Friday, February 1, 2019

Little White Baggy

Once and for all, for the last time, am I, or am I not addicted to delicious white chocolate yogurt covered pretzels?  I don’t want you to give me any of this, “It depends,” crap.   I want a simple “yes” or “no”.
I’ll wait.  I’m waitng.  Waiting...
What do you mean you can’t tell me?  I have to decide for myself?  You’re useless.  Go away.

Fine.  I’ll go straight to the experts and figure it out for myself.  I bet the good folks at The American Society for Addiction Medicine have a self-test or something.

I’m checking here now…
Seriously.  Those clowns could overcomplicate a balloon snake.

Wait.  I have a better idea.  I’ll just ask Dr. Google...
And Google sucks.  Here I am asking “am i addicted to yogurt covered pretzels” and all I get is advertisements for buying shipping containers full of said pretzels and recipes to make -Most Delicious Yogurt Covered Pretzels You’ve Ever Experienced- , and an offer for a free e-book on Life Changing Yogurt Covered Pretzel Vending Opportunity.  I’m sweating.  My hands are shaking.

I’ll just go with my gut.  Guts are smart.  Some say guts are smarter than brains and even smarter than our funbits.  My guts are definitely smarter than my funbits.

Guess what my gut says?  My gut says, “MORE DELICIOUS WHITE CHOCOLATE YOGURT COVERED PRETZELS!”  Maybe smartness is not the most reliable way to figure out if I’m addicted to delicious yogurt covered pretzels.  Smartness isn’t all that and a bag of chips as they say.

I’m realizing I jumped right into the deep question end of the pool without giving you any context.  Context is everything.  Without context a roach infested trap house in the bad part of town is just a house.  Here’s some context.
Most days here at Dancing Rabbit from about 4 ‘til about 6pm I go to Happy Hour downstairs where I’m staying here at The Milkweed Mercantile.  Usually it’s a quiet social scene; one friend warming himself in front of the fire, a couple at the bar naming a new drink they just concocted, and me watching the wood burn in the fireplace.  For weeks I’ve ordered a root beer and nursed it for an hour or so.  Twice, at the exhortation of the bartender, I tried a ginger ale, but I find myself returning to root beer.  Root beer is a nice accompaniment to the fresh popped popcorn I can’t stop shoving down my facehole.  Seriously, who eats popcorn this fast?  I’m an embarrassingly fast popcorn eater. Popcorn, however, is not the point.

On display in one corner of the room is an assortment of snacks.  Flavored chips in fanciful packages, gourmet chocolate bars, and the snack currently under discussion, delicious white chocolate yogurt covered pretzels.  They are white and slightly bigger than a quarter - and they are delicious.

A small bag, I’d say about 8 oz. is $2.00.  I held off for many weeks eating any of these little delicacies until one day I said, “What the hay T?  Live a little.  Have a little bag of pretzels.  They’re covered in yogurt so they are probably beneficial to your microbiome.”  I got a bag.  As a kid, I didn’t even know I had a microbiome.  Maybe it was not discovered yet?  I’m amazed how anyone survived as long as I have without knowing about microbiomes.

Every day since that first purchase with almost no exception, I’ve gotten another bag of white yogurt covered pretzels at Happy Hour.  I do share with my friends.  “Want a pretzel?  No, please have one.  Save me from myself.  I can’t stop eating them.”

You see when it comes to me and sweet, tasty things, almost every package I’ve ever encountered is a single serving size.  A pound of M&M peanuts - single serving.  A half gallon of eggnog - single serving.  A half gallon of Breyer’s Vanilla Bean with Fudge ice cream - single serving size.  A little baggy of delicious white yogurt covered pretzels - single serving.

I have even had a second bag at one Happy Hour.  I tried to save some one other time.  You know, seal up the bag, take it to my room and bring them down the next day - save a little money and a few calories.  I finished them off upstairs after dinner before going to bed that night.  I could have died in my sleep and left a half eaten bag of yogurt covered pretzels in my closet hidden in a little box.  What a shame that would have been.

