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What's Worse Than Getting a Rock in Your Trick-or-Treat Bag?

10/17/2012 06:18 pm ET | Updated Dec 16, 2012

"Once I got broccoli for my trick-or-treat."

A little boy told me that 17 years ago when my daughter and I visited his class to do a feature story on Halloween. I was the news director for the local radio station, and stories like this were among my favorites.

You'd think a statement like that would've inspired a few followup questions from this award-winning journalist, but no. I blame it on sleep deprivation. I was still nursing Katie around the clock while getting to the station almost every morning by 6:30 a.m., and working many nights until 10 p.m. so I could cover a city council or school board meeting.

Then there was the bedlam of 30 kids in the first grade crowding around a microphone.

But broccoli? Really? In his trick-or-treat bag? Was it raw? Did it come with a little packet of vegetable dip? Was it dipped in... chocolate?

The me who's 17 years older wants to tell that reporter to let the teacher hold the baby, suggest the other kids pipe down for a minute, and draw this child out a little more.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not upset with myself for not working harder or even smarter. I'm just genuinely curious. I made it the title of the story, for crying out loud: "Broccoli Is Not a Treat."

Milk the moment, I say. Don't let the real story go flying past you under the guise of meeting a deadline.

I once had a friend who was the inverse of a role model. She was always in a hurry to get somewhere, so she could race through whatever it was -- and leave to get somewhere else.

It makes me wonder what the finish line is. What, exactly, does all the posting and texting and bugging out of one meeting to drop in on another one lead up to?

A career consultant I talked with recently suggests that before you go to sleep, replay your favorite 15 minutes of the day. What were you doing? Who were you with? What did you have to show for that time?

I'll lay odds you weren't trying to do two things at once.

I'll never forget my dad watching my two youngest sisters as they gazed at their pet hamsters. "Kids have the secret to life," he announced. He admitted if he was watching the hamsters they'd only get part of his attention. The rest would be on the work he should be doing.

So as we approach what I consider a sweet holiday, a suggestion. That you spend an extra few seconds with each of those little doorbell ringers. Try to imagine what it would be like to be their age, going to such extremes to get candy.

But it's fun, you say?

That's because you don't live in Minnesota, where "Halloween" and "first big snowstorm of the season" are usually ominous -- I mean, synonymous. And pierced earrings speed frostbite -- just so you know.

And finally, don't give broccoli to little kids. It's not a treat.

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