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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Today In My Easter Basket ...

Easter ... a Christian mainstay event ... a day when Christ arose from the tomb and a day when many of us make our one of two appearances at church each year. Easter has Pagan origins as a festival or fertility and renewal. Easter, like every holiday, means different things to different people. But in middle America, the celebration of the Easter season couldn't happen without the helping sugary hand of candy.

Unlike Halloween where we have to wear idiotic costumes and beg for treats, Easter is just a bonanza of sweets displayed in a variety of baskets, pails, bins, and other containers ... even Tupperware.

This season I made a concerted effort to assemble affordable but fun Easter "loot" for members of my immediate family. Kit Kats for nephew ... check. Candy necklaces for neighbor girls ... check. Big League Chew gum for my uncle ... check. Solid chocolate bunnies for several people ... nowhere to be bloody found!!

Oh, sturdy and solid chocolate hoppity-hops are out there ... if you mean 5 lb. hares of heinous proportions, or big-name candy shop cottontails that require a second mortgage (okay, let's be real, third). I found three-foot tall hollow "goliath" bunnies dressed in their holiday finery, peanut butter bunnies with their sickly orange "spray-on tan," dark chocolate rabbits so riddled with cocoa they make my cheeks hurt, "crispy" creatures with ricy skin conditions, and white rabbits looking embarrassed that the word "chocolate" was even associated with them. I even found these mutant vegetables-with-faces made out of chocolate ... they watched me as I passed them in the aisle, assessing my ability to stop them if they tried anything with me or the other shoppers.

I wasn't looking for more choices than my freshman year college course catalog. I wanted tradition. I wanted that teasing peek-a-boo box that lets you see a bit of naked chocolate rabbit flesh. I wanted that sexy brown color and not-too-sweet chocolate aroma. I wanted that strange chemical formula/periodic chart composition that creates a confection that, if the rabbit had a wick in its head, could pass for a chocolate candle. I wanted to see the word SOLID proudly displayed on the package, giving me instant Easter confidence that all was well and the economy would bounce back and my cat would be more careful in and around the litterbox, saving me valuable clean-up time.

Now, in my neck of the woods, we have superstores we'll call W, K, and T. I bet you have them too ... they're literally around every corner. And grocery store chains - places like Different-K, M, or your area's version - also stock a boat-load of confections from which to choose. With such a selection, why did everything seem so figuratively and literally hollow?

Feeling somewhat defeated, I was making a few last-minute "basket" selections - Post-Its, playing cards, super-bounce balls, and corn cob skewers - when there, on an endcap with baby wipes, I found Nirvana and it's name was Russell Stover.

Thank you, Russell Stover. Bless you and yours, Russell Stover. Are you a real person, Russell Stover? If I had a kid and named him Russell Stover, would he hate me for it?

POINT OF RANT: Never give up ... stick to your guns ... anything worth having takes work. But, more importantly, this cautionary tale of my hunt for Leporidea Cocoa is a warning of to all Americans of impending doom. Why the hell are Skittles and SweetTarts even kept near the chocolate during prime pre-Easter shopping? I believe that forced breeding programs and government gene splicing experiments involving these tangy targets and my beloved solid chocolate bunnies have created the ultimate soldier ... the chocolate vegetables-with-faces I mentioned earlier. They appear innocent, all smiles and fetching colors. But they have been built for guile, trained for espionage, and taught the 653 ways to kill. And with the genetic make-up of rabbits, they will breed fast (like rabbits) and they will breed often (a litter as big as 13 every 32 days). Stay watchful!

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