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A Mere Experience

Happy Halloween! I know you crazy kids are all about to go out and get into all sorts of debauchery and shenanigans. I know I am. Yet instead of writing the typical article about Halloween in a college environment, like “Stop Slut Shaming Slutty Santa Suits” or “How to Handle post-Hallows Hangovers,” I wanted to use an aspect of the holiday that sheds some light on a personality trait of mine:

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” –Virginia Woolf

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines hedonism as “the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.” For me, my hedonism is best exhibited in my love of all types of food.

When I was a child, my family was not the most affluent. At times, things were rough for us, but no matter how difficult things were, my parents were amazing when it came to the kitchen. Kabob and rice, tilapia with lime, and beef stews with hummus and tabbouleh were meals I grew to look forward to after a long day of school. Growing up, I learned to appreciate the simplest of home cooked meals, and even boxed macaroni and cheese or spaghetti brings great joy to me because of the memories it brings back.

To me, I could be eating a 5 star meal at one of the fanciest bistros in France, and I would be in the same amount of bliss as if I had just ordered 2 Big Macs and a side of fries. To most people that sounds very weird, but, to me, food is a simple pleasure intertwined with great nostalgia. I walk into a McDonald’s and a wave of pure bliss washes over me as I remember all the weekends my brother, mother, and I would go and grab lunch together and all the fun we had playing in their “Play Place.” Whenever I enter Steak ‘n Shake, my mind goes back to high school and how everyone would go there to eat after the opening night of a play or musical, as we all spent hours laughing and joking about the night’s performance. And last week, when I went to Waffle House for one of the first times in my life, long-lasting friendships were once again solidified over a plate of waffles and a side of cheese-covered hash browns.

Food is one of the ways we as a society communicate our love and understanding for one another. It’s how we bond and connect. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day are all holidays where one of the major ingredients for a successful celebration is the proper cuisine. What’s the best (and most common) way we introduce our significant other to our family? By inviting them over for dinner. What’s the best part of a wedding? The reception, of course. And why does everyone hate hospitals? Because the JELL-O is disgusting! Well…maybe that last thing is probably not as attributable to food as other factors, but you get where I’m going with this.

Folks, Halloween is no different. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Skittles, Hershey Bars, Almond Joys, Kit Kats, Sour Patch Kids, Smarties, and Candy Corn…just the mention of a few of these candies probably brought you back to your youth, dressed up as a Power Ranger or a princess or whatever, pouring your candy on the living room floor and checking to examine your spoils after a long venture into the night.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what your simple joy may be. The important thing to remember is that even the simplest of things can bring about the most joy. Whether that be the watching of a sunset, painting of a picture, or the downing of some pumpkin pie with friends and family…let the world be your oyster, and enjoy it for all it’s worth.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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