2017-02-16 / Family

Candy helps family learn to deal with temptation

Michael Picarella

This past Valentine’s Day reminded me of something real, something good, something lacking in my house: a candy jar.

After polishing off the last of the red and pink M&Ms from the Valentine’s candy jar on Feb. 14, I realized that, in the 15 years of owning a home with my wife, we’ve never had a year-round candy jar.

“We have a glass pumpkin jar for candy corn at Halloween,” I told my wife. “We have a Christmas tree candy jar for spice drops during the Christmas season. We even have a candy jar for holidays like Jelly Bean Day, Fudge Day, Gummi Worm Day, Caramel Day, Candy Day and other important days. But what about the rest of the year?”

“We don’t need any more candy in this house,” my wife said.

Because she and our 13-yearold son got sick to their stomachs from eating too many Valentine’s M&Ms, now we all have to suffer?

“You were the one who ate the most M&Ms and got more sick than any of us,” she reminded me.

OK, but why throw out the candy jar with the M&Ms?

I thought the SweeTarts looked magnificent in the new daily candy receptacle I placed on the buffet in the living room. My son was thrilled. My wife was, too, so obviously she wasn’t happy.

“Don’t you realize what this means?” my wife said. “We’re gonna lose all cognitive ability to make decisions. What starts as temptation, quickly turns into sneaking, cheating and finally the heavy consumption and abuse of candy, which has no proteins, no vitamins, no minerals . . . Wait, you got SweeTarts? Why couldn’t you get something I like, too?”

“No one’s saying we have to eat the candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” I told my wife and kid. “It’s just a treat for every now and then.”

At the rate our little family of three was going through the candy, I had to admit it wasn’t a good thing.

“Who’s been eating all the candy?” I asked. “Because it hasn’t been me.”

“Well, it hasn’t been me either,” my wife said.

“I haven’t had any in three days,” my son said.

“Someone here is lying,” I fired back. “I may’ve had a couple pieces here and there, but that was a long, long time ago.”

We all knew the guilty party because the candy was showing its side effects: grumpiness, stomach pain, sluggishness . . . It was all of us.

My wife and I argued about what to do. I was so grumpy, my stomach hurt so much and I felt so fatigued that I didn’t feel like dealing with it anymore.

“So here’s what we’ll do,” I suggested to my wife. “We’re just gonna have to control it. One time I decided I’d have no soda for a month. And I did it. Another time, I decided I’d exercise every night before bed. And I did that, too, for several days. All we have to do is vow to have no more than one piece of candy a day. We just have to put our mind to it. We have to hold firm. We have to be strong. We can do it.”

The candy jar was empty by the next day.

Some say that the struggle with temptation can be looked upon as a gift—an opportunity for growth as a means to improve one’s life.

In the end, we improved our lives.

Let me explain: Did you know that houseplants, unlike loads of candy, are actually good for the human body? They clean the air, they help deter illness and they boost healing.

In the 15 years of owning a home with my wife, we’ve never had a houseplant. The little one we just got and placed on the buffet in the living room looks great.

It’s the candy jar doubling as a vase that really makes all the difference.

Email Michael Picarella at michael.picarella@gmail.com.

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