I would always get too much gum; gum that lost its flavor after two chews and quickly turned your mouth from a flood of sugary saliva to a desert of stale aftertaste. Sure, I could blow nice, large Double Bubble bubbles. However, after chewing for an hour a tasteless wad of what I related to cud, my jaw always felt like it would happily unhinge itself on its own. Yet, my pile of gum would not appear to diminish. It was not so with my other candy.

Attending parades was an important highlight of my summer holidays when I was growing up. The Fourth of July parades came at a critical time when I was usually running out of my Easter candy. All right, I admit I wasn't that extreme in my willpower, but for some reason, I was not one of those kids who could devour an entire plastic bag of candy in a few short days. Instead, I took my sweet time.

When it came to parade candy, our household adopted rules, which I have now realized conformed to a Communist ideology. My family would attend an average of two parades per summer and the means of acquiring and distributing candy remained largely the same during our childhood.

My mother would either give us each a small plastic bag or bring one larger bag into which we would throw all the candy we collected. It didn't matter what you picked up, it went in the bag. The candy was then distributed evenly and fairly when we got home.

You were the only one to pick up that box of Milk Duds? Too bad, because for the betterment of those who did not exert the effort to get a box of Milk Duds, you need to throw it in the bag and hope you rediscover it in your state-controlled ration of candy at the end of the day.

You collected 100 pieces of Tootsie Frooties? Too bad, because for the sake of equality, your lazy older sister, who does not think collecting candy is "cool" anymore and who collected only two pieces herself (both of which she ate), will receive the same amount as you. Communism.

Of course, we all bought into the system. Nothing was more frustrating than experiencing elation at having a handful of Dum-Dums thrown at you only to have your own family members and neighbors sweep them all up before you could grab one. No, it was much safer to have a fall back system in case you had a bad candy-collecting day. Maybe this just means I was spoiled.

My observations of modern-day candy collecting have led me to discern that we as a society have started early in teaching the younger generations our capitalist ways. Many children have individual bags for collecting candy only they will enjoy. No sharing.

You were lucky enough to snag the Dots away from your little sister who was too slow and is now crying because you won't share? Good for you! Enjoy the spoils of your elevated status and ability.

You managed to scoop 10 boxes of Nerds while the other five kids surrounding you were left with deciding who would eat the one that opened up in that pile of dirt?

Victory is yours, so show no pity! Your candy-collecting skills have placed you in a position of power through which you can gradually extort the remaining pieces of candy from your poor peers. Capitalism at its finest!

I must admit, I've over analyzed candy-collecting. I'll stop now before I start talking about the proletariat/bourgeoisie conflict present in this activity.

So, we would collect candy. I don't quite understand what was so thrilling about collecting Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Now-and-Laters and Laffy Taffy year after year, but there we would be being thrilled just the same. Sometimes, the candy would need to be "analyzed" by my parents to see if it all right for us to eat. Larger jawbreakers were removed from the pile to later undergo division. After all, a person could choke on a piece of candy that big!

There were times when I had no idea what kind of candy I was holding. My parents would usually identify them with exclamations of "They still make those?!" Then they would feel old. I soon learned that all Bit-O-Honey candy went straight to mother.

You see, even in a simple, innocent activity like grabbing candy off of a horribly dirty asphalt street (five-second rule need not apply), there is a procedure and a certain decorum to be followed.

I mean, in what other sense would we willingly let our children run into the middle of a busy street to grab candy thrown by strangers?