Tuesday, January 26, 2010




: a large meteor : fireball; especially : one that explodes

i want to take this opportunity to talk about candy, as i have never seen a meteor, a BOLIDE, a comet, an eclipse, or really anything grand in the sky. i have, on the contrary, eaten many fireballs. (i will save writing about astronomy for a more appropriate word, i.e. STOLID: a word that perfectly describes the grad student that taught my undergraduate astronomy class).

candy has had a specific significance in my life since the word doubles as a shorter version of my name. i went by the nickname candy until i was about 5 or 6, old enough to realize that its connotation suggested something a little less...capable than what i, as candace, had to offer the world. it was to my advantage to make this decision at an early age. my mother had already sewn custom-made tags into all of my homemade clothes that read "candy opper." luckily, i was to grow out of these clothes, and this alias.

this did not change my feelings about actual candy. fireballs, sour patch kids, and jolly ranchers (the large ones, specifically) were my poison of choice. there was a shop in downtown milford called wanda's sugar shack that sold candy by the pound. my mother would take me there occasionally, and we would fill baskets with glorious prepackaged sweets and then sit on the beach and see who could suck on a fireball the longest. she always won, her tolerance was years ahead of mine. i envied this the way i envied her ability to play the bumble boogie on the piano without slipping up. my mother seemed light years ahead of me in these talents that i thought inconceivable.

eventually my love for candy transformed into a love for gum, that i still struggle with today. i began chewing gum on a regular basis in the seventh grade when i realized i could use it as a social commodity. cool kids were always looking for gum, and i always had some to offer. sometimes i would go through an entire 14-pack of cinnaburst gum in a day just giving it out to people. for a while i became known in my classes as "the girl who had gum." at twelve years old, i thought this meant i had value.

my obsession with gum has wavered over the last two decades. it came back strong a few years ago when i was losing weight. i always had gum around to chew when i was hungry and i didn't want to stuff my face with food. it worked. but since then, my need for gum has lingered. i still always have a pack on me (orbitz sweet mint) to busy my mouth. it's not even about the gum as much as it is about the chewing, as the fireballs were about the act of sucking, a BOLIDE of sensory pleasure in my nine year old mouth.

i believe this means i have an oral fixation. i think i like the attention that candy and gum draw to my mouth—a mouth in constant movement, in constant sensory overload.

at least i don't bite my fingernails.

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