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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eating Licorice

While an abundance of issues are worthy of a blog post (the power of giving, the fiscal cliff, watching Lincoln and Twilight in the same week), today I stumbled on to a topic that hasn't received nearly enough commentary: chewing licorice.

When we are kids, we can eat candy without thinking too much about decorum. We gobble it down, and chunks of bright, hardened sugar circle our lips, then residue tends to journey towards our ears. A few lucky pieces will make it into our hair until Mom finds it in a brush and must scissor it out. But it's all kind of funny. Heck, it's cute! With a bit of a finger wag, and a repressed smile, we are told, "Chew with your mouth closed."

Then we grow a little older. If you're a girl, and you turn into a teenager, eating candy can be seen as something sensual. Eating licorice is not only acceptable, but it might even be encouraged by some twisted, or not so twisted male. One temptress might twirl the licorice, play with it in her mouth, or use it as a straw for soda before deciding to actually nibble at it. Ahh, isn't that...sweet? Whether you think it's sweet, sexy, or unremarkable, it's probably not gross.

Then, you turn forty.

Today I spent the day at a Creighton basketball game with a fifth-grade girl I mentor for the Teammates Program. As we began to snack on our concessions, a small horror overtook me as I began to chew on my licorice. As the candy began its descent into my throat, I remembered how I've been known to choke on the red stuff. And since I wasn't around the familiar territory of family, I slowed my mastication way down so that the candy was practically water before I swallowed. Obviously, the joy of candy has lost its luster. So, under the pretense of benevolence, I gave out most of the damn Twizzlers. Truthfully, I just didn't want puke on anyone.

While the Blue Jays were beating Akron, I had an epiphany. Older ladies (defined as over forty) shouldn't eat candy in public. It's not becoming. Okay, okay. Maybe that's a little harsh. I don't want to discriminate. Older men (also defined as over forty) should follow the same rule. I've witnessed my husband inhale Milk Duds a time or two. And for any of you that think I'm particularly intolerant, think about the health repercussions. Not making a fool of oneself eating candy, in public, might reduce the overall sugar consumption and perhaps prevent type II diabetes.

So, next time I'm at the movie, I will consider my plan. Then I'll most likely remember, with glee, the darkness in the theater. And tell my husband to go ahead with the large pack of Milk Duds and medium popcorn to share. We geezers will choke our snacks down together. Not so sure I'll be delaying the diabetes.

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