smelled, and I am not kidding, roughly of beef jerky. I peeled away the yellow foil, showing a anthropomorphic rabbit sitting upright, a magenta and white egg placed squarely in his crotch. He was smiling too much. What was he doing to that egg? The art was necessary because the chocolate mold I exposed was far more abstract: like comparing the Mona Lisa to a stick figures used in airport safety signs. You could still tell it was a rabbit with and egg, but the oversized eyes were replaced with dots, and the buck-toothed leer of a retarded hillbilly who humps lawn ornaments was just a letter Y. But the disturbing part of this candy was not a curry-like smell, nor the strange matte-like finish where one would expect the usual shine of buffed chocolate... it was a clear stripe right across the entire chocolate. Clear like a chunk of freezer ice that striped through the chocolate like a vein of coal through a mine. It broke at that point, and all I can guess was some of the wax they wanted to use as filler and varnish that didn't mix evenly.

I tossed it. I looked at the plastic jar and saw the ingredients read like a chemical list of a photo lab. The name of the candy was called, "Easter Parade!" (yes, with the exclamation point) and it as made by a company that sounded like "Vanderhooven." A white rabbit danced below the letters, carrying a lace parasol, and a chick with a big straw hat and a ribbon ran beside him in quite possibly the gheyest scene up there with the script writers for "Barney the Dinosaur." No thanks. I am not aggravating my ulcer with grade-z candy, even if it's free.

An hour later, I saw someone tossed the entire thing, candy and all, in the trash.
Tags: candy, chocolate, easter
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