4 min read

Zero Given? I'll Take It.

You thought I was going to talk about that thing, but it's all candy.
Zero Given? I'll Take It.

So many examples and slogans these days show that people give zero about almost anything.

It's on t-shirts and stickers and rampant in the common vernacular. I hear it everywhere. But zero means something different to me, and not even in the Arabic empty set reference.

I see Zero in silver, blue, and white. Colors I like.

I'm pretty sure that it started in the little shop on the side of Highway 120, where my father would take me for an RC Cola and a Moon Pie when I was a kid. I can assure you that it had nothing to do with the Dallas Cowboys.

It also could have been at the hands of my paternal grandpa. He had a thing for hiding candy bars in the oddest places, like in a newspaper shoved into the cushion of the chair next to him. The reason for this was that his grown children were frequently attempting to relocate them for him. I'm not clear if the point was to get the sugar from him, terrorize him, or eat it themselves.

It could have been all three.

Speaking of three, my father was the same way. He had a special place in his bedside bookshelf behind the books where he would hide ten-packs of Three Musketeers bars.

He was hiding them from me. I had no specific desire to terrorize; it was more a ravenous desire for chocolate and delicate sugary pleasure. It was simple, really. My father was quite possibly a D'Artagnan to the reclusive Musketeers plotting in secret in the bookcase.

I, however, was a hot-blooded pirate that believed in the idea of imminent domain, and if it was brought in by an adult, and was technically legal to consume by State and Federal law, then freaking good luck.

Prepare your defenses.

To be perfectly fair, it fell within an acceptable level of shrinkage. I would lift a bar out of a pack. If the stash remained in place too long, I could make off with a second, laugh, clang my saber with a resounding yawp and return to the secret buccaneer hideaway I held zero ownership rights to on my own.

There was still honor in the game, however. My rule was just; I refused to take the first or the last bar in the bag. When the last bar sat for a week, I realized my dad had discovered me, and I required a new hunt.

I knew he would not hide the booty too close to the bookshelf since he was sure I would snoop. That is quite a valid assertion, to be honest. One major superpower that comes with my neurodivergence is that I notice patterns and can troubleshoot decently well.

So the bathroom was out, and my bedroom was most certainly out of the question. He had removed my door for some infraction I don't properly remember now, but it probably had to do with rock and roll music.

The living room would be sketchy because that would actively involve my mother, and her idea of keeping a secret historically proved to be more in the style of Walter Kronkite at six o'clock. That eliminated the bookshelves in the living room. Why make the same mistake twice, right? He couldn't use anything that had electricity because of the heat. Same reason he couldn't repeat Grandpa's trick in the seat cushion, because body heat would melt them, and the pressure would make them flat.

No, this was a father and son battle, like a Sao Feng or a Will Turner. So the trip-up would have to be tailored to me specifically. Cabinets were out because of the heat in our tiny kitchen.

That left the fridge. He wouldn't exert the effort to put the chocolate outside. As I opened the refrigerator, it hit me.

What do I hate to eat the most?

Turnip greens.

My hatred of them is akin to a vampire's disdain for garlic, which is actually his loss, but that's a different story.

This is how I learned that I adore frozen candy bars. Nestled between two bags of turnip greens was the solid ten-pack of Three Musketeers, one bar missing.

Prepare to board!

My father was like his father, as I am a good copy of mine, and my little is a copy of me. Now, all of us guys also share a little thing that the kind walrus fella called "diabeetus."

And the little person that has her pink pirate cove in my house does not have diabetes, but she has everything else, so since she's a daddy's girl, I was wise enough to learn the lesson of sharing my wealth and planning ahead for the inevitable shrink in my inventory I knew was on the horizon.

The natural law on this is crystal clear: a kid hunting candy has and gives zero in their quest to acquire it. You're safer just giving it to them. I know that my Grandpa alleviated much by pulling up a Zero from the newspaper, handing it to me, and saying, "Boy, you might want to get finished with that before your daddy gets back."

The plotting of the battle is just too much energy that the candy bar won't put back in you.

That's why I still like my Zero bars, and they live in the fridge.