Mike Zielinski

Mike Zielinski

When I was a kid, Halloween and Easter were my two favorite holidays. In my mind’s eye, they both were better than Christmas.

Now don’t get me wrong. My parents weren’t Scrooges. I did get lots of cool stuff for Christmas like my Davy Crockett coonskin cap and my hula hoop that unfortunately was long gone before I grew up and went to Hawaii seven times.

But toys simply were no match for candy. You see, I was born with a sweet tooth. In fact, all my teeth were sweet. Which is why I adored Halloween and Easter. Truth be told, Halloween was even better than Easter.

It all came down to quantity. On Easter, I only got the candy that the Easter Bunny left me. But Halloween was a different story. You could go trick or treating for several days in those days, and believe me, I did. If there had been Fitbits back then, I would have exhausted one from all the steps I took.

In fact, I covered more territory than door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen (now an extinct species).

I would come home with heaping bags filled with all sorts of candy. I loved the chocolate candy bars the most. It didn’t matter what kind. I gobbled them all gleefully and willfully.

And boy, did I ever ultimately pay through the nose – or rather mouth – for that folly.

I developed enough cavities to keep my dentist doing more drilling than Texas oil drillers. Unfortunately, dental drills back then were not high speed. Their lower RPMs were engineered to prolong the agony.

I became the poster boy for tooth decay. I had so much silver in my mouth that it was a miracle that The Lone Ranger never tracked me down to mine raw materials for his silver bullets.

As the years raced by, my fillings wound up enraging the nerves of my teeth … which begat root canals … which begat weakened tooth structures … which begat bridges and crowns … which begat implants … which begat dental bills big enough to sink your bicuspids and molars into … which begat a big bite in my financial security.

Now I hate Halloween. The very thought of it leaves me colder than a witch’s heart.

A curse and a pox on all those folks in Mount Penn in the late 1950s and early 1960s who enabled my candy addition.

The mere memory of them makes me grit my teeth. Which isn’t good. Because my teeth now are as fragile as fine china. And more expensive. At least they look better than a toothless Jack-o’-Lantern.

Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

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