Fake Candle, Real Light

by Bob Schwartz

I keep a flameless LED candle on a table. I frequently light the candle, by a switch on the bottom (it also has a timer). It is not the kind that is meant to look like a wax candle, or one that hides the obviously fake plastic cutout of a flame. It is what it is: a battery-powered white plastic cylinder that lights up and “flickers.”

Someone came by and suggested I might better have a real candle with a real flame burning. She called the candle “ersatz.” My first answer is that keeping real candles burning unattended is unsafe and possibly messy. But that’s not my real answer.

The light from this candle is real. When I walk into the dark room, it lights the way. When I light it, it brightens. When I turn it off, it darkens. True, if I were expecting the candle to warm me, it won’t do that, although a single candle isn’t much good for that anyway. I don’t know what more I could ask of this candle (remember, it has a timer, and so can even turn itself on and off).

That light is quite real enough for me.