Jelly Bean Iconography

I’m not a Royal Wedding fan. In fact, my opinion of the British monarchy ranks right up there with trout fishing and ballroom dancing. I know there are people who love this stuff; it just doesn’t do a thing for me. But when I read this item buried in the “Royal Wedding” section of the Daily Telegraph, I just couldn’t resist:

A jelly bean resembling Kate Middleton’s face is set to fetch £500 at auction.

Imagine the surprise felt by the 25-year-old British trainee accountant when he opened up his 700g jar of jelly beans (oh happy day!) to see the face of Kate Middleton staring up at him on a yellow and red jelly bean!

The lucky guy and his girlfriend immediately recognized the financial opportunity in the mango bean, (he’s an accountant, after all) and they’re planning to auction it off on Ebay. That they think someone would actually pay for a jelly bean just because it looks like the princess bride says volumes about either their financial situation or their confidence in the wacko-factor of Royalty aficionados.

When the Telegraph contacted him about the amazing bean, the Joint Managing Director of the Jelly Bean factory in Dublin identified it as one of their mango beans, waxing poetic about their beauty: the natural speckles are unique to each and every jelly bean due to the handmade process. 

“Handmade process?”

Don’t tell me they make these things one at a time? Labor-saving equipment is a good thing! It prevents people from having to do mind-numbing tasks like spraying individual jelly beans with red dye number 2!

This is like claiming that God is sitting up in heaven carefully crafting each and every snowflake!

I don’t buy it. The only hands that should be involved in jelly bean manufacturing are those that sneak in and grab a handful when nobody’s looking.

Assuming someone does buy the bean, he or she will certainly have to invest in a hermetically-sealed shrine in which it can reside, lest the bean degrade in England’s damp climate. But the upside is that if the royal couple ever divorces, the bean will be well preserved and can be enjoyed as it was originally meant to be. Mango.

The best bit of the story was buried a little deeper in the Guardian. Constance Harding, the heroine of the novel A Surrey State of Affairs, wrote:

This discovery does not befit the status and dignity of a future Queen of England. I mean to say: a jelly bean? Why should the future princess’s regal features have manifested themselves in this lurid American confection instead of, say, a nice fruit scone or the delicious froth that accumulates on the top of an ice-cold jug of Pimms and Lemonade?

Shameful, really. Quite.

This story has a moral, and it has come just in time for Jelly Bean High Season (Easter): Always eat jelly beans one at a time. In addition to enjoying each flavor to its fullest, you never know what you might find in these lurid American confections.

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