Army-Surplus Smarties®

Since I’ve been getting *ahem* older, I’ve been trying to avoid stereotypical ‘Oldster’ thought-patterns. It’s been an uphill battle, but I’m still holding my own.

(Digression: The expression ‘holding my own’ always makes me snicker. Holding my own what, exactly?)

(Wait, isn’t rambling a sign of Oldster Brain? Uh-oh.)

Anyhow, despite my best efforts, I caught myself in Oldster Mode last week when this phrase popped out of my mouth: “These were so much better in the good old days!”

My trigger? Smarties®.

I’ve loved Smarties® for decades. Who wouldn’t love tiny chocolate discs coated with bright shiny candy? They’re perfect whether you gobble the whole boxful in a glorious pig-out, or savour just a few for a calorie-conscious mini-treat. And they make great poker chips: Colour -coded and delicious!

I try not to eat candy too often, but the other day I saw Smarties® on sale and a warm wave of nostalgia rolled over me. I paid and hustled them home, looking forward to the cheery click-click-click of tiny candies hitting the bowl in a cascade of bright happy colours.

Instead, I got this:

Where are my bright happy colours? What’s this sad faded red; this wishy-washy brown; and worst of all, khaki green?!? Yes, the candy shell tastes the same regardless of its colour; but Army-Surplus-Green candy is just wrong.

After the initial shock wore off, my logic-seeking brain still wouldn’t let go of the question: Seriously, why would they choose such a dismal colour? The main marketing point for any edible product is its eye-appeal: The promise, via appearance alone, that eating it will be a delicious, nay, sensuous experience. Near-orgasmic, even; according to some of the TV ads I’ve seen.

But these olive-drab Smarties® look like lima beans. Any kid will tell you that nothing says ‘grim, sad, and yucky’ like lima beans. Most adults don’t associate anything good with lima-bean-green, either. Definitely not orgasms. (And if I’m wrong about that, please don’t enlighten me.)

So was this a dye malfunction that slipped through quality control? A vulgar joke? Malicious sabotage? Or is there actually somebody, somewhere in the Smarties® factory, who eyed those lima bean lookalikes and thought ‘Yum’?

I can’t figure it out. But I couldn’t bear to see that repulsive colour in the bowl of treats I intended to offer my dinner guests, so I picked out all the green ones and ate them. It was a terrible sacrifice, but my guests’ comfort and happiness comes first. (Yes, the green ones were just as yummy as the others; but don’t tell. I’m bucking for ‘noble martyr’ here.)

But I still want to know: Why?

Book 18 update: Wrote two chapters. Deleted two chapters. Rewrote two chapters… hmmm. Can anybody spot an unproductive pattern here? But at least I’ve figured out what went wrong with the story and I’ve fixed the problem, so it should be clear(er) sailing now!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who’s noticed my reduced blogging frequency and checked to see if I’m okay. Your concern and well wishes mean a lot to me! I’m still struggling with this *&#$! back injury, so I’ve reduced my blog posts to once a month to salvage more ‘actual book-writing’ time. I’m waiting to see a couple more specialists, so I’m still clinging to hope! 🙂