This essay was written on: Northeast Regional #175 | New York to Philadelphia | 11.1.18 | 7:40 pm
I remember pressing my thumb into the bottom of Russell Stover chocolates searching for caramel centers. I’m a bit ashamed about it since this is how I spent my 30th birthday. The point is that chocolate covered caramels are the only ones I’m interested in. I have no time for flavorless nougat or God forbid the syrupy cherry filled sweets. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I rediscovered Rolos.
Hot damn, Rolos are something special.
If you don’t know, Rolos are small, round chocolates filled with caramel. They look like little flower pots and typically come in a brown and golden spherical sleeve so you know what you’re getting into.
I’ve always liked it when wrappers provide a clue of what’s inside. It’s the side of me that appreciates good advertising. Doritos are in a red and orange bag letting you know they are nacho cheese flavored unless they’re Cool Ranch Doritos and then the bag is blue and white. The blue being cool and the white being the ranch. The Whatchamacallit, one of my all time favorite candy bars, features lettering in different shades of brown telling you that it is definitely chocolate, but after that, it’s anybody’s guess. Whatchamacallit dontgiveashit and I like that about it. They missed out on the miniature candy bar game in my opinion. Maybe they still can jump in? Hard pretzels typically come in a bag with a window so you can see how bored you ’ll be if you buy them. That’s nice of them. I don’t have anything personal against pretzels, but I only get them when I can’t decide on anything else. I branched out once and got Honey Mustard flavored pretzel nuggets. For my bravery, I was rewarded with instant halitosis.
On Halloween night I was sitting out front of my house under the porch light with friends. My seven-year-old daughter, a ferocious tiger, brought her trick or treat bag to me. Truth be told, I summoned her. “Let me inspect this for you. Don’t want you to eat any bad candy,” I said with a wink. I pulled out a miniature round piece of candy dressed in a tinfoil wrapper. I opened it and popped it into my mouth. I thought it was going to be a Reese peanut butter cup—the gold standard of Halloween candy— but I was wrong. It was a Rolo. My eyes bulged, I licked my lips. I grabbed the bag from my daughter like a purse thief and scoured it for more Rolos. A few minutes later I was sitting down with a small mound of crumpled gold tinfoil on my crotch.
Halloween is such a wonderful free pass to inhale candy without fear of diabetes. My body knows not to register the intake and therefore there are no repercussions. I know I’m not the only one who uses Halloween as an excuse to gorge myself. We all eat an abundance of fun-sized candy bars on 10/31. The next day we push them away saying things like, “Please get these out of here. Take them to your office or throw them into a ravine. I don’t care what you do with them but I can’t be around any more candy.” We turn into addicts who can’t help ourselves. Sugar is a powerful drug.
The people at Rolo knew that children around the world were sticking their thumbs into assorted chocolates searching for the caramel centers. I bet someone working at Stover came up with the idea for Rolos. “What if we just did an entire box of caramel filled chocolates? And instead of a box, will put them in a handy sleeve that fits in your pocket.” “Genius!” yelled pretty much everyone around. Then old, stodgy CEO Russell Stover himself squashed the idea. “We can’t do that,” he grumbled while chomping a chocolate cigar, “what about the chemically enhanced cherry filled chocolates?! I love those!” So the genius left and took his brainchild to Hershey and the rest, as they say, is history.
I spent a few minutes in the morning after Halloween sifting through my daughter’s candy bag. I was looking for the elusive Rolo. Maybe I missed one last night, I thought. There were none left. Instead I found an almond joy. I held it in my hand for a moment staring down at the package. I threw it back into the bag.