New Stories

Argument Against Candy Corn

by Jason Rivenburg

Ali argues for candy corn—I imagine her in a made-for-TV legal drama in which she portrays a sleazy defense attorney, duped by the candy’s sweet demeanor, prompting her to overlook its sugary and seasonal destruction of healthy teeth everywhere.

I imagine I’m the prosecution and candy corn is on the stand: “If you’re such a good thing, and you’re not doing anything wrong, then why do you hide during Winter, Spring, and Summer?”

Candy corn reminds me of a Ford Pinto and the outdated décor of someone’s Brady Bunch-like house—maybe the 1970’s left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s earthy, but gaudy colors aside, the candy leaves a bad taste in my mouth, literally—my saliva turns a handful into gritty globs of sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3.

In Ali’s defense, she wasn’t alive in the 1970’s or the 1980’s, and wasn’t tortured by my mom, a nurse who crammed healthy habits down my throat. In grade school, when other kids devoured their trick-or-treat candy, I watched with envy. I salivated when they washed it down with chocolate milk. I ate my peanuts and drank my skim milk with disdain.

When I went to Little League or AYSO, when my friends had bags of chips and candy bars for after-school snacks, my mom tossed me a couple of apples, “It’s better for you and will make you a better player.” She was right, of course, because every time I left my house, I threw the apples in anger—I missed the tree, at first, but soon hit the same spot of rotting pulp, over and over.

The Fall is bittersweet for me. The weather is amazing—I love the morning chill on my face, especially when I sip hot coffee. I love baseball and the World Series, especially when the Yankees are in the playoffs. I love the colors in the trees and I love the crunch of fallen leaves. Who knew death could be so beautiful?

Candy corn is what’s bitter, so I’ll be asking for the death penalty in my case against it. It’s the ugliest candy in history and has taunted me for 40 years. The Fall is flashbacks: it’s scattered across my classmate’s desks and eaten by the handfuls before soccer practices. I watched candy corn create smiles on everyone but me.

The joke is on them because candy corn creates cavities, too. Those 40-somethings are now losing their teeth, while my enamel is trick-or-treat proof. For this reason, it’s my social obligation to make candy corn disappear, like the Ford Pinto.

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