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“HOW SWEET IT ISN'T” With apologies to Jackie Gleason

“Candy is dandy, though liquor is quicker”

Ogden Nash

Barb has a sweet tooth. My sweet tooth may be more demanding. I definitely have more cavities. Barb’s a bitter-sweet dark chocolate sort of woman, while I’ve been known to commit minor crimes for a bite of a Carmel Chewy. Recently our mutual friends Ernie DiBenedetto [yes the same Ernie DiBenedetto that appears in Lies and Whoppers in my blog’s children section] and his extraordinary wife Deb, both genius chefs and confectioners in their own right, sent us a bag of indescribably delicious homemade toffee. A brouhaha ensued. Well, as much of a brouhaha you’d expect in our abode. I wrote the following in hopes things might return to their normal state of confusion.

Dearest Deb & Ernie,

Thank you for the Christmas toffee. And wisely, this year, they arrived as two separate gifts. You may recall that last year you generously sent us a gift bag of your ‘To-Leap- Off- a-Cliff, Tunnel-Through-a- Molten- Lava- Bed-of-an-Active-Volcano, Suffer, Starve, Whine, Grovel and Die-for’ TOFFEE! A marvelous mixture indeed.

After our very first bite, Barb and I agreed that your particular creation should immediately be declared addictive and banned by the Federal Drug Administration. Or, at a minimum, deemed a mortal sin by the Catholic Church and verboten like some music, art and sex by other agencies who enjoy verbot-ing.

Now I realize it wasn’t an apple that caused the trouble in Eden. Adam and Eve must have chomped into something exactly like your TOFFEE concoction and though they suddenly experienced reason, for the first time they knew the difference between right and wrong, good and bad and sweet and sour.

Last year, Barb and I reached a pact where we would voluntarily sacrifice ourselves and consume all of your decadent, additive, home-brewed Butter Scotch Toffee in a reasonable and timely manner. Selfishly, we’d keep each morsel to ourselves. We agreed not to share one morsel with any friend or family member. It was an altruistic decision. Yes, we were addicted. But why corrupt others? We would not be responsible for creating world-wide demand, a pandemic of crazed, frantic toffee eaters.

Our pact was simple. Neither Barb nor I would touch your Toffee unless the other person was present. Two evenings later I noticed something amiss. Either one of us was cheating (it was not I) or someone or group of thieves gained entry to our home, passed up all our household treasures and stole our toffee. Not all of it, but a noticeable amount.

After years of marital bliss, I decided to hold my tongue, swallow my suspicions, though I watched our single bag of toffee seemingly disappear of its own accord. I drew a small line on the plastic bag with a Sharpie Fine Point at the exact level of the top piece of toffee. Voila, less than twenty-four hours later a substantial chunk was missing. My suspicions confirmed, I neither cajoled nor accused, I simply helped myself to three chunks put them in a plastic bag and secreted them in the left toe of my oxblood wing-tips. I planned to wait a few months, maybe till summer, then bite down and leaving a few bits of chocolate on my lips give my wife a kiss…. Ah but I digress

Which brings us to this holiday season.

Again, as further testimony to the generosity of the DiBenedetto family, you presented Barb and me with two gift bags, topped with a silver bow, and filled with tidbits of your ridiculously, delectable toffee. This year we did NOT sign a pact. This year we used a big, black SHARPIE (you know the ones with the chisel tip calligraphy style) and printed our respective names on each bag.

Almost immediately the mystery began. I decided to savor my toffee, enjoying small nips on alternate days of the week. My marital counterpart elected not to ration her candy and instead consumed her portion in less than ninety-six hours. “Ninety-six hours,” You might ask. How would I know ninety-six hours? Exactly ninety-six hours after receiving your gift, my toffee began to disappear. I could draw one of two conclusions: either the thieves were back or someone, I wonder who, was tampering with my toffee.

That night I had a nightmare. There was arguing, a din of denials and accusations. Attorneys were summoned. Property was divvyed up. Friends and our children took sides. One of them chose the wrong side and I took her out of my will. Dreams can be so real, but finally this one ended and I awoke.

In the morning, cooler heads prevailed over a breakfast gin fizz. All of this transpired of course because of your candy.


If you do not want to be attending our DIVORCE PARTY, next year, please do not offer us any toffee, though you might secretly pass me a bag. I see no reason I should suffer, because Barb obviously has a serious problem.

Happy Holidays


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