Today I stopped on the way home for a candy bar - a Payday, to be exact, with it's yummy sweet and salty combination.
I was reminded of years ago, the many evenings I walked "home" to my great-grandmother's house after math team practice.
Obligatory side note: yes, I'm a geek. I'm an engineer, for Pete's sake, remember? I was captain of the math team my junior and senior years, and I have an armor-plated letter jacket (covered in medals won at competitions) to prove it. Math team was my main extracurricular activity from 7th grade through graduation.
A fair number of those walks were accompanied by a Payday candy bar, hard-won by being first to answer some crazy complicated math question.
Our coach was Mr T, originally from Japan, and something like a cross between Mr Miyagi (Karate Kid) and Jaime Escalante (Stand and Deliver). One of his favorite training methods was "board races" - 2 or 3 teams of students competing, each team sending a person up to the board to work a problem. And sometimes these came with tangible rewards.
Candy bar questions were frequently difficult, and commonly pitted a smart underclassman against a seasoned upperclassman. There were soda questions too, and sucker questions got you a Tootsie Pop.
The young man who was captain my first year had a thing for orange Tootsie Pops, and there's usually not many of them in the bag anyway. Truthfully, I had a bit of a crush on him, seeing as how he was teaching me triganometry. And orange Tootsie Pops have been my favorite ever since.
Thing is though, there's no problem in life that you get soda money for solving; no bag of Tootsie Pops in the file drawer to reward a particularly clever answer.
So sometimes, you have to go buy yourself the candy bar when you've done a good job.