Shelf Life: I Ate Toxic Waste Tonight

By Wynter Holden

Tonight, I went head to head in a schoolyard-style challenge that pitted my sensitive girlie palette against my man's testosterone-fueled taste buds. At first sight of Candy Dymamics' Toxic Waste Hazardously Sour Candy at the Dollar Tree on Kyrene & Chandler Blvd., I literally cackled. The yellow barrel was cute, but the logo of a stoned-looking mushroom cloud with gritted teeth and bloodshot eyes nearly loosened my bladder right there in the aisle. [Note: Check out their web site for additional faves like the Landfill of Doom game, Mr. Toxie wallpaper and Nuclear Sludge Chew Bar.]

Intrigued, I cracked the barrel open and saw individually-wrapped hard candies with a familiar challenge: How long can you keep one in your mouth? The possible scores ranged from "Total Wuss" at 15 seconds to "Full Toxie Head" at a minute. Toxic Waste even comes in assorted fruit flavors like blue raspberry, black cherry and apple, so you can pick whichever you find least revolting. No label warning about the stuff being an oral irritant would stop me. Bring it on, baby!

See, in junior high, my girlfriends and I would buy 10-cent Warheads and Cry Baby candies from the local ice cream man and test who could keep the super-sour sugary lozenges in their mouth the longest. I didn't hold the Queen Sourpuss crown -- that was our token tomboy Sandra, who once shoved 10 Warheads in her mouth and sucked 'em like a two-bit hooker -- but I was pretty damn close. I mean about the candy, not the hooker part.

So, the big question: How did I fare against a six foot, 200+ pound adult male?

He spat. I swallowed. End of story.

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