all of the selves we Have ever been
It is an anxious time.
News of the world gnaws at my soul. Worry gnaws at my mind. I am hungry.
I wear a path to the refrigerator.
But it’s a trick.
The hunger I have isn’t for food, but all of that nervous energy leaves me restless and depleted. It propels my feet into the kitchen.
Unfortunately, my mind is never satisfied with broccoli or Brussel sprouts. Oh, no! My mind screams for sweets. I am not the first to turn to baked goods in the face of a revolution. History provides precedent. Marie Antoinette is credited with saying, “Let them eat cake.” Perhaps she understood that cake calms shattered nerves.
In the meantime, I fear we are in for the long haul. Revolutions take time to gain momentum and time to quell. Man may not live by bread alone, but this gal is thinking of giving it a try. I will be wedged into my apartment like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon by the time the revolution is over. What to do?
I turn to sliver theory: calories fall out of baked goods when baked goods are sliced. This vital information was passed down to me from my ancestors.
My mother grew up with six sisters, and I grew up listening to these sisters endlessly converse about weight and diets. This frequent topic of conversation usually took place in a busy kitchen full of women stirring, baking, and tasting. It is where I learned a corollary to the sliver theory: tastes are calorie-free.
By the time all of the cooking was done and the main course devoured, the proper response to an offer of dessert was, “Just a sliver.” It was a way to earn self-esteem and actual brownie points for a place in heaven.
Baked goods are the only foods that can be divided into slivers. How much is a sliver? That can lead to some disagreements because a sliver is a concept, not a specific measurement. How much is a sliver? The answer remains in the eye of the beholder. Too large, it allows the recipient to say, “Oh, no! That’s too much for me.” (This could make it awkward for the ones who really wanted a slab and not a sliver.) Offer a sliver too small, and that might be interpreted by a sister as an insult, an indirect commentary on her figure.
I have been known to use the ancient and debunked sliver theory to convince myself that I am in charge of my appetite. I typically call upon the sliver strategy when under duress. I once ate an entire Snackin’ Cake during work on an important graduate school assignment. Or should I say, while avoiding an important graduate school assignment. I got myself so worked up about the project that I was convinced I was starving. I mixed up and baked a yellow Snackin’ Cake. When it was out of the oven, I told myself I would have “just a sliver” and get back to work. Each time I re-approached the assignment, I returned for another sliver. Pretty soon I had finished the entire cake, but not the assignment. I will never forget John Maynard Keynes. Or Snackin’ Cake.
Turning troubling events over in my mind is strenuous exercise. It requires carbohydrate loading and a mood elevator to get me to the next floor. When I think about what to eat next, those thoughts give my mind something other than my worries to chew on. In our current circumstances, I am hoping that I am burning a lot of calories by walking back and forth to the kitchen, standing to eat over the sink, and all of that opening and closing of refrigerator and cupboard doors.
I fear that I will be in a diabetic coma by Inauguration Day. If I am, someone please…
tell the National Guard to throw cupcakes at the mob.