A fright­en­ing tale of Hal­loween hor­ror

‘I would come home with heap­ing bags filled with all sorts of candy’

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist Mike Zielin­ski, a res­i­dent of Berks County, is a colum­nist, novelist, play­wright and screen­writer.

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

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