“We’ve got to go shopping if we want to get Em’s Christmas gift to Malaysia on time,” Deb said last week. “And we need Halloween candy.”
“Noooooo!” I cried. “Don’t get Halloween candy yet!”
“I’m not going to not buy Halloween candy just because you’re worried you’re going to eat it all,” she said. “Just don’t eat it.”
Easier said than done. Chocolate and confections are designed to crush will power. Chocolate alone is famous for releasing pleasure-inducing endorphins. That’s science, and you can’t argue with science (unless you’re the Harper government).
I would therefore like to blame science for the insatiable sweet tooth that I’ve developed over the last few years. In more glass-half-full moods, I try to think of it as a lifestyle choice, a lifestyle that includes sugar crashes and canker sores. Sometimes I spin it as policy: No Pez Left Behind, or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Me You Ate All The Kit Kats.
Mostly, though, I consider it a habit tinged with regret and telltale stains. When you start raiding bags of Chipits at midnight, you know should be scanning the Yellow Pages for support groups.
And it’s not even my fault (says the addict). Deb buys most of the chocolates and treats, and then she doesn’t touch them.
“Why do you buy them if you don’t eat them?” I complain.
“Because I might want one,” she says.
“But James and I end up eating them,” I say.
“Don’t eat them then. They’re mine.”
James and I end up eating them.
“I’ll buy you more,” I say sheepishly.
Never is the temptation greater than at Halloween, which is no longer just a day but a full season, like the Christmas season and the sports labour-conflict season. Early in October, store shelves begin to swell with cheap candy, poorly made masks and plastic body parts, which is both symptomatic of something twisted in our culture and another thing we can blame on cheap Chinese imports.
And while it might be easy to bypass the Bloody Brain in Syrup at your local Dollarama, those boxes of Fun-Size chocolate bars at the grocery store are another kettle of Twix.
“We’re sweet, and tiny and mostly harmless,” they call out. “We’re like a box of tiny Olsen twins.”
Sure, but after I’ve eaten a dozen, they turn into tiny David Spades, and that pleasantly endorphined brain turns into a Willy Wonky stomach.
Here’s an example of what happens: I come home at midday to let the dog out. I’ve had lunch at work and now I’m craving a little something sweet. I walk in, clean up the garbage the dog has gotten into (“Bad dog! That stuff’s not good for you!”), let the dog out, and, while she’s taking care of business, I get a Fun Size Mars bar from the candy bowl. Might as well make it two for double the fun. In four meagre bites, they’re gone. Maybe one more.
And three more in my pocket to take back to work for later.
I eat them as soon as I get back to work.
“Bad Ross! That stuff’s not good for you!”
So you see how helpless I felt when we ended up at a Sherbrooke department store, which we’ll call MallWart (“Nooooo!”), and why I groaned as we approached the mausoleum of munchies.
“This is for Halloween,” Deb said. “Stay out of it. Or do you want me to buy you one just to have?”
“No. I don’t want it. I don’t need it.”
At home, the boxes and bags ended up in the basement, out of sight, out of stomach.
Later that evening, I heard a rattle, and then the distinctive sound of Caramilks and Snickers tumbling into a bowl.
“Hey, I thought you didn’t buy any to open now,” I protested.
“I didn’t say James couldn’t have one,” Deb said.
I don’t feel so good.