A few weeks ago after a nice lunch out the waitress dropped some mints on the table. You know, those red and white hard-candy peppermints. A nice way to cover the taste and smell of the onions, greasy friedness, coffee and whatever else I had eaten. I popped a mint into my mouth. This one had a pink center. Ooh la la! And wow, was it tasty! For some reason I thought it was the best one of those mints I'd ever had. I really enjoyed it.
I dropped the others in my purse for later because no one else wanted them. Ooh! More for me.
So then a few days later, I decided to have another. I really hate coffee breath so I attempt to cover it up whenever possible. I think it harkens back to my youth - well, to one of my first jobs anyway, where I would go into work at 5AM and work with this woman who was a heavy coffee drinker, heavy smoker and heavy everything else. She was very nice, but her breath was enough to knock me back several days. Wow! I decided that coffee-cigarette breath was one of the worst smells ever. Right up there with dirty diapers, polyurethane, turpentine, rotten eggs, ammonia and sauteed garlic. Combined. And possibly a bit worse.
But I digress. A couple of days later I popped another mint into my mouth to cover the coffee taste. And much to my surprise, I discovered it was cinnamon! That darn tasty little mint was cinnamon! I felt betrayed! For two reasons: one - betrayed by my taste buds and the fact that my brain and mouth had just accepted the fact that if it was a red and white hard candy mint - it must be peppermint. And it took me two mints to come to that realization! Even though I noticed it was better than usual, it never occurred to me that it was because it was a flavor other than the obvious peppermint. No wonder I liked it so much!
Two - even more so, I felt betrayed by the mint. That little innocuous mint was masquerading as peppermint! How dare it?! That . . . that . . . that . . .imposter! And even though I love cinnamon, I didn't enjoy that little red, white and pink mint as much as I had previously. It was living a lie! It was pretending to be peppermint while living a life of cinnamon! (How's that for a pun? Huh? Huh? Get it? A life of cinnamon? A life of sin? Masquerading? Living a lie? Oh, nevermind.)
Just goes to show you that appearances are very important. We are all fooled by appearances. It's all about perception. The lesson here children, is that, well, it's, um. I'm sure there's a lesson here. I just can't think of it. But in the wise words of Stephen Cosgrove (the international, award-winning children's author whose books I have never read, but whose quote adorned the front of my favorite t-shirt when I was 10):
"Never judge someone by the way he looks, or a book by the way it's covered. For inside those tattered pages there's a lot to be discovered."
And as I discovered, inside that clear cellophane wrapper, there is a mystery mint to be discovered, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
On a related note, I was in an airport a few weeks back and saw a bag of cinnamon 'old-fashioned' hard candy. Since I really enjoy cinnamon I bought it. They are delightful! They are honest! They are not trying to pretend they are anything other than cinnamon hard-candies. No peppermint disguises, no fancy pink centers, just plain, hard, red, candies. I appreciate their honesty.