The other night, I was sitting on the back deck, pecking away diligently on a column, when I heard my wife inside announce, “If I see another candy wrapper in my house, you’re never eating candy in here again!”
Yes, we may be well removed from Halloween, but there are still stashes of candy stockpiled around the house. Someone other than my kids has been getting into these stashes and leaving candy wrappers in various places around the house. I say it is someone other than them as they both vehemently deny any such activities, and often go so far as to suggest they may not, in fact, even know what candy is.
Needless to say, their defense is never well received, certainly not with Judge Mom.
When I heard my wife announce this, I did the most sensible thing I could: I stayed out back and just hoped it would all blow over.
See, my wife and I are polar opposites when it comes to bringing down the hammer of justice. I am proactive, or as my wife likes to call it, “Ridiculously reactionary about something that hasn’t even happened. Geez, chill out.”
Case in point, on the candy wrapper issue – we could, say, be at the store, checking out. My kids could cut glances over at the candy in the check-out aisle, which would lead me to launch into a lengthy discussion about when we do purchase candy we often later find wrappers stashed under a couch, in a drawer, behind the TV, etc., and how if we buy it this time there will be NO wrappers placed anywhere but the trash can or they will both be grounded until we once again land on the moon and while we’re at it, when you get home from school put your school clothes IN THE HAMPER, NOT ON THE FLOOR! (Fellow shoppers, I feel confident, are appreciative of these narratives.)
My wife, on the other hand, is a slow burn. A long, slow burn. It takes a lot to get her fired up. You can pretty much bank on the fact that once she has gotten to the point of making something like a wrapper proclamation, she has pulled one-too many Dum-Dum wrappers out of the couch cushion.
I’m not sure what it is about kids and their inability to put things in a trash can. I’m sure some kids are quite diligent about dutifully placing all refuse in its appropriate receptacles. I call those children “not mine.”
It’s really quite odd. My children are, for the most part, civilized creatures. I mean, I could not imagine going for a fried chicken dinner and either of them polishing off a chicken leg and just whipping the bone on the floor. But attach the trash to candy? Jettison City.
(Oh, and on a side note – should our enemies ever weaponize Capri Sun straw wrappers, I am hiding in my trash can. Apparently, it has a Capri Sun straw wrapper force field, as no wrapper has ever been able to make it inside of it.)
So back to the candy wrappers. I held out as long as I could before deciding I should ease back into the house and make sure wrappers were being appropriately disposed of. The kids sense when Mom means it, and the house was nicely quiet, the only sounds those of children placing candy wrappers into a trash can, and the buzzing sound that emanates from my wife’s eyes when she stares holes in the kids. It’s not often, but wow is it effective and entertaining, both at the same time.
I have a feeling this will not be the last candy wrapper incident. They will work at it, and have a fairly good run, but then Christmas will hit and here we go again. The only difference – all the hidden wrappers will be green and red. Personally, I think the best approach would be, prior to accessing any stocking goodies, a nice, lengthy lecture on proper wrapper disposal. And what to do with school clothes. I think my wife may be warming to that idea.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.