Okay, show of hands. Who likes Starbursts? The chewy fruit candies, not the distant supernovas.
Uh huh. I thought so. But it might come as a surprise to you that you've been eating them all wrong. I'll bet you thought the way to eat a Starburst was to unwrap it, pop it in your mouth, and commence to chomping. That's the way I do it. Easy as pie. You don't need an instruction manual like the one enclosed in the Jelly Belly 50 Flavor Gift Box. No moving parts to figure out, like the Lik M Aid Fun Dip, or Pez dispensers. Note-to-self: don't put a Tweety Bird Pez dispenser on your knee during a piano recital to make your old girlfriend laugh, because your mutual friend, who looks like Humpty Dumpty with a melon head, with get dumped by his girlfriend the pianist.
I don't mean to brag, but I consider myself an accomplished Starburst-eater. Not a competitive Starburst-eater. That would cost me too much in broken teeth and displaced fillings. But I know my way around the red, pink, orange, and yellow. We have a giant bag in the bottom drawer of my classroom file cabinet, the personal snack drawer for my boys. I have been known to snag a couple on my plan time, or after school.
I have been fighting a cold all week. Yesterday after the final bell, I was attempting to swallow a strawberry Starburst. My throat had other ideas. I yanked open my left top desk drawer and grabbed a bottle of water. That desk is like a large wooden Swiss Army Knife. Like Linus's blanket. It has a million uses. Like a wet bar for when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's thirst needs quenchin'. Or when her thyroid-bereft throat has trouble swallowing a chewy fruit candy. They flatten out, you know, those Starbursts. Like rolled-out pie dough. Only more tart. This one had wrapped itself around my uvula, and was swinging wildly like a wild swinger on a chandelier. I washed it down forthwith. And called across the room to The Pony, who was gaming on his laptop, waiting for me to finish up, "Don't you hate it when a Starburst gets stuck in your throat when you swallow it?"
The Pony looked at me like I had grown an extra, talking head on a snaky stalk in a cars.com commercial. "You don't SWALLOW them!"
Well. Butter my butt and call me a biscuit. How did he figure? I've never noticed him snorting Starbursts. Nor mainlining them. Nor rubbing them on his skin. And I refuse to entertain the thought of him inserting them into his nether regions. So how was The Pony deriving sweet, sweet sustenance from his Starbursts?
"What do you mean, you don't swallow them? How else are you going to eat them?"
The Pony sighed. "You just leave them in your mouth until they dissolve."
That boy has always marched to the beat of his own drummer. A foreign drummer perhaps, unschooled in the ways of the Starburst.