I’ve always liked things that sparkle. Somewhere in the recesses of what’s left of my mind, there’s a voice saying that, “Boys (men) don’t like sparkly things…” That probably springs from homophobic prejudice(s) in the West. Or, it could harken back 200-plus years ago when America was making every effort to distance and differentiate itself from Europe where men of wealth flaunted such by wearing ruffles and jewels. So, American men wore more rugged clothing and all semblances of sparkles were relegated to the fops in Europe.
When Benjamin Franklin was sent to Paris in 1776, he chose to wear buckskin clothing and a coon skin cap—of course, to garner even more attention to himself, though that was entirely unnecessary—to show France that the American way of life was unique in the world.
Anyway, I’ve always had an affinity for things with sparkles… glitter… sequins… Doesn’t mean I wear it. But I like sparkles. Women in sparkling dresses… the shimmering sea as the sun approaches the horizon… the morning dew or a field of snow on the sunny day after a storm… God likes him some Earthly sparkles and so do I.
This is not to be confused with sprinkles. Don’t even get me started on sprinkles! When I was about three years old, my paternal grandmother mailed the three of us (her only grandchildren to that point) a little box of gifts. The only thing I remember, more than a half-century hence, was a small jar of sprinkles. First of all, the little, bright colors were enticing enough. I loved the look of all of those miniature pastel spheres jammed into that tiny jar. There were so many I couldn’t set my eyes on any single dot. I think my estimate then was that there were a zillion of them. As I rolled the cylindrical jar over and over in my hands, my mother took it from me with a look of, You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…
“Go sit on the couch and wait for me…”
Being the perfect embodiment of the little Angel I was and still am to this day, I obeyed her and dashed to the couch and rhythmically bounced on my seat, quasi-patiently waiting. Within a few moments she arrived before me, a bowl in hand. I could see the teaspoon protruding from the top and instantly recognized the bowl as one in which she normally served me a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The rapidity of my bouncing increased. She handed me the bowl…
Cue Also Sprach Zarathustra, the theme from 2001, A Space Odyssey.
And it happens within my memory now as it did then. Just like Stanley Kubrick’s sun-rising-and-illuminating-the-scene as the camera elevates on a jib and in slow motion the obelisk is revealed to the audience and mankind, so this bowl of ice cream was revealed to me. I took the bowl from her and lowered it to my chest, the rim of the bowl descending to reveal my scoop of vanilla… covered in those very same sprinkles I’d found so fascinating only moments before!
That was truly one of the seminal moments in my life. How much better can life get than ice cream covered in sprinkles?! Not only do the sprinkles dazzle your eyes, they dazzle your tongue and improve upon the heretofore unimprovable: Ice Cream.
I wonder if my affinity for sparkles and sprinkles is what makes the Holidays my favorite time of the year. Yes, it is the time of year when many—maybe even most—people put aside their petty differences and treat each other with love and respect. It is the time when people make the extra effort to be charitable. Heck, we even get together with family and try our best to not strangle one another!
But, beyond all of the love, kindness and charity, everything sparkles!
In the malls of America, twinkling lights are everywhere. Of course, the Christmas trees, everywhere you look—from main streets to mall walks to front windows and grandma’s living room—twinkle and sparkle and reflect in the eyes of spellbound children. But it’s not just the trees. Everywhere you look there is something that is sparkling, glittering, twinkling, glimmering, shining and/or blinking.
And all of the cookies have sprinkles! It’s glorious! Sprinkles and sparkles! It’s a perfect melding of—
Wait a second…
If I could invent sprinkles that sparkle… Whoa… Hang on…
I’m imagining a cookie, covered in sprinkles… that sparkle! Oh my Heavens! Did the poles just shift?! Sprinkles that sparkle! I’ll be rich! I’ll be a national hero! If only you could hear, as do I now, the Herald Angels and witness for yourself the rays of Heavenly light which upon me now shine!
I suppose I’d have to make the sprinkles out of some sort of translucent sugar crystals, so the little LED lights inside would shine through… And I’d have to hide the wires inside the cookie… And the battery… the battery would have to be baked into the cookie in order to conceal it… and…
EXT. THE PEARLY GATES – DAY
BILL, walking on clouds, approaches ST. PETER.
Welcome to The Pearly Gates, Bill. Let’s see here… You died because you ate a battery and some… copper? wiring? And LEDs… Hmmm… We haven’t seen that one yet…
It was a cookie.
It says here a battery and—
It was a Sparkly Sprinkly Cookie!
A Sparkly Sp—
I invented it!
Sparkly Sprinkles! The Sparkly Sprinkly Cookie! I’m sure they and I are by now famous.
Sparkly Sprinkly… I see… Hang on a sec.
(goes to phone)
Yeah. Pete, down at the gate. Lemme talk to him.
Yeah? Sir! Fine, thanks. She’s fine, thank you. I’ll tell her you asked… Listen, I’ve got this goofball here—I mean one of your children, sorry—who ate some electrical wiring and a battery and…
(leafs through large book)
and I can’t even find—
Tell him I invented it!
(turning to Bill)
Sparkly Sprinkles! Sparkly—
(back to phone)
NO! Not you, Sir! He says he invented— No. No, sir. Ben Franklin, he’s not. Says he took a cookie, and a battery… Listen, can I just send him up and have him explain it to you?
Well, maybe the idea needs some work. But I do think all the sparkles and all the sprinkles make this, for me, the most wonderful and magical time of the year. Even if I can’t invent something so totally awesome as Sparkly Sprinkly Cookies, I’m going to try my best to sparkle as brightly as I can with everyone I meet this holiday season. Not wear sparkly things… just be sparkly. I wonder if I can carry that into the new year…