Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You might want to sing it note for note

On a Halloween night over a decade ago, my friends and I dressed up as hippies, bearing peace-sign bedecked pillowcases to hold our loot. In between houses, one of the girls mentioned that her mom always inspected her candy to check that nothing was poisoned. One time, she warned in an ominous voice, a kid had bit into a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup only to see it was green inside. His stomach was pumped, and he barely lived through it.

After I arrived home, I dumped all my candy on the ground and looked up at my mother expectantly. I was pretty frustrated that for years, she’d allowed me to eat un-vetted candy when Death By Reese’s Cup could have been imminent.

Sheila isn’t one to trash talk parent strategies, but I could tell she thought inspecting Halloween candy was a huge waste of time. She agreed to check that none of the candy had been opened and then went into one of her favorite parenting lectures.

“Here’s the thing – it’s really unlikely that your candy is poisoned. The reason episodes like that make the news, is because they are rare. Plus, if you live in fear of everything you see on the news, you’re not really living at all. Are you?”

This logic had already been successfully presented to me several times. That year, I had expressed concern about being kidnapped, my school being bombed, and my little brother being born with a birth defect because of my mom’s advanced age during pregnancy. (Pro tip: Don’t let your worrywart fourth grader get her hands on Reader’s Digest. It will not end well.) So, I was happy to accept that the poisoned candy was simply another *Rare Newsworthy Event* that I could quickly move past.

And thank God, because throwing away a perfectly good Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup would have been a traumatic experience in its own right.

I’ve always loved that my mom thinks worrying is a waste of time. I wish that her lack of worry was among the five million traits we share. Alas, in this trait, behavioral genetics is a lot like economics: it doesn’t trickle down.

And with that casual Republican zing, I’m back. I sure have missed my little corner of the internet.

Happy Halloween, amigos! 


LH said...

So happy to see you back in blog action.

I worry incessantly and then I hate myself for worrying.

Your mom sounds awesome.