It’s an annual indulgence. Linda picks up a few bags of candy for the trick-or-treaters the week before Halloween and I try to ignore them. I usually hold off for a few days. But in the end, I wind up stuffing my pie hole with Nerds and Whoppers. The holiday season begins with a sugary high and skull-crushing crash. If you eat enough Twizzlers, it’s considered fruit, right?

They dedicated a statue to Martin Luther King for fighting segregation a few weeks ago, but in our house at Halloween, we keep the candy separated:

  • peanut-based
  • non-peanut-based
  • and a special stash of favorites we hold back for ourselves

This year, the stash is a combination of full size Reese’s cups, fun size Butterfingers and Kit Kat bars. I’m not complaining about the selection — since I wasn’t the one doing the buying — but when I was told the other option was a combo bag with Heath bars and some other stuff, I was slightly disappointed.

I inherited my sweet tooth from my dad. His fix comes from Necco wafers. My mom, on the other hand, doesn’t share this affliction. She keeps chocolate in the fridge for months at a time. The patience of a saint, she still has Christmas cookies in the freezer. No way does that stay in my house past January.

Actually, what I could go for right now is a bag of Bull’s Eyes. Because just one of them is not enough. Fortunately, I work for the dental society; I have a great dental plan. And I brush and floss with a nearly religious devotion.

Brushing my cat’s teeth is different story. Goose isn’t so smart. It takes him a bit before he realizes why I’ve grabbed him. I save him for last. Bean, on the other hand, knows I’m going to brush her teeth even before I do. By the time I’ve gathered the dental wipes, she’s high-tailed it under the bed. It’s a game of cat and mouse to catch her — one where I am Tom and she is Jerry. I have to get the drop on early before she slips away because she still moves pretty well for a 15-year-old. That’s like 75 or something in people years.

I never used to brush our cats’ teeth until Bean developed gingivitis a few years ago and lost some teeth. Our vet gave us a guilt trip and we tried to get with the program. But brushing teeth on cats goes against the laws of nature.

Years ago we used actual cat-formula toothpaste — malt flavored — and these things that looked like finger nipples. That went over pretty much how you’d imagine: kitty squirming and toothpaste all over my clothes. . . the couch. . . the cat’s fur. We finally got wise and bought dental wipes. They smell minty and are less messy. But I still have squirming cats.

I don’t subject my felines to dentistry with the same devotion, so it’s up them to keep their paws off my stash, if they know what’s good for them.

Tom Long is one-third of the seldom heard Chicago band The Ethyl Mermen. The name Tom Long can be found in the dictionary, Baseball Encyclopedia and a pub in Ireland. Tom Long is not affiliated with any other Tom Long; he won the rights to use his own name after prevailing in a three-way game of Jan-ken-pon by choosing "dynamite!" No Toms were harmed in the making of this blog.

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