As I am sitting here, nibbling away at a heart-shaped cookie given to me by a coworker, it would seem appropriate to talk about Valentine's Day, Chocolate Awareness Day, Singles Awareness Day or, if you're really not feeling celebratory, Thursday.
Upon further consideration, I don't think I will. Besides the fact that the origins of the holiday are dubious at best, there's something about the concept itself that I don't like.
Anyway, let us instead consider the part of the holiday that (almost) all of us can agree that we enjoy...
Chocolate is, at its base level, a blend of cocoa and a sweetener. It's slightly more complex than that but this will suffice for now. The most popular form of this confection, milk chocolate, has an additional base ingredient but if I need to tell you what it is, then you may turn in your diploma(s) and look forward to a successful career as a reality television star... or perhaps a politician.
Chocolate got its start in the Americas, and has since spread to every corner of the world, except maybe North Korea, though I am somewhat unsure on that point. Kim Jong Un didn't get his figure eating sushi, after all.
This does lead to a question - why? What is it exactly about chocolate that has lead to its rampant popularity?
The most obvious answer would be flavour, but is that all? Thanks to the increasing connectivity provided by easier travel, immigration, and the internet, different cuisines from around the world have spread to places they wouldn't have been able to in the past. However, chocolate has outdone many of them (for example, more people will willingly eat chocolate than, say, sushi despite the increasing availability thereof). Even other sweets with equal distribution aren't nearly as popular. Think about it - if you were to offer someone a chocolate bar or a lollipop, how many do you think would take the lollipop?
The second popular theory is the caffeine content, which I'm fairly convinced is bunk. The average bar of chocolate has only slightly more caffeine than a cup of decaf coffee. Yes, decaf coffee has caffeine in it, and it's still more than the chocolate so, like I said, bunk.
No, I am fairly convinced the main reason why chocolate is the candy king is because of its versatility. You can have it as a bar, of course, but you can also drink it, dip things in it, put filling in it, inhale it (I'm not kidding), use it as a seasoning on chicken (still not kidding), and it tastes great with bacon (ditto). That's just a few of the things you can do with it. You're never going to see someone make a jolly rancher fountain - it'd look splendid for about fifteen seconds before it hardened and then you'd be stuck with a diabetic lampshade, if you can get it unstuck from the counter.
So in conclusion, it is chocolate's seemingly infinite adaptability that makes it king. That, and better marketing. It's really all down to marketing, in the end.
I need to be off now, Kevin's gone and eaten all the chocolate and is turning green... which he's not supposed to be. He's generally a shade of brown.
Also, the name of this post is a bit of a misnomer. While there will certainly be lots of leftover candy selling for cheap tomorrow, the BEST day to get clearance candy is November 1st. See, while your girlfriend/fiance/wife might be disappointed if you buy her sub-par candy, she's probably not going to egg your house for it.
Note I said probably. I can't make any promises.