On Candy Canes and Existential Dread

I have a method for eating candy canes, and it’s not good but it’s mine and I’m keeping it.

Objectively, I understand the best, tidiest, most prolonged way to eat a candy cane is to start at the bottom of the shepherd’s crook–where the cane would strike the earth were it used for walking rocky hills searching for green bits and water. You cut the plastic there with scissors if you’re civilized or tear it with you’re teeth if you’re a savage and unwrap enough to suck slowly, twisting the cane in circles to create a spear. You test the point again and again until it’s a shiv, and then you stab whoever’s stupid enough to wander close even though they can see with their own eyeballs that you’re eating a candy cane. Then–and only then–you can crunch the tip between your teeth, unwrap a bit more, and begin the process anew. The tricky bit comes, as it does in life, with the change of direction. The turn. The bend.  Because the circular suck is impeded by your face. Here is where you’re allowed to veer from the Best Way and express your own creativity. Dealer’s choice.

I, however, as my Marine father can tell you, give no shits about the Best Way. I’m more of a Mess. An Immediate Gratification girl. An acolyte of the Half-Assed Is Good Enough philosophy. So when I eat a candy cane, I break its neck just at the part where the J meets the stick, splitting the plastic with the shards of sugar and spraying candy cane shrapnel everywhere. Then I crush the pieces with my teeth like it’s a piece of toast. If I’m being particularly ladylike, I eat the J and then the stick. I’m I’m not, I shove the whole thing in at once. It’s not pretty, friends. You should see me with a turkey leg.

Why am I telling you this? 

Because my jeans, my desk, and my chair are currently covered in candy cane fragments, and it’s distracting me from writing. But I’m trying to move back toward a more disciplined writing schedule for Mental Health and also Life Goal reasons, and sometimes when we write we get sheer garbage like this. It is what it is.

Truth is, I spent the morning writing, and it was good. I was able to throw a lot of words on the page about Existential Dread, the Beginning of the Pandemic, Deconstructing from Toxic Evangelicalism, My Athiest Kids About Whom I’m Zero Percent Worried Even Though I Was Raised to Fear Fiery Damnation, Why Quantum Physics Is Really Just Magic Mixed with Faith, and…Hallways. Mostly, it’s about the Hallways. It’s…obviously not finished even though I’ve been ruminating on these subjects for years. They’ve roamed around my head like foggy specters, coming into focus, fading out, disappearing and reappearing with their whims, but they’re still a little bit wild for now. Not quite ready to be totally tamed or trained to the page. I suppose you might say we’re still getting used to each other. I try to reach a hand out slowly, hoping the ideas don’t shy away. They try not to bite me out of fear. We’ll get there. We will. Eventually. And undoubtedly covered in candy cane slivers.





Don’t miss a post. Subscribe here

3 responses to “On Candy Canes and Existential Dread”

  1. Dear Beth, you don’t know me but you are one of my best friends, holding out a hand and a hug for the taking whenever I need it.
    And still I am sinking and the mud is pulling. Thank you for the candycane love and heart and your words amd ideas and real feelings.
    Waving from deep down and far away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.