I’m sitting here, in my new P.J.s and my new slippers, between a pile of wrapping flotsam and a teetering tower of tins full of shortbread, sugar cookies, fudge, and nut brittles.
You would never know, visiting us this morning after, that ours is a family working constantly to cut back on added sugars in our diet.
I spoke with a reporter the other day. She was asking questions about how we manage food in our household and how I personally manage food to maintain my 100-lb. weight loss, fight off diabetes. I told her when sweet foods come into the house, I ask my husband to help me by removing them or hiding them. Sometimes I can pitch the food myself, but many times I need my husband’s diabolical mind and his access to ravenous students to move the supply to areas of demand.
The reporter, being a writer and a muck-raker, leapt on that passive expression. “How,” she asked, do sweet foods “come into the house”?
And I was both surprised that she had to ask (Doesn’t sugar just show up in everyone’s lives all the time?), and a little troubled at my inability to put my finger on the actual source of the stuff. Sweet things seep in under the door. Treats come in stuck to people’s shoes. My family sneezes cookies. Friends shed sugar all over the floor. It shows up, okay? It does. It just does.
I didn’t bake this year. Didn’t use sugar or flour at all to make any holiday treats. Didn’t bake for the neighbors or my family. I didn’t decide actively to do this. I have held out the possibility that I would get around to it, but I ran out of time, and chose sleep over the late-night baking binges of years past.
I thought it would be hard to not bake, not have anything to feed well-wishers and droppers-in. And, well, frankly, baking is one of the few things I do really well. There are family recipes that went undone, my killer ginger marmelade rugelach that exists in memory only, truffles that went undipped. I made none of it. It didn’t hurt a bit.
And yet, here I am, sitting in the shadow of this leaning tower of treats. I’d say, pound for pound, there’s as much sugar in my house this year as in any year past. Creamy fudges, salty-sweet buckeyes, almond cookies, sugar cookies, twists, sprinkles, mints and more. Whether people feel sorry for my husband, or this is residual paybacks for years past, I’m not sure, but in my most passive year ever, the sweet stuff has appeared. How? Who is responsible? Should I have put a sign on the door? Issued warnings in my Christmas cards? Well, when I get around to sending Christmas cards, I mean?
Am I even asking the right question? Hey, wait a minute. Why do we assume sugar is inanimate at all? We have always assumed it. But perhaps that’s our mistake. We naive humans. Silly ancient species stuck on simple cause and effect.
Maybe sugar is its own force, a higher form of hive intelligence blanketing our planet like a fungus. Perhaps it carries a collective intelligence, and an intention that is not as sweet as its presentation. This would explain so much. It would explain the way it multiplies and changes form to disguise itself (high fructose corn syrup, fruit syrups, rice syrup, syrup syrup, and all those things ending in -ose). It would explain how it moves world economies, jumps oceans, mulches humans, puffing them up then breaking them down. We are one fermenting, bubbling planet, probably soon to become a bon-bon stuffed in some geometrically larger galactic being’s holiday tin.
Ah ha, ha ha. Yes, Virginia. And our house is a target. The more we try to fight this onslaught, the more concentrated the borganistic bubbling fungus becomes. It started around Halloween, dribbling in in dollops and chunks, with the flow picking up considerably by Thanksgiving, and finishing (I hope), in a near avalanche yesterday. EeeeeeEEEeee!!!
And there it is, this tower of stuff, staring at me through it’s beady buckeyes, in its mute intention to eat me alive, sure of its superior intellect, confident that its prevalence makes fighting against it futile. Lower your shields and surrender your ship. You will be assimilated.
Ah, but I have something the sugar borg doesn’t have. I have my will. Or I did have. It’s around here somewhere. It’s under the wrapping paper, or perhaps stuffed in a closet somewhere. But it’s here.
I’m going to shake it off. I’m going to press out the wrinkles in my will power and put it on again, good as new. And I’m going to save my family and myself from this sugar infestation.
Ready to fight the good fight?
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