My road to hell will be paved in sugar. I’ve tried to give up sweets, but can’t – not even for reasons of weight, dental health or religion. I need sugar like Easter needs Peeps. Some people remember favorite television shows from their childhood. I remember favorite candy commercials. I remember my most favorite: an animated spot for Tootsie Rolls where a boy walks through a world where everything magically became a Tootsie Roll.
“Whatever it is I think I see,” he sang, “becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!”
To which the chorus would respond, “Tootsie Roll I think I’m in love with you.”
In love, indeed, I thought.
It’s not my fault I can’t quit. I blame the media. I spent unsupervised hours in my room salivating over candy and snack commercials, and my requests kept our kitchen well-stocked with Oreos (“It’s a creamy hit and chocolate sensation, Oh! R! E! O!”), Chips Ahoy and Kit Kat bars (“Gimmee a break, gimmee a break, break me off a piece…”). Yum.
I even blame my family.
My grandfather had his own beautifully white teeth all his life, despite the candy stash he hid under his Sunday hat. I looked forward to visiting him when I was a very small child. We’d each choose fistfuls of our favorites – Brachs toffees wrapped in gold foil and caramel cubes for me, Hershey’s kisses and Mary Janes for him – and share his recliner in front of the television. The memory of napping on his belly after being indulged with candy is heaven enough for me.
I can’t get away from my need. Travel abroad exposed me to new cultures, languages and candy! Bimbo cookies and baked goods in the Caribbean. Buttery shortbread and scones in England. Milky, creamy chocolate in Ireland. Churros in Spain – but no jelly beans! My mother shipped me two pounds muy pronto while I studied there.
I enjoy my nieces and nephews because they are funny, smart and share my love of Swedish Fish, Laffy Taffy, Sour Patch Kids, Watermelon Slices and Starburst (“You’ll get a burst the moment that you bite into a Starburst fruit chew, a burst of refreshing fruit flavor for you!”).
I could get rid of my muffin top and mood swings if I stop eating so many sweets. Things get really ugly when I try to quit, though. Desperation has driven me to down sugar packets, feast on honey and dig through the bottom of purses for linty hard candies. If there’s a line I won’t cross, I haven’t found it yet. All I know is everyone better be well beyond it when I’m on the rampage for something sweet.
I’m being realistic as I approach Lent this year. I acknowledge my weakness and that I’m a much, much worse person if I don’t give in to it. I will surely land in hell if my sacrifice of sweets drives me to sacrifice everyone around me. So on this Fat Tuesday, I say let the good times roll tonight and for the next 40 days of Lent.