Sunday, February 13, 2022

Don't try to encourage me -- just give me the candy.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day -- that day when retailers' seasonal aisles are awash in only-okay chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, and florists beg you to send someone a bouquet. (Talk about inflation: Have you ever priced a dozen roses during Valentine's season?)

Not everybody's a fan of the holiday. I'm not. And this year, the people who make Sweethearts candy -- you know, those little conversation hearts that taste kind of like chalk -- are trying hard to include people like me. Or so they think.

The original candies say stuff like TRUE LOVE and BE MINE. A few years ago, the manufacturer tried to be more appealing to the kids by adding sayings like TEXT ME. You'd think nothing would be more pathetic than a stodgy old candymaker trying to catch the zeitgeist of the youth market, wouldn't you? 

You might think so, but you would be wrong. You would be oh so very wrong.

This year, according to the Washington Post, Spangler Candy has decided to add another bunch of sayings. They're calling them "words of encouragement": things like DON'T QUIT and GO 4 IT and CRUSH IT. (There's a short video here that shows the new messages.)

I think I speak for the vast majority of Americans when I say: Spangler, could you not?

Christine Emba, who wrote the WaPo op-ed piece I linked to above, calls this toxic positivity. I think she nailed it. Here we are, on the cusp of year three of a global pandemic. We've been working from home or risking our lives at an in-person job or being laid off, coping with kids' fluctuating school schedules, and simultaneously fielding endless arguments over whether the vaccines are safe and effective (THEY ARE) or whether masks work (THEY DO). We're tiredI'm tired, and I'm retired*. And you want me to CRUSH IT?

A couple of weeks ago, as I sat in meditation, I heard someone ask me, "What do you want to do this year?" But in my mind's eye, I saw a big tree beside a meandering creek, and all I wanted to do was sit under that tree, close my eyes, and not move for a while. I might get bored pretty fast, I thought, but I'll take that chance.

The Sweethearts manufacturer says the idea is to give these new hearts to the "difference-makers" in our lives -- the people who have helped us become the best that we can be. Great idea! I'll get right on that. But first, that tree beside the creek is beckoning.


About that asterisk next to "retired": The New Mexico state legislature has begun the final week of this year's regular session, and I'll be working up until the end. We're at the point when things get really crazy; for example, the House of Representatives' Friday night session ended at six o'clock Saturday morning. I'm on day shift so I didn't have to pull an all-nighter, but day shift's hours did get extended this weekend so the night shift could get some sleep. 

I'm really looking forward to the hard stop at noon on Thursday.

Gee, maybe that's why napping under that tree seems so appealing right now...


These moments of encouraging blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Here's my Valentine's Day message to you: GET VAXXED!


Unknown said...

As dumb as I think these candies are --the equivalent of have a nice day when I was super nervous about venturing out pre vaccines--I can just laugh them off as a cultural gambit in trying times. Been working on my taxes and my income is still less than a 1/4 of what it was 3 years ago: that can get talking!

Lynne Cantwell said...

I've barely started on my taxes. They might be a nightmare - it's the first time I've ever had significant income as a contractor. Plus regular work and retitement income and the new condo, oh my! So that's something to look forward to, once the legislative session is over (not!).