When I was a kid, my brother and I would go out trick-or-treating in costume. We had a red Radio Flyer wagon and the freedom to wander on a warm southern October night. Lots of kids were out. There was a sense of quiet excitement, all of us wondering what spookiness we would encounter at each front porch as we mustered ourselves up to ring the doorbell. Some houses were downright scary, others were just people who got off work that day and wanted to hand out candy to us kids. Since I was older, I kinda became a leader in this Halloween stunt when I saw a ripe opportunity. My entrepreneurial kid brain figured that I could hack the system and get more candy than the other kids - in other words, I could be a very successful candy monger. It wasn't about greed, because I didn't even eat most of the candy in the end. It was about getting the most, about feeding a growing competitive spirit that resided in me even as a kid. Our little plan was to pull the Radio Flyer behind us together and leave it on the sidewalk just out of view as we stopped at each house. We would go up and say "trick or treat" like all the other kids, but each time we stood amongst spiderwebs and skeletons, our plastic orange trick-or-treat pumpkins were empty. Some kinda felt bad for us, so they gave us a little more candy. That was the plan. I know, this is horrible, but remember, I was a kid and I wanted the taste of success in numbers, not necessarily in my mouth. So we would empty our pumpkins into the red wagon after each successful mission, loading it with candy by the end of the night. At home we dumped the night's score onto the carpet of our empty front room. We were rich!! I sorted my candy by bubble gums, chocolate, and "other." Then, because I was the oldest kid, I claimed the biggest of our nesting cookie jars in the kitchen to store my stash.
My mom remarried when I turned 12, and two more kids became part of our family. By the time I was a teenager, I still had candy stashed in that cookie jar of mine. I knew it was stale. But that didn't matter. What mattered is that it was full, and I had worked hard to get it. It became a symbolic totem of my efforts. Now that there were two new little pairs of hands in the house and another boy for my brother to consort with, they felt the courage to start treating themselves to my candy, just a few pieces at a time. I think they thought I wouldn't notice, but I did! Just like a bank account, I would check on my candy stash from time to time. Let's just say the level was "lower" than it had been. When I started questioning them as to who had been ferreting away my supply, one finally fessed up "But you have more candy than any of us!" (I also have great teeth). Really, at that point, I realized I was past the candy game. That my trick-or-treating days were over. And that now I wanted to hang out with friends my age instead of worrying about candy. So, I let them have what they wanted of it once I fully gave up my stronghold. What I learned about myself in the process, early-on in life, is that when I can create opportunity that exceeds the vision of my competition, I can have more success to call my own. And if I am careful to put away some savings in times of bounty, I will not be without when times are lean. Also, I can 't live forever on past accomplishments cause things get stale. And, it feels good to share. :)