Table of Contents


    Sometimes fourteen and sometimes sixteen, but mostly fifteen. The outlier was twelve. This number comes from extensive research I’ve conducted over the last few weeks. The sacrifices I make for my readers.

    I should explain. One of my vices—I certainly won’t claim it as my only vice—is a handful of M&M’s every afternoon. I hit a sugar lull and that bit of sweet taste perks me up to complete my workday. It’s just one handful. Never two. And so, quite some time ago, a large bag of M&M’s began appearing in the snack cabinet. Terrific invention because it is a zipper bag that keeps the candy fresh.

    For Halloween, we decided to buy a large bag of individual bags of M&M’s to distribute to visiting ghosts and goblins of the pint-sized variety. I always loved finding that in my trick-or-treat bag as a kid. Much more valuable than candy corn or those little tubes of powder. And nothing like the disappointment of discovering somebody gave away fruit.

    Fruit? Can you imagine?

    Believe it or not, one serving of M&M’s is approximately 32 candies. No, really, that’s official per the company. I couldn’t remember exactly how many were in the bags we had as kids, but that sounds close.

    Halloween 2020 came. Halloween 2020 went. And like the rest of the year, it was a huge dud. We had exactly zero trick-or-treaters. Yep, zero.

    The good news is I now had a giant bag of “individual” bags. About the only bonus of the whole year.

    Three o’clock rolled around. The craving struck. I went to the snack cabinet. I extracted exactly one bag. Thirty-two little candies was more or less a handful, right? I went back to my study. I opened the bag and shook out the contents. My first thought was, “Is that it?”

    I went back for a second bag and dumped them on my desk. I counted. Fifteen.

    The next day, I grabbed two bags. One had fifteen and one sixteen. The next day two bags. Fourteen and Fifteen. And then Fifteen and Fifteen. And then Fourteen-and-a-half (must have been a mechanical glitch leaving a poor decapitated M&M) and Fifteen.

    And then one day I had twelve. Twelve. I imagined the horror of a trick-or-treater who had that in their bag. I debated whether I earned a third bag that day.

    You don’t understand how obsessed I can become about these things. I’m surprised I don’t have a spreadsheet and graphs to share. If I had thought about it, you would be looking at them now.

    The good news is I finally finished the bag of individual bags and am back to the handful approach. I haven’t counted those. I’m sure it’s only 32.

    I’ve decided next year’s trick-or-treaters will each get two bags. Assuming we have trick-or-treaters.

    Of course, on November 1, 2021, the doorbell will ring. A teary face of a youngster will greet me. His words will haunt me. “Why did my bag only have twelve? Cheapskate.”

    Books I’m Reading

    David Joy: The Line That Held Us

    While hunting, Daryl shoots what he thinks is a wild boar only to discover he’s killed a man who was gathering ginseng. As bad as things already are, he realizes they are worse when he sees the dead man is part of the Brewer family, a notorious clan who will exact their own revenge no matter what the law does. Daryl makes the fateful decision to hide his crime and involves his best friend, Calvin. When Dwayne Brewer looks for his missing brother, he quickly locks in on Daryl and Calvin. A nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. David Joy’s The Line That Held Us goes deep into the Western North Carolina mountains for this tale of revenge, family, and friendships.

    Amazon affiliate links result in a small commission to me, though they have no impact on your pricing.

    Interesting Links

    Saddle Up And Read—As a kid, I lived in the worlds of the many books I read, but I can only imagine how cool it would have been if someone had encouraged me to read by riding a horse. What a great idea.

    Fifteen Books About Appalachia—I’ve added a few of these books to my own TBR stack after seeing this list.

    McAdenville Christmas Lights—Growing up near this little town, I’ve seen the lights many times. Here’s a great story about the effort behind it all.

    Book Riot’s Reading Log—I’ve grown tired of tracking my reading in Goodreads and am looking for a better way. Saw Book Riot’s tracking log and thought it was more complicated than I wanted, but thought some of you might be interested. (And if you have a suggestion, please let me know).

    Audible Troubles Continue For Authors and Narrators—The ALLi watchdog group has recently lowered Audible’s (ACX) rating to caution because of the recent scandal in the way Audible is handling returns and royalties as explained in this report. Why should you as a reader care? Because this will make author’s hesitant to make audio books and sell them through the world’s largest service.

    Gratuitous Dog Picture

    Christmas excitement is building as the magical days gets closer, even if you are a mischievous dog like Typhoon. He might need to work on his kitchen manners.

    Background title image courtesy Amit Lahav via Unsplash


    1. Debbie and Ruby on December 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

      Glad you can only eat one handful per day.. I would have to empty the bag and count how many of each color then devour them all!! Happy Monday.

    2. chris on December 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      Yes I love the peanut ones and I have a hard time stopping when I open a large bag. I usually can put down about a half a bag at a time. It is safer if they are not in my house.

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