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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cotton Candy Conspiracies

Cotton Candy Conspiracies

            As a young boy I remember the excitement of going to my first carnival at the county fair.  All the whirling rides, flashing lights, people laughing and screaming, clowns walking around on stilts and food booths, were enough to give a young kid like me sensory overload.

            Of course, being just a young kid, my resources were very finite and limited.  I had already blown a few precious nickels and dimes trying to defy the laws of physics unsuccessfully tossing bouncing plastic rings around some too-large bottle tops in attempt to win some stupid stuffed animal.  I don’t even know why I thought a stuffed animal was that important to win anyways, as I probably would have only used for target practice with my BB gun at home. With my meager funds dwindling, I decided to use the last of my change on something that I knew would guarantee me some satisfaction… FOOD!

            The big question was what to get with the lonely, metallic coins jingling in my pocket?  The corn dogs looked good, but one didn’t look like it would even come close to filling me up.  The popcorn smelled fantastic, but when I saw another kid trip and dump his bucket of kernels into a pile of horse manure, I sort of lost my appetite for it (No offense, Mr. Orville Redenbacher – may you rest in peace).  And then my eyes caught site of a wondrous concoction which appeared too fantastically good to be true… Cotton Candy!

            It was like magic!  The guy behind the small table somehow waved this long paper cone around inside of this whirling drum, and bright colored candy began to grow out of nowhere in a giant, cloud-like apparition of heavenly, sugary goodness!

            To my childlike eyes, still looking up at the larger than life world around me, the mass of blue fluffiness on the end of the stick looked enormous, even to the point I wasn’t sure if that flimsy little paper stick would hold it up.  But when I emptied my pocket in exchange for the overwhelming treat, which was bigger than my head, I was surprised by how light it was in my hands.  In childish wonder, I thought, “How in the world could I possibly eat it all?”

            Gaping my mouth wide, I took an enormous, bite out of the side, but in some cruel trick, the sugary sweetness magically evaporated inside my mouth before I could begin to chew it!  “What happened?”  “Did I close my eyes and miss when taking my bite?”  But there was the divot on the side of its glorious puffiness as testimony that my aim had been true.  Bewildered, I tried again… and again.

            The result was the sadly the same every time!  It was disappointingly like eating sugar-air.  Nothing of substance to savor and gone in a flash, it soon left behind only blue stained hands holding a wilting paper stick and a sticky face and lips that seemed to attract every animal hair from the nearby petting zoo like a magnet. Oh, and a blue stained tongue for the next 3 days, which wouldn’t come clean no matter how many times I scrubbed it with my toothbrush.

            What trickery!  What deception!  How could have something that looked so enticing and appealing be so hollow and non-substantive?  As crazy as it might sound, my disappointing encounter with cotton candy and that rigged carnival booth resulted in me losing a part of my childhood innocence that day.  I became aware that the world of wonder around me, with its enticements of sweet, immediate satisfactions could be deceptive and leave me in a rather sticky mess.

            In a way, I guess I should be grateful for my unsatisfying encounter, because it taught me an important lesson about life.  So often in our search for satisfaction and gratification of our appetites and desires, we try to find it in things that are hollow, fleeting, unhealthy, and can leave our lives in a mess which doesn’t easily come clean.

            In a world of fast food and at your fingertips technology, with a seeming array of beckoning carnival-like attractions, which promise rewards and satisfaction for minimal effort on our part, it is easy to get distracted and spend our precious time and means on things which, if we are not careful, can leave us emotionally broke, with spiritually empty pockets.  The fluffy enticements of the world provide no substance for personal growth or lasting happiness.  Its attractions and “too good to be true” promises are just that, too good to be true.

            So no matter how much we might crave to consume our time with nothing but the quick fix, easily accessible, vanishing substance the world has to offer, we would all be better served to follow the wise advice of our parents to “eat your vegetables”, “be wise in what you spend your money on” and so forth.  If you find your life empty… consider what you are consuming with your time and effort.  It may very well be that you are partaking of things which are like the disappointing, hollow and vanishing cotton candies of the world.

            I have found in life that true fulfillment, happiness and satisfaction come from the things of real substance: QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY, PRAYER, STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES, INTROSPECTIVE PONDERING, MEANINGFUL SERVICE TO OTHERS, and so forth.  These are the true, substantive meat and potatoes of the world in which we live, and what we should be consistently consuming in order to have a healthy and happy life!