Black Jelly Beans

When I was in high school I had a friend that enjoyed jelly beans. They might not have been his favorite snack, but he had them enough that I noticed that he always saved the black ones for last. After a suitable time had passed he would proceed to eat the black ones as well, making a face indicative of intense pain as each bean was masticated and swallowed.

Eventually, I had to ask why he continued eating the black beans when he so obviously did not relish the flavor. His explanation still strikes me as odd. It seems that since he had purchased that bag of jelly beans, and there were black jelly beans within that bag, he felt compelled to eat those black jelly beans, even though he detested them. They had been purchased after all. They had to be eaten. At least this is how I remember it being explained to me.

Well, as strange as this reasoning sounded to me, it seemed to work for him.

If the story ended there, it wouldn’t be much more than an odd anecdote.

This friend and I also had a similar voracious appetite for literature. We had read many of the same books and enjoyed many of the same authors.

We had been reading the same book and I had been finding the story less than titillating and had asked him how he was enjoying it. His reply stunned me.

“I don’t have to eat the black jelly beans.”

I don’t remember saying anything in reply, but I’m sure my stunned expression said it all.

At least he was kind enough to explain. He had come to the revelation (some might say finally) that he didn’t have to eat the black jelly beans. He had paid for them. They were his to do what he wanted with. He could give them away, throw them away, or plant them by the light of the full moon and hope for sweet potato pie.

He had then decided this was a philosophy he could adhere to in other areas of his life. Such as not finishing a book he wasn’t enjoying.

Now I admit, my memory might not have been perfect in this retelling of history, and I might not have retold it with undeviating accuracy (poetic license, right?), but it still leads me to ask, do you eat the black jelly beans in your reading (I’ll leave the rest of your life unquestioned)?

I admit to continuing to eat the black jelly beans. I do not remember the last time I put down a book half finished, not to pick it up again and finish it. My wife, God bless her, is constantly placing one of the two or three books that I’m currently reading back on the book case. I dutifully go retrieve them and continue with the story. I sometimes wish I could leave the black beans in the bag, but I just have to know how the story ends. Maybe I’m an optimist, but the story could always get better right?

Well, yeah, I agree they usually don’t. But how would I know if I didn’t eat each and every last bean.

What about you? Do you eat the black beans or leave them in the bag? I would love to hear!

(Disclaimer: In accordance with the policies set forth by the owner of this blog, the author declares that in actuality he loves black jelly beans and licorice. If you don’t eat the black jelly beans, feel free to send them to the author.)

~ by odin1eye on 16 April, 2009.

4 Responses to “Black Jelly Beans”

  1. I think whether I “eat the black jelly beans” depends partly on how hungry I am. If I come across a black jelly bean and a delicious yellow one is right beside it I will go for the good one. That is to say I won’t force myself to read a poor story if I have a book by a favorite author waiting for me.

  2. Granted, I love black jelly beans, but despise the yellow lemon ones. I would have to be really desperate to eat the yellow (and it has occurred once or twice.) Thou, between my Kindle, podiobooks and Itunes, the yellow ones won’t be needed.

    • If I could leave one jb out of the bag, of almost any brand, I too with have to choose the yellow. And I’m deeply jealous of your kindle. .^)

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