Every Easter I manage at least one complaint about how I can no longer buy the jellybeans of my youth. Everyone's busy making little gourmet jellyballs that taste like popcorn or peanut butter or puke, but the basic Brach's assortment--eight no-nonsense flavors, beans as big as your thumb--is never anywhere to be found.
Determined to put this annual rant to rest, my wife shopped around and came home with a bag of "Brach's Classic Jelly Bird Eggs." And oh, the joy. Everything tasted exactly as I remembered. The citruses were bold and unmistakable. The cherry and grape were gloriously artificial, like children's medicine. The white and pink flavors were still marvelous and inscrutable. And the blacks. Dear god, I could live on black licorice jellybeans. I used to pile them in my mouth and chew with ecstasy until rivers ran down my chin and my teeth turned as gray as a flannel scarf. And so I did again, ripping through the bag in about 20 minutes and savoring that waxy buildup on my teeth long after the goo-orgy was over.
Fast-forward to today, Greek Orthodox Easter, when the church across the street has finally stopped with the all-night chanting. This is a good thing, because Easter brings all the C-and-E Christians out of the woodwork, and the church is too small to hold them all. So every syllable is blasted out into the street on a P/A system, and dozens of the marginally devout stand on the sidewalk and listen. I'm sure it's a lovely and moving ceremony for the faithful, but to the neighbors it sounds a lot like the atonal groaning during the sex-cult scene in EYES WIDE SHUT.
Orthodox Easter also means that un-Orthodox candy is priced to move. I stopped into a big-chain drugstore and there it was--the forlorn discount rack that had been mostly picked clean, except for a pile of pink bags. (This is one good thing about being older than the key consumer demographic; the stuff you like is no longer popular and thus dirt cheap, making possible the absolute scandal of finding XTC albums in the discount bin.)
So I grabbed two bags and headed to the counter, expecting to pay a couple bucks apiece. But when she scanned the bounteous bean booty the price came up as 62 cents. For a 19.5-ounce bag of pure gold. This was an atrocious market imbalance I'd be crazy not to exploit, so I begged a moment and headed back to the shelf. I rummaged around for five more bags, and then found the holy. fucking. grail: a bag of All Blacks.
I bought seven pounds of jellybeans for $4. I feel like I got in on Google's IPO.
On Thursday I have a dental appointment to repair a broken filling. Unless my wife can hide my bean stash, my dentist will probably have to cancel the rest of the day's appointments.