Professor in Boston Eats 30 Candy Bars, Feels Guilty, Fights Cow

Dear Friends,


It’s hard to believe we are already nearing the end of October, isn’t it? My classes have mostly wrapped up for the semester, so I’m catching up on writing and speaking out on the road. Since I last wrote, I’ve been in Washington DC, Minneapolis, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia. And also, of course, back home with sweet Mrs. B. for a last few trips over to the beach



This was last Saturday, in a picture that captures my wife quite accurately, gazing east at The Atlantic—toward Spain, I suppose.


We are all geared up for Halloween in the Brooks household. We make sure to buy our trick-or-treat candy good and early, so I have ample time to eat it myself and be consumed by guilt and self-loathing. As I write this, I have polished off a bag of little Snickers bars. “Fun Size,” they call them. Fun, indeed. Mrs. B and I have a “fun” routine, where she looks in the trash and sees 30 little wrappers, and says, “¿Que ha pasado aqui? There are no more caramelos left for dee cheel-dren.”


Cheel-dren? Pffft. Seriously, I’m the real victim here. It is my genes and my environment growing up. My late father had a hopeless sweet tooth, and had candy hidden all over the house: bags of salt water taffy behind the couch cushions, circus peanuts in the glove box, candy corn in his sock drawer. I saw him pop sugar cubes in his mouth when he was really on a bender. That makes an impression on a young lad, you know? And he was pushing his habit on me early, too, because he hated snacking alone. Nine in the morning, and he’d offer me some Necco wafers. So pity me if you must, but don’t blame me.




I found this old picture of Halloween from 2003, when the Heir was 5 and CPL Mini-Me was 3. The Baby hadn’t yet joined us from China. That Halloween, we took the boys out around the neighborhood, but made them go up on the porches and ask for candy by themselves. (You mustn’t coddle them, you know.) They naturally split up the labor: The elder pushed the doorbells because the younger couldn’t reach; the younger was assigned to make the sales pitch when they opened. “Trick or tricky,” he’d yell.




I’ve had a few Halloween-themed speaking events this year, including this one where I was introduced by the voice of Dracula and had dry ice blown out onto the stage as if I were walking into a cemetery on a foggy night. It was a weird setup for my speech theme of love and happiness.


Keeping with this newsletter’s theme of pigging out for Halloween, a few weeks ago you may remember that I included a picture of a young man who lives near the university whom I often see out walking his pet pig. Well, as coincidence would have it, one of my MBA students actually is the pig’s next-door neighbor. I asked him if she—the pig turns out to be a she—is friendly. My student said she seems indifferent—kind of emotionally distant. She just stares at you with a bored expression. “It seems like she might have a mean streak though,” my student added. “Maybe a terrible temper or something.” Maybe so…as it happens, I had just stumbled across this news story from down under.


Where I'm Going





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Until next time, don't forget the cheel-dren,




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