1. Artichokes. Avocados. Kiwis. Or any other food that was very pricy when you were a kid and a rare, rare treat, so that even if its cost has gone down and its appeal is less compared with the contemporary luxury food items (like salted organic caramels that cost as much as a year of college) you still think of it as a luxurious splurge, bought only for the most special celebrations.
2. Tito. He was your childhood goldfish. He died or was given away or maybe just got prematurely flushed by Dad when he looked a little puckish and down at fin. No other goldfish will have the same sway on your affections.
3. A romantic comedy from Aaron Sorkin. Which he will never, ever make.
4. The backyard pool. Anybody else always assumed they'd grow up and have a backyard pool? With a twisty slide? And a trampoline?
5. "Walking around" money, the kind that the grandparents, beloved uncles and even sometimes bosses slip to you for no reason in particular with the understanding that you will spend it on something you would normally not allow yourself (because you don't need it and the economy is bad and you're trying to save more), such as a ritzy, cool Swiss watercolor set and two brushes. Despite the fact that you don't know how to paint.
6. A cold compress from Mom. An old, ragged, wet washcloth placed gently on your forehead doesn't cure the flu. But it sure makes you feel a whole lot better, especially on day three of a 103-degree fever, when you're convinced that nobody anywhere ever cares at all and you're going to spend the rest of your short, pointless existence sweating in a dark room. Luckily, you can pick up the phone and moan creepy, doglike, plaintive sounds into the receiver. Your mother will know it's you.
7. The thank you. From the person for whom you broke your back and part of your soul—but that never came. Which is an experience that forces you—horribly—to confront your motivations about giving.
8. Candy canes.
9. Candy corn.
10. Candy apples (but only at carnivals).
Next: Magic pills, tacky cards, and 9 more things we all really hope for