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 three people.
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 crushed him.
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 over.
In other words… fifty percent.