I’m a father. I like sugar. I’m a sugar daddy.
No? Not how that works? I do like my sweets, though. Always have. I don’t know where the sweet tooth comes from, whether it’s something I was born with or the result of my upbringing—nature versus NutraSweet. Our mother did serve us desert after most meals growing up, but I think it’s going too far to declare my gateway drug was Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
In fact, other than Mom’s own baking there weren’t a lot of sweets in the house, which is why my brother and I were sometimes reduced to rooting out the secret location of the chocolate chips. I remember one time taking a crack at block of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, not a mistake I went on to repeat.
During our annual three-week vacation to the cottage, on the other hand, there was candy and chips and even pop! Ben’s sticky buns! All the good stuff we never had the rest of the year. I remember coming home after the three weeks and always feeling the house seemed a little different, and I am only now wondering if it wasn’t merely because I was peaking on a 21-day sugar high.
The rest of the year (besides the aforementioned desserts and contraband Chip-Its), sugar intake involved trips to Jim’s One Stop. As a teenager, many a Friday night concluded with a tin of A&W Root Beer and a pack of Junior Mints while watching “SCTV,” because that’s just how popular I was.
But I never felt like sweets were always present, nor do I feel like I had to have sugar all the time.
Ten years ago, though, I stopped drinking alcohol. No sweat. Giving up alcohol was relatively easy for me. The sugar in alcohol, on the other hand, forget it. I was immediately jonesing for jelly beans.
I wonder sometimes if sugar wasn’t around whether I would miss it, but it is always here. We have what we call the junk drawer that is literally filled with junk food. It’s not necessarily my doing.
“Why do you buy it?” I ask Deb.
“In case I want it.”
“But I end up eating it.”
“Well, don’t eat it.”
But she never does eat it, and it just sits there, until I eat it, and then she immediately asks, “Where’s my [food-like item that is really bad for humans]?”
Then there are the seasonal treats. We still have Halloween candy, not because we’ve been rationing it but because we bought so much, and then the kids didn’t show up, which meant someone had to eat it (me). And then Halloween candy season ran into birthday candy season, which segued stickily into Christmas candy season. We’re still feeling the repercussions of that. And now we’re on the verge of Valentine’s candy season, which is really just a prelude to Easter candy season. After that, we’re safe for awhile, although we’ll probably still have Halloween candy til June. (The mini Crispy Crunch bars, the very last to go.)
Just today, as I write this, I thought I would try no sugar to see how that would go. But it was someone’s birthday at work, and there were brownies, and I didn’t want to be rude. Then at lunch, the cafeteria had chocolate pouding chomeur (brownies in sauce), and it was right there, so I had to pick it up, obviously. Then there was that bag of mixed candy on my desk, just a few left, so it only made sense to polish those off—you know, declutter my workspace.
The evenings are always bad. Just now, I hacked off a piece of dark chocolate almond bark left over from Christmas. It tastes ashen at this point, like something left in a drawer too long (a junk drawer to be specific). But I ate because it was after eight. We also have After Eights.
Sugar is a vice, but I think it’s my only vice. And at my age, aren’t I allowed at least one vice? If I want cookies-and-cream ice cream, shouldn’t I be able to have cookies-and-cream ice cream? If I decide to squirt Cool Whip on top of it to create cookies-and-cream-and-cream ice cream, shouldn’t I be considered a genius? Yes, I should.
They say if you give up sugar you’ll sleep better, have more energy and be less moody. I’m 55 years old; I don’t see any of those things happening with or without sugar, so pass me the Junior Mints and shut up while I pass out watching John Candy.