We all have the power to conquer our obsessions, don't we? Isn't it true that only those of us who are weak of will and lily of liver cannot overcome compulsive behavior? I wish I knew for sure, for I have a confession to make: I am a chocoholic.
[quoteright'/>Yes, Joan Create-Your-Own-Happiness Price is a junkie. Now don't get me wrong -- I am not a junk food consumer. Quite to the contrary, I cook with fresh vegetables, hang out at health food stores, and avoid foods with any ingredients that I can't pronounce on the label. I even sincerely like yogurt.
And yet, in spite of these noble attributes, a transformation takes place when I face a succulent, dark chocolate brownie; an oozing, custard-filled chocolate eclair; a freshly opened, aromatic package of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies; a Narsai's mudslide; the Godiva counter at Macy's. Dr. Jekyll fades into oblivion and Ms. Hyde begins to salivate. I not only desire chocolate with every fiber of my mind and body, I cannot be satisfied.
I shake uncontrollably at the Mrs. Fields sign. I drool all over myself when pain au chocolat appears for breakfast. I could kill for chocolate cheesecake. I'd debase myself for a slice of chocolate velvet. I cannot allow myself to go alone to Larkspur Landing, the home of Unknown Jerome, the best chocolate chip cookie in the northern hemisphere. I embarrass myself by arriving, trembling, at Swensen's, where the attendant (a former student of mine) grins and says gently, "I know what you want," reaching for the mint chip ice cream.
I tell my high school English classes that there is no work that cannot be done more efficiently over chocolate chip cookies, and every Friday (and an occasional Monday through Thursday) is "cookie day." I have a week's worth of T-shirts with chocolate slogans; chocolate-scented (but, alas, not flavored) memo book, pencil, and eraser; and, of course, a subscription to Chocolate News. I am the only teacher I have ever heard of who stages a chocolate chip cookie bake-off as the final in Advanced Literature.
Were it not for the social convention that finds compulsive gluttony disgusting, I would behave even worse. I would lock my students out of the classroom as soon as they filled the cookie plates. I would eat the entire German chocolate cake and say I'd lost it. I would steal chocolate chips from orphans and mug Camp Fire Girls for their Almond Roca. I would hide chocolate mousse in my bed.
It's time for me to mature. No more sampler boxes. I've got to reform. If I succeed, I'll be able to attend meetings where refreshments are served without making a spectacle of myself. My friends will no longer avert their eyes when we pass a chocolate store. For the first time in my life, I'll be able to take just one bite of a hot fudge sundae. I have read no statistics on the probability of complete rehabilitation, but no challenge is too great for me.
Just as soon as I finish this one last batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Joan Price makes her home in Sebastopol, California, far from the crowded noisy bustle of big cities.
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