If you are not familiar with candy buttons, they are the little dots of flavored sugar attached to paper. They tend to sell them nowadays at more retro-style candy joints in jars or in drugstores handing from a peg in a bag. When I was a kid, we could get the candy buttons by the foot.
So you would go into our local store and say, give me 4 feet of candy buttons and they would give you 4 pieces of paper all pre-cut. You would then race outside and begin gnawing the bits of hard sugar off of the paper. Often getting more paper in your mouth than candy. This bothered me a great deal as a kid and I took great pains to try to remove the buttons without getting any paper on them. It was tedious work, but it made the buttons last a whole lot longer.
My good friend on the other hand went in the opposite direction. He would rip off maybe 4 inches of buttons paper and then just shove the entire wad of paper in his mouth and begin chewing. When he started eating them this way, he would eventually spit out the paper, but then he got into the habit of just chewing on it until it completely dissolved in his mouth.
I did try this method a few times. I figured it would stretch out the candy a bit longer, but I couldn’t handle it. Even now, I cannot think about this without feeling a little queasy. The paper would get hard and difficult to work and the sweetness would completely disappear. Leaving you with a lump of dyed paper.
It was just one of those weird quirks that has stuck with me over the years. And sometimes when I see a bunch of candy buttons it makes me think of my buddy and I smile. Then I remember the feeling of that wad of paper in my mouth and I gag just a little.