My bittersweet relationship with a sweet brown mistress
A new person entering a small workplace will inevitably alter the human equilibrium. Just as chaos theory predicts the fluttering of a butterfly wing can cause a cataclysmic event, the introduction of small habits can have big consequences.
Enter Jo: a talented, hard working and very personable colleague who has wonderfully enhanced our office in every respect… bar one. Jo has brought a coffee machine. As a garnish to the coffee she has beside her desk a jar of chocolates.
In many ways my life has been characterised by a stormy relationship with chocolate. True it is that in a world of shifting sands and moving goal posts chocolate has been a constant friend delivering consistent satisfaction on demand. Yet the legacy on my waist has been a girth approaching the dimensions of the MCG.
Firm in the knowledge that despite the depths of love, my affair with chocolate is ultimately a fatal attraction, I have long resolved to break up with chocolate.
For more than a year we have maintained the separation. Occasionally we see each other in the street – through a shop window or on a large advertising sign – but we have avoided contact.
Now chocolate has made her way back into my life taking up residence in the bosom of my office in the form of Jo’s chocolate jar.
When all have left for the day and there is only me and the chocolate jar left alone in the office she starts singing to me like the Siren of Capreae.
Jo is no help. With friendly intent she has encouraged all in the office to help ourselves. Had she instead asserted exclusive possession of the chocolate jar it would have at least put in play the moral question of theft when I sought to indulge, even if the heat of my chocolate passion would have made this a moral hurdle quickly jumped.
And so with the taste of sweetness on my lips, the unmistakable melting sensation in my mouth, and my will utterly broken I have engaged in forbidden love.
It started innocently enough: a single mini Flake before I turned out the lights and locked up the office. But by the third night I had committed a full scale binge.
Racked by the confused thoughts of a person possessed of a demon I reasoned that if I ate the whole jar of chocolates the issue would be settled once and for all and the chocolates banished forever.
The next morning I walked to my desk, my head bowed with shame and guilt, carefully avoiding eye contact with Jo or any other member of the office. Fully expecting a confrontation, Jo was a model of manners. Nothing was said and, worse still, by day’s end the jar had been refilled.
It was a nightmare. My affair with chocolate could not have come at a worse time.
With Easter looming she torments me in my dreams, often in the form of a Tulip white chocolate Easter bunny, with her long eyelashes, tall bunny ears, and beguiling smile.
She has controlled my thinking replacing rational thoughts with corrupting ideas: “I’m entitled to a treat even if I am on a diet”; “now that I’ve bought it I better eat it”; “I’m going to finish this 300g block and never touch chocolate again”.
Combined, these rationalisations allow for a whole scale, 24/7, consumption of the best food known to humanity. For my heart, my arteries and my belt it is a total calamity.
As I return home with my shirt hanging out because it no longer fits, with crushed tin foil in my pocket, and the tell tale smudge of chocolate on my mouth, my wife looks at me with disgust. She knows I have sinned and that chocolate is back on the scene. She shakes her head in the knowledge that she is married to a man with all the morals and will power of a seagull.
The kids don’t understand. They love chocolate too. But there is an innocence about childhood chocolate when growth spurts burn calories and colourful Easter eggs are part of the magic of growing up. Inevitably the extent of my depravity leads me to use them as accomplices in my cocoa crimes.
I’ve sought radical therapies. I once tried diet chocolate. But that turned out to be just as pointless as rice chips or light beer.
There is, I’m afraid, no alternative. This affair must end. The vixen must be vanquished.
As I make these resolutions in the solitude of my study my daughter enters the room. “Dad, we’ve run out of milk. Can we go to the shops?”
“Can I have a treat Dad?”
“Of course you can, Honey. Of course we can.”
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