While I probably wouldn't be considered
stupid by the majority of the public, I have recently begun noticing
that I make some suspicious choices when under pressure. I have already
broached the subject of my inability to properly decide and place my
order in fast food restaurants, especially in the drive thru.
Presumably, a normal person would take advantage of their time spent
waiting in line by deciding what they will order. On the other hand, I
usually just stare into space or look at the serial numbers on my dollar
bills to see if any of them say 955, since apparently I think 95.5
WPLJ's promotion circa 1988 is still valid. When I get to the front of
the line, I lose it and just spit out an order with enough food for
For some reason, I am finding myself
making ridiculous choices more often when faced with another food
related situation: vending machines at work. I don't eat too much candy
at work, since if I allowed myself the option, I would literally sit
there all day eating it like a male version of Cathy. This is also why
even though I buy multiple boxes of fruit snacks, I only bring in a
packet per day. A few weeks ago I figured I would save myself a step
and just keep the whole box in one of my drawers, and I wound up eating
an entire box of America's Choice Sharks fruit snacks in the span of
about three hours. And that was while attempting to pace myself.
So most candy I bring in is hard candy.
However, sometimes I feel like I need a reward, for having made it
through the day without killing myself. It is in these times of
fulfillment where I find myself face to pane with my candy dispensing
co-worker. In theory, buying something from a vending machine should be
no problem; there's no ordering pressure. If there is someone who wants
something from it, I let them go ahead of me, giving one of those
idiotic half-smiles while mumbling "I don't know what I want yet."
Unfortunately, I usually emphasize the "mumbling" aspect too much, so I
wind up looking like some creep who likes hanging out in front of
vending machines while talking to myself. Although that's probably a
step up for my reputation at work, so hey, bonus.
The vending machine also lacks human
interaction, and that is a definite plus for me. What I'm beginning to
hypothesize is that since the purchasing procedure is so simple, I have
begun to get cocky and even worse, I have begun to get adventurous.
For reasons unbeknownst to myself, buying something I already know I
like seems like a waste. The vending machine usually has Snyder's honey
mustard pretzels, dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, tropical Starbursts, and
lots of other good stuff, so a lack of good options isn't an excuse.
This whole problem started about two
months ago. While perusing my options, I noticed an "extra crispy" Big
Kat. "Now with twice the crisp!" screamed the packaging. Why this intrigued
me, I don't know. Especially since I hate Big Kats. I love Kit
Kats, and hate Big Kats for the fact that they have too much crisp. Why
the hell would them adding more crisp make me want to try it?
Had there been a bowl of fun size extra crispy Big Kats in someone's
Halloween candy jar, sure, giving it a chance makes sense. But by
choosing the extra crispy Big Kat over other vending machine options, I was denying myself so many
far superior choices.
Here's the strangest part of the whole
story... it wound up being really good. I learned that by taking a
chance and giving it a second try, I got to enjoy something I might have
never had again.
Actually, that's a lie. It sucked.
Compounding my disappointment was the fact that I knew it would
suck, and that I would hate it. Why would I buy it? Is it some sort of
passive-aggressive acting out of my subconscious, trying to get me to
harm myself in the wimpiest way possible? Is this the high fructose
corn syrup version of cutting? I have no answers.
You might be assuming that this
experience should have taught me a valuable lesson, that from then on I
should stick to reliable sources of vitamin Sugar. I was determined
that the next time I bought a snack, it would have to not only be
delicious, it would have to be extra delicious in order to make
up for my previous mistake. Well, as the saying goes, "Fool me once,
shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Jerry Seinfeld." And if that
isn't the actual phrase, it should be, because the wacky arguing of the
ambulance drivers in one of the early episodes of Seinfeld is the only
reason I can fathom for why I made my next decision.
In theory, buying Chuckles doesn't
sound like that bad of an idea. They seem like a good candy, and
Chuckles don't attempt to hide the fact that they are absolutely devoid
of any nutritional value. Anything that is coated in a layer of visible
sugar can't be all bad. I see them everywhere but have never heard of
anyone in real life eating them; but if they're still being sold,
someone must be buying them. And a few weeks ago, for reasons that
will never be quite known, I became one of those people.
Already, this purchase was better than
the extra crispy Big Kat, since I didn't go into it knowing I would hate
it. I just bought it knowing it was sort of an old people candy that I
have never had the slightest bit of interest in. It was a strange
decision, but at least it had a small bit of logic. I sort of like
those Sunkist Fruit Gems, which seemed similar to Chuckles. Unlike
Chuckles, I had never actually purchased Fruit Gems, only eaten them
when they found their way into my possession.
I sat down and opened the package of
Chuckles, which proceeded to dump approximately half a cup of loose
sugar into my lap. Off to a great start. It took about ten minutes to
get the sugar off me, as it is made of a space-age polymer that resists
being brushed off, and instead clings to every pant fiber like a tick.
What could possibly make or break my
entire week was the decision I was making... should I eat the
suspiciously colored Chuckle? It was a dark blue-purple, and in certain
lights could be considered black. Chuckles is an old school candy, born
and bred in a time when nonchalantly inserting a black licorice flavored
candy was considered socially acceptable. At the same time, the flavor
could be grape, and passing up grape candy is normally foolishness of
the highest degree. The dark Chuckle was not giving off any tells of
the flavor it contained. Its smell was vaguely unpleasant, but not in
the typical black licorice revulsion way. Not that I was entirely
thrilled at the prospect of eating a candy that tasted like grape jelly.
Grape candy is fantastic, but grape jelly-esque candy? Kind of creepy.
In retrospect, the size of the bite I
took was far too bold of a step; I had bitten off the majority of the
piece. My boldness would soon spell my doom, as I quickly found myself
sodomized by flavor. The black licorice awfulness, which had
been patiently hiding itself within the Chuckle, suddenly attacked my
taste buds from every angle. I was panicking. Trying desperately to
remove the flavor as soon as possible, I quickly put the entire lime
Chuckle in my mouth and devoured it. I dodged a bullet in that it
actually did turn out to be lime and not green apple. Black licorice
and green apple together could form a flavor villainy that would not
hesitate to kill a man. Fortunately, the lime Chuckle did a decent job
of reducing the black licorice flavor in my mouth. I can't actually say
whether the lime Chuckle was that good or not, as its sole purpose was
palate cleansing. It died so that my taste buds could live. Farewell,
brave green Chuckle.
After eating the red Chuckle, I
realized that I lucked out by choosing the green one to wash out the
black licorice flavor. Had I eaten the red Chuckle immediately after,
it is very possible that my tongue would have melted. Quite simply,
the red Chuckle tastes like the worst aspects of Robitussin and Chloraseptic combined. Looking on the bright side, I assumed the last
two Chuckles would have to be better, if only by default. The lemon one
was pretty decent and the orange was quite good.
My innocent decision to try Chuckles
turned into a fearful adventure similar to Indiana Jones being chased by
the giant boulder, if the giant boulder had caught up to him and
As you may have guessed (if you have
decided to actively participate), this was not the end of my horrible
snack-related decision making. In fact, my battle was only halfway
In other words... fifty percent.