What can Jelly Beans teach us about Life?

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Popeye & Olive Oyl Salt 'n Pepper Shakers CLICK to PRICE

Popeye & Olive Oyl
Salt ‘n Pepper Shakers — CLICK ON PHOTO TO PRICE

Jelly beans (or jellybeans) have always intrigued me. Why is this sugary candy so popular after all these years; over one hundred, to be exact, in spite of the fact that they’re made out of cornstarch, the #1 enemy of most health food purists.

According to Wickipedia, “most jelly beans are sold as an assortment of around eight different flavors, most of them fruit based. Assortments of “spiced” jellybeans and gumdrops are also available, which include a similar number of spice and mint flavors. The colors of jelly beans often correspond with a fruit and a “spiced” flavor.

I love jelly beans!

I love jelly beans!

Some premium brands, such as Jelly Belly and The Jelly Bean Factory, are available in many different flavors, including berry, tropical fruit, soft drink, popcorn, licorice, and novelty ranges, in addition to the familiar fruit and spice flavors. A version of the Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter series was made commercially available and included flavors described as earwax, dirt, pepper, and vomit.” Eeeoooow!

Patriotic Jellies

Patriotic Jellies

Why do I like jelly beans?

They come in different flavors. They remind me that people also are unique and varied. We don’t all have to be alike. We don’t have to conform. We don’t have to play follow-the-leader, but can think for ourselves. Each of us can be enjoyed and cherished for who we are. Peer pressure is a way for unimaginative people to manipulate others into being the same. Don’t buy into it! Be an original. Learn from others, but create your own style. Walk confidently to the tune of your own dancing heart.

Each flavor is an acquired taste. Difficult or unusual things often require more time and effort to appreciate. Enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve overcome a challenge or learned a new skill. Being willing to try something new, especially something that will improve your life or a future career is not for the faint of heart. Acquired knowledge is a sign of good taste.

Jelly beans come in many different Colors. Jelly bean enthusiasts are experts in diversity. The candy’s wide range of color gives us opportunity to choose, to admire, and to appreciate the entire chromatic spectrum. Color enlivens us and quenches our visual appetite for variety. Colorful foods whet the taste buds. We should embrace color in whatever form it takes even in people. Our Creator placed people-of-color on the earth, therefore, color is beautiful.

Jelly beans make me Cheerful. How can you not feel like you’re living the good life when a sweet fizz of flavor dissolves on your tongue so deliciously? How can you complain about a dark and sorry world while savoring the jelly bean’s tantalizing sweetness?

Instead of banning them from our diets, maybe we should encourage the eating of jelly beans every day for health the way we do for apples? Who knows, maybe road rage would decrease? We could share them with our friends and divert our enemies. President Ronald Reagan had a jar of jelly beans on his desk. I suspect it was harder for others to yell at him while they had their mouths full of scrumptious succulence. Make your dentist happy! Eat more Jelly beans.

Jelly bean jar

Jelly bean jar

Jelly bellies and beans should be eaten slowly. They’re soft spongy texture reminds me to relish the moment; to “look before I leap,” and to think about the consequences of my actions. If I crossed the street without looking or I only did what I wanted without thinking, how precarious life would seem. Slow down. Chew. Think about things before you do them. Weigh the options. Consider the results. Is life “all about me” or will others be effected? Chew. Meditate. Chew again and then chew some more.

Are jelly beans too much of a good thing? When you’re slurping down your third handful, remember the corn syrup. Remind yourself that moderation is a good thing. Ingesting too many sweets may cause cavities, indigestion, and weight gain. Jellybeans were made small so you could delight in each tidbit of flavor without gorging yourself. Gluttony was never the intent. Managing your jelly bean consumption says a whole lot about your self-control and restraint. “Bet you can’t eat just one;” but if you can, you’ve earned the right to have a jelly bean jar on your desk!

Pair of Popeye twister dolls

Pair of Popeye twister dolls — CLICK ON PHOTO TO PRICE

What can’t you Buy on the Internet?

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"Lady Luck" 11 x 14 in box frame

“Lady Luck” 11 x 14 in box frame

You can find almost anything on Amazon.com from their mainstay books to clothing and furniture items. If you want it, you can find it on the Internet. E-Bay still holds sway for many who want cut-rate prices and a chance to bid on rare or longed-for items. Bargains are what it’s all about.

I sell on Etsy and find that buyers are comparing prices to find the quality they want at the lowest cost. I get several inquiries before an order lands. Sometimes I offer free shipping in order to beat the competition, but then the profit margin is slim.

Popeye trinket dish

Popeye trinket dish

Mainstream book stores such as Borders, Barnes and Noble and Best Buy have been added to a long list of closings that have either happened in some locations or are about too. There is an alphabet soup of sad failures affected not only by the economy, but by internet buying habits.

Here are a few more: Aldi, Big Lots, Blockbuster, Bloomingdales, Best Buy, Bath and Body Works, Coldwater Creek, Dillard’s, Hallmark, the Gap, Kirkland’s, J.C. Penney, J. Crew, Hooters, JoAnn Fabrics and this only takes us to the letter “F.” There are many more companies going broke from A-Z.

What is behind this phenomenon? For one thing, people have less time. A friend of mine needed a small light bulb for an overhead projector. He went to several Office Supply stores and hardware stores in the area to find this size specific light. When he came back empty handed after having spent two hours and a sizable amount of gas, he searched online. Voila! He ordered three bulbs at $5 each and then paid an additional $18 in shipping just to get them here before his scheduled event. In today’s world, time is money.

As an artist, I’ve had difficulty getting the brands of acrylic and oil paints I want from the usual hobby stores here in town. I always find what I want online and with more colors and choices. My order arrives within a week, and the cost is either the same as locally or cheaper.

Olive Oyl hand puppet

Olive Oyl hand puppet

When I shop, I have a clear image in mind of what I want and need. I dislike store hopping which may consume large chunks of time I don’t have. I can go online and search for exactly what I want and find it in a matter of minutes.

The rate of book store closings is alarming. Again, I can download a book to my Kindle without leaving home. I can even do it from work. How easy is that? Even Libraries have learned how to adapt to the changing market. Their big draw is that their items are FREE. The drawback is you still have to return most of what you borrow and they still charge overdue fees.

While dining at a restaurant, I admired the pearl tie that our waitress was wearing. “Where’d you get that lovely necklace,” I asked?

“On the internet,” she replied with a smirk, “for only $7.99, plus shipping.”

There’s the catch! Sometimes the shipping may cost more than the item you purchase. The profit has to be built in somewhere, and shipping and “handling,” is one way. Handling includes the cost of the packaging, gas to take it where it can be mailed, and any other costs the manufacturer wants to attach to it. We are willing to pay for it because the item is cheap, and we want our purchase in a hurry.

The internet has opened up a new world of things to choose from. We no longer have to settle for what’s on sale or the usual end-of-season junk. We can click on “Search” and find exactly what we want at a price we can afford.

Popeye - Olive Oyl salt 'n pepper shakers

Popeye – Olive Oyl salt ‘n pepper shakers

What will happen to retail stores that must stock a huge inventory in order to compete? They will either find a way to adjust to the new market or go under. Most stores have online sites where customers may browse and purchase what they are familiar with. A sizable portion of sales comes from this source, especially during the holidays.

There’s a lesson to be learned for all of us. In a changing world, we need to adapt to the fluid market if we’re going to stay in business. In our personal lives, we also need to go with the flow of changing rhythms and trends if we’re to stay afloat. Otherwise, we may end up on that alphabetized list of failing businesses and fractured families.