One of the things I love about kids is their unabashed honesty. One December, long ago, when my son was rifling through the Christmas Wish Book for the 800th time, my daughter asked him, “Is that all you ever think about…presents?”
“No,” replied my son. “I think about candy too.”
I must admit, we share this passion. While I have risen above candy bottle caps and dinosaur eggs, chocolate still has a vicious grip on my body.
We have a love-hate relationship, chocolate and I. I love the taste, hate the calories. Love the rush, hate the caffeine. Love the texture, hate the cramps. Love the variety, hate the headaches. Love the convenience, hate the price. Except at Easter.
Come spring the store shelves are filled with tinfoil encased Super Rabbits, hollow icing-smothered giant hens, and 50-pound bags of jellied eggs, all costing the same as an RV. But somehow, the cheap solid chocolate rabbit has survived.
Now I’m not talking exotic Swiss chocolate here. This is just one step up from last season’s chunk of chocolate that sits by the cash register in convenience stores and gets handled in passing by every money-short child. It didn’t matter though, it still gave me my chocolate kick.
There are certain times in my biorhythms when I craved chocolate like Santa craves milk and cookies. If I had to, I’d meet pockmarked men named Scud or Slash under damp bridges to buy it. I’d let the electrical bill go unpaid and sell my mother’s china. Combine this physical urge with a tough day and I’m one desperate consumer.
Some people come home after a tough day, fire up the sauna and mix a martini. I rifled through the cupboards, shoving aside unsalted nuts, yogurt-covered raisins and whole grain pretzels in search of the elusive chocolate bunny. With shaking hands, I peeled back the plastic and bit off his ears. I sighed with satisfaction, then chomped down. I picked up the cleaver and hacked his body into bite-sized pieces. On a really bad Friday, I’d run a damp finger along the bottom inside of the wrapper fishing for slivers.
Suffering from chocolate shakes, I’ve been known to dump half a bag of chocolate chips into two grilling pancakes. The rest of the chips, I mixed with ice cream.
Once I satisfied the compulsion and break the chocolate cycle, I avoided the stuff like a recovering addict. Generally someone showed up about this time with a gift of high quality chocolates. I was all right as long as I didn’t break the seal. Once that gold pull string tore through the plastic wrap, I was done for. The only thing worse than a chocolate bunny frenzy was a Nutcho pig out. The combination of chocolate and nuts was like gold and diamonds. Each complemented the other.
Now that I’m retired, I set up a plan to control my addiction and improved the quality of food I ingest. I try, as much as possible, not to have chocolate in the house. This will be my first Christmas without a pile of gifts from students, half usually chocolate.
Still, I can’t give it up completely. I put my husband in charge of my chocolate fix. I bought several dark chocolate bars and handed them over to him.
“Hide them,” I begged. “When I really need a fix, give me three or four squares.”
This worked really well, until he forgot where he hid them! That’s one way to get me to clean out the closets.