Better Living Through Nougat

I can trace the moment that I gave up on life to a fall day of my senior year in high school. Well, maybe it wasn’t a complete abandonment of all hope, but it was the day that I realized I could put momentary pleasures over any concern for my general health and well-being. It is a moment everyone has during their entry into adulthood. This could range from excessive drinking to promiscuous sex to marathon sessions of World of Warcraft in a darkened basement. My vice, however, came in the form of a surprisingly heavy brown cardboard box with the word “Snickers” emblazoned on its packaging, resting at the bottom of my locker. The perforated edges at the top of the open case formed the teeth in its demonic mouth, which called to me in a sound muffled by the tin in the locker door. “Eat me. Eat all of me, Cameron.” I simply couldn’t resist.

During my senior year, I was part of the student body officers of the prestigious Cyprus High School of Magna Utah; home of scholars, champions, and some several hundred other kids who fit into neither of those categories. I held the office of second-vice-president, the responsibilities of which included changing the letters on the outdoor marquee, doing the morning announcements, and covering for the vice-president, should she be unable to fulfill her duties due to heavy menstruation. The benefits of holding office were innumerable. We had diplomatic immunity when it came to skipping out on class. The chemistry test takes a back seat to the urgent matter of counting the votes for the Homecoming queen (who, interestingly enough, also later “took a back seat”). We had an “SBO” room that was really just a repurposed janitor’s closet with a couch. The room was meant as a place for us to meet and discuss pressing matters involving the students we represented. It was also a great place to make out and/or sleep during school hours. Mostly sleep.

Another responsibility of the sacred office, as well as a benefit, was that we got to run the show for school assemblies. While most students used the assemblies to ogle the cheerleaders or complain about how stupid the assemblies were, it was our responsibility to rally up the pep in our oft pepless peers. After some theorizing, we realized that spectators at any sporting event become infinitely more excited when there is an infinitesimal chance that they will snag a free item launched their way during an intermission. The actual item doesn’t matter much as I once saw a man at a Utah Jazz game jab his elbow into the brittle ribs of a grandmother to maintain possession of a miniature plush basketball with a bank slogan on one side of it.

So, we decided that at a moment where the students’ interest in the assembly began to wane, we would run out in front of the bleachers and throw candy out to the masses. This elicited the response that we hoped for and got people to join in the frenzy. Being the logician that I am, I deduced that if an adequate response came from throwing out miniature taffies, then the larger the candy item, the greater the response. I put my postulation to the test the next assembly by throwing larger, chocolatey treats. The crowd went wild. Then, I discovered that the school administration had a secret cache of cases of full-size candy bars. I grabbed three of these cases and held them in my locker until the next assembly.

Between the Assistant Principal discussing the no-tolerance sexual harassment policy and the dance team performing to Divinyls classic “I Touch Myself”, we ran on the court and threw out the candy bars to the amazed students. The next opportunity arose after the football coach spewed murderous threats against the local rivals for the next big game. Right after we left our seats to throw out the candy bars, the students stood up and cheered in rapt anticipation, not believing that their mere attendance could warrant such a reward. The next time we threw out candy was when the school band began performing “My Sharona” from the stands, one of only two songs they knew. I got up, whipped a Snickers out of the case, wound up and wildly threw the sucker like a frisbee. The bar flew, end to end, into the stands and over the outstretched fingers that longed for its caramelly goodness and directly into the face of Gary Mortensen, the tuba player.

In fairness, Gary's face had it coming.

A painful, prolonged squeal emerged from Gary’s tuba as he collapsed onto the bleachers. Apparently, Snickers not only satisfies your hunger, but it also satisfies Newton’s equation of relative velocity. He got a black eye and our campaign of projectile pep came to an end. The only problem was that now I was in sole possession of three cases of Snickers candy bars. In high school I was filled with much less contempt, and so I saw problems as opportunities instead of as catastrophes, which I see them as now. I kept the cases at the bottom of the locker. Before my calculus class, I grabbed one to give me that extra push I needed. I also had one after lunch as a kind of dessert, despite the actual dessert that I had during lunch. Then I had another before English to help me not be so depressed while reading Thomas Hardy, and then one more for the walk home. This is not just what happened the first day with the Snickers. This is more of conservative estimate of my daily routine.

