Yesterday I had the most terrifying food experience of my adult life. Jackson and I opened a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. I have no excuse for this $1.99-for-fifteen-jelly-beans extravagance, except that I'm one of those Harry Potter-reading idiots. Last summer I started the first book in the series as mindless beach reading, insisting to all those within earshot that I needed to vet it because Jackson would probably want to read it someday and I wanted to make sure it wasn't pure trash, or, as certain exceedingly Roman Catholic members of my family seem to think, full of the wicked magical temptations of a Satanic Beastmaster. With each new volume I shed my reluctance like so much sweaty lingerie, and I raced through the first five books in the series, pronouncing them excellent indeed. Almost everyone with whom I shared this revelation excused themselves to go vomit, with the exception of several homeschooled eight-to-thirteen-year-olds. (I sent the Harry Potter books to my smartyboots Ph.D.-candidate sister-in-law for Christmas, and was gratified to find that sometime around the third of January she was drafting a letter to J. K. Rowling demanding that she write and release the sixth Harry Potter book this instant. This proves nothing other than that I am insecure about my latent affinity for adolescent fantasy fiction, and need to have my tastes propped up by associating them with people smarter than me.)

ANYWAY, I bought a couple of boxes of the aforementioned Harry Potter-inspired jelly beans thinking that it would be fun for Jackson and me to pick through the pleasant tastes of grape jelly and toasted marshmallows and spaghetti and grass. I was kind of only half-processing the fact that other flavors included in the box were vomit, booger, soap, dirt, earthworm, earwax, and sardine.

And guess what? THE FUCKING THINGS TASTE EXACTLY LIKE VOMIT, BOOGERS, SOAP, DIRT, EARTHWORMS, EARWAX, AND SARDINES. Soap? Actually, it's rose-scented soap, and as it was one of the first of the more dangerous flavors I tried, the fact that it was halfway palatable gave me the courage to continue. Naturally, I didn't even know what earthworms tasted like until I popped one of those fuckers in my mouth and said to myself, Yes, that's pretty much what I'd expect an earthworm to taste like: a heady blend of dirt and the smell of squished worms on the wet sidewalk after a rainstorm in front of my house when I was five years old. Earwax was nothing, but I seriously almost puked after a bite of sugar-coated sardine. The only flavor they're missing at this point is Abyssinian cat shit.