Fewer than Two Calories

Hannah - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that every child needs a box of Tic Tacs. Tic Tacs are existence. Tic Tacs are the essence of humanity. They are the lessons of life for under two calories. Everything you need to know, you can learn from Tic Tacs. Pride, charity, power, humility, friendship, everything. Life is found in a box of Tic Tacs.

Tic Tacs are the most valuable asset of a child. They come few and far between, stocking stuffers, a jewel in an Easter basket, or a moment of weakness in a parent. Any way the box was bestowed, Tic Tacs are an instant bragging right. He or she will bring the gift to school, perhaps revealing them during a lesson, purposely shaking the box so the bounty will echo in a way only Tic Tacs can, flash the flip-top lid, and carefully place two on the tongue after assuring that all jealous eyes are watching.

The fun only lasts in the safe-haven of the classroom. On the playground, Tic Tacs turn on the ill-fated child. Classmates surround, demanding a Tic Tac, or, God forbid, demanding two. The child stubbornly refuses, keeping the treasure safe with wary seclusion, for the only way to ensure Tic Tac safety is removing the child from the playground completely. Of course, there is only so long a child can be sequestered before going quite mad. The knocking of Tic Tacs, once a comfort, becomes the old man’s heart, beating menacingly under the plastic floorboard. Finally, before the Jacob Marley of Tic Tacs appears, the child emerges, a new person, willing to share with any and all.

The greedy hands reach, palms up, waiting for the prize. Tics Tacs are distributed. The box is snatched. A passing fifth grader taking advantage of the younger child’s fear takes two of the mints and starts a pattern. Before long, the box is empty, like the child’s now forgotten dreams of Tic Tac glory. The crowd disperses, a few “Thank you”s are muttered and the charitable youngster is no longer the object of public admiration.

I have seen a fair few felled by Tic Tacs during the unforgiving recesses of my youth. More often than not, my hand was among the gluttonous masses, desperately clamoring for a single oblong gem, until the day of my own fall from grace. Only after Virgil led me through the nine circles of Tic Tac Hell did I truly understand the significance of the confection. The enlightenment that followed the ordeal was worth a lifetime of orange mints.

True friendship is found. Friends refuse to take part in the Tic Tac frenzy. Friends refuse Tic Tacs when the level is low. Friends are there, even when the Tic Tacs are gone. Happiness is achieved even if there the only thing left is a clear box with a flip-top lid. The questions of life are answered. What is pain? What is redemption?

This I believe: Tic Tacs have the answer.