Is it just me, or is everyone missing the point of Valentine’s Day? Year after year, I hear the same old complaints.
— Wahh, our favorite restaurant is booked.
— Wahh, I can’t believe I’m still single.
— Wahh, my husband got me carnations on closeout at Kroger.
— Wahh, I was attacked by a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis and now I don’t have a face, Oprah.
Stop your whining. And look at all the heart-shaped Spree! So tangy and delicious in their colorful candy shells! Skittles, Smarties, SweeTarts … this is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. CANDY! Let the taste buds rejoice! HALLELUJAH!
I’m sorry. I get a little excited when it comes to sugar.
Actually, “excited” isn’t really the right word. “Deranged” is more like it. You could make a Lifetime movie about my sordid love affair with sweets, starring Melissa Gilbert and a king-size box of Jujyfruits.
Long before there was MySpace and Facebook, I launched a thriving social networking site for Gummy Bears in my small intestine. “You can eat the whole bag?” my husband would say. “How is that possible?” To which I’d respond, “How can you not eat the whole bag? There’s Gummy Bears in there!”
Not everyone can relate. Some of you were probably born with an off switch, that little signal in your brain that says, “LESSER QUANTITIES OF SUGAR HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO KILL LABORATORY MONKEYS.”
I don’t have that.
In fact, my book club once read a novel in which the main character would treat herself to one tiny square of chocolate each morning. Worst. Book. Ever. I hated this stupid woman! With her stupid one square of chocolate! Who does that? It rendered everything else in the book completely implausible. Except for the part where she cheated on her husband with the neighbor who was sensitive and had a pottery wheel. That is exactly the sort of thing a one-square-of-chocolate-eating woman would do.
And yet, part of me envies her discipline. In other areas of my life, I have it. I drink my eight glasses of water a day. Exercise five days a week. Work hard. Send permission slips in on time. Scarf down a half pound of Licorice All Sorts and still have room for dessert.
I’m out of control.
Which may be why this past Christmas, as the holiday treats rolled through my office and into my candy hospitality hole, I noticed I wasn’t feeling so hot. My skin tingled. My heart raced. My moods were erratic. It was as if my entire body was … flipping me the bird.
Could it be that all this sugar was … not good for me?
But just in case, I did an experiment. For one week, I bid farewell to the four Cs: Candy, Cookies, Cakes and ice Cream. And would you believe it? Within 24 hours, my body started sending me thank you notes. I felt so much better that one week led to another and … as this Valentine’s Day approaches, I feel like a whole new woman. Would you believe I’ve been living under the same roof with a 16-ounce bag of peanut M&Ms for the past two weeks, and I haven’t had one impure thought about them?
I’m serious. I couldn’t care less about those naughty, naughty little chocolates.
“I dreamt my whole life about being a mother,” says Heidi Jellison. “I never dreamt about a big wedding, honestly never even dreamt about the husband part.” Jellison, a 35-year-old concert harpist and harp teacher, laughs at this last bit, but then her face settles into a quiet solemnity.
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