>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 85 – June 13, 2004

“Unless You Count Arbor Day”

Now Playing: “Accidentally In Love” by Counting Crows

Like virtually every other person on the planet with the probable exception of you, I have dreamed of owning a cotton candy machine. For too long I have suffered with stale, pre-bagged cotton candy from the groceteria, dreaming of the day when I would have a Coney Island-style machine to call my very own. Well, the long wait is finally over. This is a wonderful day for humanity, by which I mean me. Here's what happened:

-Ever notice how cream soda isn't any creamier than any other soda? They should call it what it really is: Carbonated Cotton Candy (or, “Heroin for Sugar Junkies.”)

-Cotton candy actually has a very rich history to it, that I bet you didn't know or care about. Several hundred years ago, all cotton candy was produced by African-American slaves in the back room of various carnivals. Then came the Emancipation Proclamation, which accelerated the human rights movement but slowed the cotton candy industry to a grinding halt. Instead of employing the cheap (free) labour of African-American slaves, cotton candy enthusiasts had to rely on carnies: White folks with more tattoos than teeth and brain cells combined. This brings us to the present day, when we realize that the history of cotton candy isn't very rich at all and also I just made most of it up.

-One of the biggest problems with owning a cotton candy machine is constantly finding dowels to stick in the machine. You've got to wrap the cotton candy around SOMETHING, and those paper dowels only take you so far. I've tried using toilet paper rolls, broken chair legs and a whiffle bat, but there's never enough dowels. Never enough. Pretty soon I'm just going to strip down and roll around the machine naked, so that I'll eventually turn myself into a dowel. Once the transformation is complete, I will become EMMANUEL, HUMAN COTTON CANDY AND INTERNET COLUMNIST. The only problem is if someone enjoys the cotton candy too much and accidentally eats me along with their treat. And then they'll look around and ask “Hey, where's Emmanuel” and then cry when they realize they've eaten me. That's also what happened to my whiffle bat.

-If I ever get an apple caramelizer to go along with my cotton candy machine I'll never leave the house again. I'll survive off a strict diet of cotton candy, candy apples and whiffle bats. In no time I'll understand why carnies (and slaves) have such awful oral hygiene.

-One of the biggest problems with owning a cotton candy machine (unless you count the one two “jokes” ago) is how commercial the industry's gotten. Ever since I purchased my wonderful, wonderful machine I've received daily advertisements and spam emails advertising the latest in cotton candy supplies and accessories. Who the hell needs an “antique cart stand,” a “roll-top bubble” or a “cone holder”? I don't even have any cones! It really bothers me that the cotton candy makers have sold out, just like cell phone companies, Pepsi and the Catholic Church.

-Quote of the Moment: One of my friends' brilliant suggestions for improving the nutritional value of my cotton candy: “You could use Sweet n' Low.” It's a good idea, in theory. But it doesn't work. Besides, where the hell am I going to find 18,000 packets of Sweet n' Low? I'd have to rob a Denny's.

-I don't like the fact that some people call it “candy floss.” British people, mostly. Associating cotton candy with proper oral hygiene is pretty insidious, like they're making fun of you for enjoying your sweet, sweet candy. (BAM!) I bet that's also why they call cigarettes “fags.”

-You kids out there are probably wondering how one goes about purchasing a cotton candy machine. It's not like you can just pick one up at Sears on the way back from the lunch buffet at your local strip club. Ebay is pretty much out of the question, since a cotton candy machine weighs more than the airplane used to transport it, so the shipping cost would be prohibitive. No, the only reasonable way to purchase a cotton candy machine is the same method used by people in Florida to buy Christmas trees: Find a guy with a name like “Sneaky Pete” and meet him in a dark alleyway after sunset (that's when alleyways tend to get dark). Come alone. Bring money.

-After you bring your cotton candy machine home in a rented U-Haul, you're ready to start making some sweet, sweet candy. (BAM!) Of course, you will need 50 pounds of granulated sugar. By this point I'm assuming you have this lying in a kiddie pool on your patio, like they did on the Simpsons. Approach with caution, preferably wearing a beekeeper's outfit (you do have a beekeeper's outfit, right?) Also, it helps not to do this in the rain, or if there's anyone around who can see you and might be inclined to call the police. Stealth is key.

-Once you're released on bail awaiting trial, you can return home and enjoy the fruits of your labour, namely cotton candy. Now you can be just like me, never having to wait until the shitty-ass fair rolls into town for your next cotton candy fix. Isn't life wonderful sometimes? Until next week, stay safe. Watch out for carnies, slaves, bees and rain. And stay away from my swimming pool.