Pop Rocks — those little hard candies that fizz like Alka Seltzer when you put them in your mouth — were introduced when I was in grade school....

Pop Rocks — those little hard candies that fizz like Alka Seltzer when you put them in your mouth — were introduced when I was in grade school.
Like all my peers, as soon as I heard about Pop Rocks I rushed to the nearest convenience store to try them. I wasn’t overly impressed.
Once the novelty wore off, Pop Rocks were just another candy option, and I could usually find something better; i.e. Sweet Tarts or Lemonheads.
A few years later, in junior high, a rumor swept the school. Apparently, it turned out the secret ingredient in Pop Rocks — the substance that made them fizz like Alka Seltzer — was spider eggs!
I was both terrified and horrified. I’d eaten Pop Rocks. I suspected the rumor probably wasn’t true, but what if it was?!
I didn’t eat Pop Rocks for years after that — no huge sacrifice, that — but was astonished the spider egg theory actually made them more appealing to some people. Kids who didn’t eat Pop Rocks before rushed out to try them believing there were spider eggs in them.
To me, disgusting candy is a paradox, a contradiction in terms. The whole point of candy is to eat something delicious. Otherwise, what’s the point?
When my father was in Vietnam he tried such delicacies as chocolate-covered ants and grasshoppers. He liked them. He said they were crunchy.
I can see the point of eating chocolate-covered bugs since they at least have some nutritional value. If you were trapped on a deserted island, eating chocolate-covered bugs would help keep you alive. They actually have protein and calcium.
But why on Earth would someone eat candy that has no nutritional value and makes you want to vomit?
Speaking of which...
A dozen or so years ago, Jelly Belly came out with a special line of disgustingly-flavored jelly beans.
You could be the first kid on your block to eat jelly beans flavored like (I’m not making any of these up) vomit, snot, kitty litter, spoiled milk, earwax, tobacco juice, dead fish, and other flavors I won’t mention in a family newspaper. Feel free to look them up on Jelly Belly’s website, if you want.
Naturally, someone brought a box of them into the Gazette office, and naturally some members of the staff felt compelled to try them.
I particularly remember the editor trying a vomit-flavored jelly bean, saying, “It really does taste like vomit!” and nearly heaving his lunch all over the carpet.
I declined to try any.
Last week the youngest kid in the Dixon house decided to gross out one of her friends by buying a box of candies designed to look like dead animals in jars of liquid: snakes, frogs, lizards, and spiders.
I held up the one with the candy spider in it, and could feel my upper lip curling with disgust.
Nope, I still don’t get it.