TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2004 | Vol. III - No. 6


The World on a String

Ah, the diversity of the candy necklace—part snack, part plaything. Its multifaceted qualities make it as popular with kids as peanut butter (also known to youngsters as a quick-drying spackling compound or hair gel for unsuspecting younger siblings).

Recently, while considering the seemingly perennial allure of the candy necklace, I began to wonder if there wasn´t something more to them than meets the eye. Is there some indefinable quality that extends beyond the novelty of portable food made up of dozens of nectar-sweet, donut-shaped beads threaded through a stretchy white string? After careful consideration, I believe there is.

It´s a phenomenon I refer to as the “Punishment Prevention Polka.”

Quite simply, candy necklaces allow kids to dance around every centuries´ old culinary commandment discharged by a parent since Moses and his brethren discovered their progeny eating manna with their fingers (and wiping their mouths on their clean t-shirts afterwards, too).

Parent: "Quit playing with your food."

Child: C´mon Mom. It´s candy. It´s a necklace. It´s two forms of amusement in one. There isn´t a kid out there who wouldn´t whip it around their neck like a ring toss game at the county fair.

Parent: "Take that thing out of your mouth, you don´t know where it´s been."

Child: Actually, I DO know where it´s been--around my neck. Can´t you tell from the sticky black ring of dirt that orbits my throat, which was brought about by the necklace´s spit-drenched string?

Parent: "Remove that from your mouth before you choke on it."

Child: Well, where else would I put it? Besides, it could not possibly pose a choking hazard, since it´s attached to my body by this incredibly durable length of thin stretchy elastic string.

Parent: "You can´t eat that until you´ve washed your hands."

Child: Actually, I can. All it takes is a certain adeptness of neck and chin muscles, a little jaw stretch and the ingenuity to reach down with my tongue and lower lip and jack the thing directly into my mouth without once having to touch it.

Parent: "Chew with your mouth shut"

Child: Out of the question. In fact, it doesn´t matter what the food, it is simply not possible to chew quietly and politely until I am at least 14 years of age. You really do ask too much.

Call me crazy, but I swear that´s part of the appeal. At least it was when I was a kid.

Kris DeckerWriter's Bio: She endures eternal Minnesota winters by writing freelance articles, essays and features. Her two kids (a rich source of poignant, humorous, and most happily, free material) are the inspiration for much of her work focusing on the topics of kids, parenting, families, individuality and creativity. Read more articles by this author


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