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Surviving The Candy Dish

My young years were spent in the company of the aged.  My father was a preacher, which means I drank a lot of leftover grape juice and grew up around rest homes and mortuaries. As a result I learned a great deal about senior citizens and today I want to tell you this; “The elderly are holding out on us.”

You read me correctly, The AARP set has lived long enough to know exactly what they are doing, and if you assume that they’re doddering around waiting for death to grab them then you’ve walked into a trap like Han Solo on Cloud City.

They’re letting us think that we’re living it up with our tight dungarees and high maintenance hairstyles, but imagine how much fun they’re having in retirement.  Right now stress is killing us but we could be reading the paper, having an light lunch, hitting the links for 9 holes, beating the crowd to a buffet dinner, and winding down with a bowl of Jell-O and Alex Trebek…  while wearing breathable fabrics and a Gilligan hat.

The most egregious place they are holding out on us is at the coffee table candy dish.  Do you seriously believe that people who keep the Tic Tac company producing the orange flavor really enjoy the terrible candy that they leave out for the guests?  This is the generation that delivers the See’s candy at holidays; they whip out the good stuff for the invite only viewings of “Murder She Wrote.”

Having spent endless afternoon hours sampling the contents of countless Swarovski bowls here are my tips for surviving the perils of a septuagenarians candy offering.

5 candies you’re likely to find and how to handle yourself around them.

The Root Beer Barrel– Most of us enjoy a Root Beer Barrel from time to time, but it’s not the flavor you have to watch out for with this candy, it’s the seam along the edge.  Root Beer Barrels split at the seam and then open up in your mouth like a Bic-Twin shaver.  Wedge it in your cheek but be careful changing positions, the Root Beer Barrel is second only to Cap’n Crunch in damaging the soft palate.

Worse Than We Want It To Be

There’s very little that’s right about the life of Barbara Millicent Rogers.  Since graduating from Willows High School in Wisconsin she’s been torn apart for her impossible beauty even though she’s enjoyed a very successful career as a schoolteacher, veterinarian, astronaut, jazzercise instructor and baby sitter while serving in the National Guard.

Despite these “Aaron Spelling approved” contributions to feminism, Barbie is once again under fire for promoting an unhealthy image of beauty and desirability for young girls.  This week Galia Slayen, a former student at Portland’s Lincoln High School travels the morning talk show circuit with her own creation, a “life size” Barbie who is a dramatic representation of  eating disorders.

That Barbie represents a miniature totem of the American idealization of beauty can’t be disagreed with, it would be like trying to say that cigarrettes aren’t addictive.  Everyone would believe that you had an agenda that you were trying to push and you’d lose all credibility… and an election.

But what if the problem wasn’t just what OUR LOVE of Barbie tells us about beauty?


Paying For Attention

What if your wildest dream came true and it was a heartbreaking experience?

We tend to believe that the fulfillment of our fantasies will be satisfying, but I think that’s because so few of us ever realize our most imaginative goals.  This isn’t to say that we haven’t actually had wishes come true, in fact if you think about it, “wishes coming true” is a pretty accurate description of Christmas for most children.  Parents are generally able to accommodate “Dear Santa” requests because kids tend to dream small and talk big.  Fulfilling a Christmas wish list is easy because kids don’t usually ask for something huge like a record deal and a music video.

It used to take a ruthless corporate machine to foist something like Rebecca Black’s absolutely ridiculous “Friday” on the general public.  An industry was responsible for creating the Godzilla grade monsters we call Lindsay Lohan and Chris Brown, but the digital revolution has eased the major media companies’ stranglehold on the celebrity spotlight.  With the advent of reasonably priced, professional grade, digital media processing the formerly ludicrous claims of Andy Warhol became eerily prophetic.  15 minutes of fame is now eminently accessible to the “average” American.

An “average” American became a worldwide sensation last week because her mother had the resources to finance her fantasy.  While it only took $2000 to both fulfill Rebecca Black’s dreams and crush her heart, the sad part isn’t that she got torn apart by the rabid beast of suburban consumption.  What’s sad is that she dreamed too small and sang too big.


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