I spent several weeks of my senior year eating between 4 and 7 full-sized candy bars a day. Not the fun size (a misnomer if I have ever heard one). We are talking a 6-inch long, 2-inch tall hunk of peanuts covered in at least five types of sugar and at least three kinds of sadness. Though I didn’t step on a scale to know how much weight I gained, I do know that I experienced occasional temporary blindness. My metabolism went on strike, and then eventually left me completely for a better job with some skinny kid in Reno. Occasionally, I bartered the Snickers to other students for cash or favors, but their value in my mind was as inflated as my over-run gastro-intestinal system, so I kept most of them to myself. For those few weeks, I lived like a king, which is where that particular size of candy bar gets its name.

I have continued my torrid relationship outside of this high school experience. I haven’t relived the orgiastic indulgence of those weeks in high school, but I admit I’ve been tempted by them on the grocery store shelves, like one might be with a former lover who once fed them an endless supply of candy bars. When I worked early hours, they made for an excellent substitute of an actual breakfast. It also doesn’t help that candy bar technology has brought us the new greatest candy bar, the Fast Break. If you haven’t had one of these, they are made by combining a myriad of caloric marvels (caramel, nougat, nuts, Nacho Cheese Doritos, fatback, Crisco, a fried egg) and then covering all those in chocolate and marketing it as an “energy snack”.

For many of my friends of other religious persuasions, it is currently the period of Lent. During this time, the faithful voluntarily give up something for 40 days to commemorate when Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness without Facebook. This seems like an excellent practice and a great opportunity for me to give up my chocolatey vice. Of course, my people (you know, the Mormons) invented the candy bar letter, putting chunks of candy bar in ice cream, and enshrouding our carrot slices with Jello. But I probably should take on the challenge and offer up this one sacrifice for even longer than the 40 requisite days. This means none of the succulent Cadbury Eggs, no stale Butterfingers at Halloween, no chocolate covered, marshmallow Santas and no deep-fried Snickers at the State Fair. Maybe this will renew my once positive and innocent outlook on life. Something has to. The time has come to say no to nougat.

Well, maybe after one last Fast Break. I haven’t had breakfast today after all.

And unless you find a "Milky Way" to pay me the "100 Grand" you owe, I will "Fast Break" your legs into "Reeses Pieces" and leave you for dead on "5th Avenue". Sincerely, "3 Musketeers".

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Cases of Snickers in your locker? What the heck? Did you share them? I love Snickers.....not that I would EVER eat 4 or more in one day. And, do tell, did you seriously make out with someone in the SBO "room"? Sinner. Also, who exactly was Homecoming Queen that year and how did she "take a back seat"?

Carmen Eggers said...

I am pretty sure we never danced to "I Touch Myself". Back then, Mr. C had a say in the music we danced to. These days though I am sure they are dancing to much worse.
I love snickers as well. It is really embarrasing when I go grocery shopping alone and decide to buy myself a candy bar. The cashier always leaves it out of the bag assuming it is for me and I am going to scarf it down as soon as I load the car. (Which of course is exactly what I do.) Good luck on giving up chocolate! I hope that after I have this baby I will be able to do the same. My major weakness is Cadbury Creme Eggs. I buy a 4 pack everytime I go shopping around Easter time. Then I tell my kids they won't like them so I don't have to share.
I am also curious to know about the Homecoming Queen!!

Cameron said...

As per your comments:
I really don't know who the Homecoming Queen was. I'll have to look it up. Any reference to her promiscuity is exaggerated/fabricated - so don't sue me for defamation.

Carmen, I would have said "My Humps", but I had to be chronologically accurate.

And thanks for commiserating with me about chocolate. Have you ever went to buy a 3 Musketeers and opted for something else because it was just too light? Yeah, me too.

Camille said...

"covered in three types of sadness"--Brilliant!

Now that I know of your choco-affliction, I am completely impressed by your ability to withstand the crackbury eggs...and want you to know that I will continue to bring them in to work just to torment you.

the b in subtle said...

i bought my ex-husband some chocolate body paint one valentine's and he said, "i wonder which part of my body we should paint first" and i replied, "YOUR body? i'm not the fucking chocoholic around here. YOU ARE." it sat in a drawer for about 3 months. i think i iced a cake with it. it was yummy. but um. you know. not as yummy as i'm sure it COULD have been. he's an ex now. you get the gist.

Cameron. i'm not addicted to chocolate. but i am addicted to your writing. i love it. almost as much as i love this bag of ruffles chips i'm eating. almost. *sigh*