When we were little, my parents allowed us to choose our own birthday dinners. Every year I’d choose pancakes. My dad thought that was adorable, but my sister wasn’t impressed. She was more of a carb girl, and chose macaroni and cheese for her special dinner (Sister three wasn’t yet born).
All I ever wanted was sweets. And if it wasn’t packing sugar, I’d pour on the maple syrup. My Lithuanian grandmother would make us perogies, and, and I’d even put maple syrup on those too.
My love affair with sugar has never abated, even though we’ve had to part ways. The jury seems to be out on whether or not sugar feeds cancer cells, but I now for sure it makes me fat, and also makes me crazy.
Last week I was visiting my mother Violet. As is her tradition, she sends me home with one of my childhood favorites – and this time it was a bag of licorice. I put it in the glove compartment, and drove home. As I drove, I tried not to think about the candy that was three feet away. Instead, I chewed on the bag of carrots, which were intended to keep me busy.
But as soon as I hit the highway, I leaned over and grabbed the candy, and ripped open the bag with my teeth. Licorice babies! I counted out ten little black babies, and put them in the drink holder, so I could nibble them one by one, limb by limb. I took the first one and bit of his head. Then feet. Then the entire torso. The other nine I just jammed in my mouth and practically swallowed them whole.
Annoyed with myself, I hurled the bag over my shoulder towards the rear window. I should have actually thrown them right out the window because when I stopped for gas I found the bag, and ate another handful, after which I tied the bag with a tight knot and stuffed it in my overnight bag.
One pee break later I had the bag back in my hands. As I drove, I opened the bag with my teeth. My remaining twenty chewy black babies flew out and landed everywhere! Perfect. Now they were less accessible. Avoiding them should be easy.
So as I steered with my left, I groped around with my right and when my fingers would come across my licorice treats I’d triumphantly pop it in my mouth. This is what sugar does to me. It’s worse than crack, or as I imagine crack to be. Cus it’s the only thing that would me lose control.
Two days late I was driving, and noticed one last licorice baby on the floor. And this is what I thought: ‘If I put the car in park, and slide the seat back, I can scooch down and retrieve it before the light turns green’. So I did. And I also know how I must have looked to anyone looking into my car. A middle-aged lady rooting around on a dirty boot mat. And to that I’d like to add hormonally charged, emotional wrought, and often mentally imbalanced.... and triumphant! I found my filthy licorice baby before the light changed, and ate it.
And it was delicious!