Monday, October 29, 2007


Indeed it is spooky. Are you fed up with all this Halloween craziness? I mean, even without waxing on about the religious, historical or anthropological nature of the pagan day, CP prefers to look at it as one of those holidays if not invented, at least blown up by Hallmark, Mars Candy and Anheuser Busch. It's an excuse for kids to consume unhealthy candy to excess and increasingly for so-called adults to unhealthily imbibe to excess. Along with Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day, it's real origins shrouded in mystery and completely lost to most of the partygoers, we in our great American way, have managed to make it about mass consumption, mass entertainment and mass commercialism. There are even Halloween stores for $@%^@ sakes--two of them at least in Annapolis are open right now!!! The real culprits are not just the crazy neighbors who may slip the rumored razor into an apple (shades of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty perhaps) but of the candy, booze and Madison Avenue types who have turned this whole thing into something truly scary. And don't even get me started on the apparent inability of children or their parents to figure out how to make a costume, and who see their child's costume as some kind of vicarious status symbol or repressed childhood fear (hint-- "don't even get me started" means "get me started please").

But may I turn my attention to the real toothy issue? Yes candy is bad. Yes we like candy and so do our children. Yes we all have to brush and see our dentist. Yes we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes and who knows what other diet induced maladies, but let's make this clear--a little bit of candy once in a while is not so bad! BUT, a lot of candy is bad.

So, what have more and more dentists and orthodontists done over the years? They have set up various types of candy "buyback programs." On the "face" of it, they sound like great things, so here goes, at the risk of getting kicked in the teeth, CP would like to again register his disdain he did so in a letter to The Capital years ago) for these programs.

One local orthodontist, Dr. Mairead O'Reilly has done this for years. She has a huge and expensive ad in The Capital promoting her buyback program, which she calls a "monstrous success." CP calls it "monstrous excess." Through this, the good doctor has donated money to local charities and to an organization called The Smile Train which provides corrective surgery for children born with cleft palates. All very well and good--excellent in fact, yet something does not sit right.

The way this apparently works is that kids bring in candy, and get a dollar per pound and a dollar per pound goes to charity. And get this, the candy goes to a local food bank. Food bank?? But it's not food (some dentists send the candy to Iraq for our troops because we all know none of us are making any sacrifice...sacrifice? saccharin?? And we all know how health care is for them at Walter Reed! This requires yet more commentary, but...)

Okay, so where does CP start to digest all the problems he has with this whole thing? I may run out of band width describing it, as there are so many reasons why I think this is utterly improper and misguided, but let me chew on just a few of the many reasons. The kids do nothing! They have fun getting candy and bring it in. They get it for free. Homeowners buy the candy, give it to the kids who give it to the doctor who gives them a dollar. What do the kids do with the money they just got from collecting things for free and selling them? What kind of a lesson is that? Think of all the more positive ways this whole thing could work. Kids go out and perhaps have even more reasons to collect yet more candy and they still keep and eat lots of candy. They collect their favorites, and probably make it all into a big game about who collected more etc., etc. They also will try to collect more to get more money and still have enough to rot their teeth. They learn little if nothing about proper health or dentistry. They are not encouraged to get ride of candy and eat real food. Plenty of the kids coming in to the doctor's office will still be FAT and lead LAZY lives. And finally, although truth be told, I've barely begun, THE VERY IDEA OF SENDING THE UNWANTED CANDY (yes because the kids will choose their least favorite brands) TO A LOCAL FOOD BANK MEANS WHAT? It means that instead of local children learning about inequality and poverty here, or about hunger and poor health here, they let the good doctor deal with that "sticky" issue and people living here with real health and nutrition deficiencies get the "giveaway" candy. LET THEM EAT CANDY, I say!!! Giving candy to a food bank??? Oh yeah, and how will those families get proper dental care? Will Dr. O'Reilly provide them with dental care after they've chewed all the Mary Janes and fudgey cremes?

Really--what kind of mixed up messages are we sending? That you can get something for nothing? Candy is bad for you, so go get as much as you want and we'll give it to kids and their families who are much less fortunate than you and it's okay for them to eat? Where does this end?? Okay, I'm ready to get kicked in the teeth now. Witches and ghosts may come after me, but I implore you to kindly smile before you scream at me. I'm going to get some tofu.


blogger templates | Make Money Online