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Okay. I’ll admit it. Much to my dismay, I collect Pez candy dispensers.

It began innocuously enough. My wife announced I needed a hobby to occupy my time and inquired what I would like to do. I’ve learned throughout the years she is quite the joker and assumed this was one of her less humorous jokes.

I responded with equally poor humor, “I think I should collect Pez dispensers. After all, one of the lead characters in Pulp Fiction had an Elvis Pez. Maybe someday they will create a Mike Pez, and I sure don’t want to miss that.”

I suddenly began receiving Pezez — I don’t know what the plural for Pez is. She says it’s Pezezes or Pezzi but I think I’ll stick to Pezez — and I began to receive them from all quarters. Children, second cousins, my wife, even a client after I won a trial. Pretty soon I had over two hundred of the things. It’s as though they got together and if I were due a present, they mused just get him a Pez. Even co-workers gave me Pezez. (Hint: for next present, I want to colect sloop sail boats. And I’ll only need one. A thirty-two footer would be good. Two would be nice but a little greedy.)

My wife, ever the cheerleader, bought me a lighted, seven-shelved, oak, corner display case. For some inexplicable reason (most of what she does is inexplicable), she believed I wanted to showoff my Pezez to visitors. I filled the case and had Pezez left over. I wanted to hide my silly endeavor or at least not have it dominate my living room. For now, the case holds a prized spot which any Seventh Day Adventist or Mormon missionary would be able to spy from the doorway.

I inform all those who view my Pezez that they come alive at night. My Irish grandmother used to tell me faeries danced on the front lawn just before sunrise (“faeries” as in Edmund Spenser’s Fearie Queen, which, as far as I can tell, has something to do with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I and old Irish folklore.) If Grandma can have faeries dance on a suburban lawn, my Pezez should be able to come alive at night. My older brother Patrick is more the Spenserian scholar than I, but we both were required to read him in high school. It is a very long poem. Painfully, excruciatingly long.

Sometimes I tell guests my Pezez are stoners, and work as caretakers at a White Castle. Sometimes I proclaim them as on Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Occasionally I say they are graduates of Ridgemont High School and are clones of Jeff Spicoli. But fret not, I have smoked nothing yet today.

Lest you believe the caring and maintenance of Pezez is devoid of responsibility, I will disabuse you. It is a tiring task. For the uninitiated, I have complied a list of helpful hints should you attempt to join the ranks of the Pez Nation:

Always assume your Pez is loaded. Nothing is more embarrassing than having a Pez surprisingly eject a pill of candy. Serious collectors seldom eat the candy because it is simply sugar and could cause health issues. I must confess, I do occasionally eat the candy but I do so under cover of darkness.

Pezez love public television and public radio. If you want to make your Mirth of Pezez happy (a group of Pezez is referred to collectively as a “Mirth”), subscribe to both your local Public Television and Radio stations. Members of the Pez Nation particularly enjoy The Moth and Radio Lab. Beware, your Mirth may break out in dance if music is being played, but only just before dawn.

There must be a few “Parrot Heads” in every Mirth because Pezez are wild for Jimmy Buffett. They especially like Wasting Away in Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise. They also are partial to Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and Maurice Ravel. This is along with Beethoven, Mozart, Shubert, Brahms and the other classical standards.

The Pez Nation holds The Rolling Stones in high esteem, but believes Keith Richards is dead and is just propped up by roadies.

If you opt to join the Pez Nation, remember a considerable amount of time and effort is required. Next to Pezez, maintaining an aquarium is easy. But as far as hobbies are concerned, Pezez are cheaper than a photography hobby where buying a full frame camera costs over $2,000 and there is no guarantee your pictures will turn out.

If you ever wondered how Pez are made:

Mike Bowler

Mike Bowler

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