There was a big Game Night planned the other night in town at a former Rabbit’s house, and I didn’t want to go empty handed so I bought 3 bags of pretzels.  I squirreled away one for myself, my own private stash, and I carried the other 2 openly where others could see I was not coming to the party snackless.  Well, we didn’t end up going to the party due to another stuck truck, and there I am awash in yogurt pretzel abundance.  I’m impressed with my willpower so far.  I took one bag to Happy Hour last night and finished it.  I have not gotten into the other two bags.  I hid them in the box in top of my closet as kind of a barrier to impulsivity.  So far so good.

One time I joked to the bartender that I have willpower.  “Hey Matt, I’m going to eat this whole bag of yogurt covered pretzels.”  And I did.  I have willpower.

I’m feeling a little disappointed in myself for returning to daily junk food eating after staying away for weeks and feeling good.  But are these really hurting me?  Was the clog in my left carotid that broke loose and scrambled my brain a couple years ago just a leftover piece of Chunk from all the Chunky Monkey ice cream I was eating or maybe the stroke was caused by a glob of cookie dough that got dislodged?  I’ll never know.  It’s hard to tell with these things sometimes.

So far, I haven’t lied to anyone about my pretzel eating.  I don’t think my personality changes for better or worse when I eat delicious white chocolate covered yogurt pretzels.  Maybe, if I go to Happy Hour hangry, pretzels may make me a nicer, more social person.  But is that too much sugar what with the root beer AND pretzels.  Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts?

If you read this and then comment on my pretzels eating next time you see me at Happy Hour, I might get a little defensive and call you a name or point out that you can’t stop shoving popcorn in your mouth.  (Actually, I’m the one that stuffs popcorn in his mouth.  Strange how I forgot about that so soon.  Oh hell no!  We’re not going to talk about popcorn too.  Nope. Not gonna do it.  Popcorn is off limits.)  Yogurt covered pretzels are legal in Missouri after all, and I’m a grown ass man, and I quit so many other things I’m not going to be denied this, and if the Goddess did not want me to eat pretzels she would not have made them so, so delicious.  I think we’re done here.

Sorry.  Maybe I got a little carried away, but now you get a better idea of what is going on.  Now you have context.  Maybe we can circle back to ASAM and see if I can get any clarity on my question, “Am I addicted to delicious white chocolate yogurt covered pretzels?”

(Another aside, I limited myself to only 1 jar of peanuts this week, and I did so good.  I bought the jar on Sunday, and they were gone by Tuesday, and I did not buy another one until Sunday, and I like writing run-on sentences, and I just wanted you to know I know what a run-on sentence is.)

I’m not hopeful, but I’ll revisit the ASAM folks, because they did, at least, have a definition of addiction.  Maybe together we can look at the background info I just gave you compared to what they say an addiction is and make some kind of reasonable guess as to whether or not I’m addicted to yogurt covered pretzels of the delicious chocolate covered variety.

Here’s the short definition of addiction from ASAM:
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Even this short definition sort of hurts my head, but I’ll look at that second paragraph specifically and break it down into simple questions answering a firm “yes” or “no” to each.

1.  Do I have an inability to consistently abstain from yogurt covered pretzels?  Yes.
2.  Do yogurt covered pretzels impair my behavioral control?  No.  Denial?
3.  Do I crave yogurt covered pretzels?  Yes.
4.  Do yogurt covered pretzels diminish my recognition of significant problems with my behavior?  No.  Denial again?
5.  Do yogurt covered pretzels diminish my recognition of significant problems with my interpersonal relationships?  No.  And another possibility of denial.
6.  Do yogurt covered pretzels lead me to dysfunctional emotional response?  No.  Shut up!
7. Have I quit eating yogurt covered pretzels, stopped for awhile, and then gone back to eating them?  No.  Only because I haven’t stopped yet.
8. Is it possible that my current consumption pattern of yogurt covered pretzels could lead to disability or premature death?  Yes.  One could get stuck in my carotid artery, get jiggled out and give me another stroke.

Well, there it is.  Right here in black and white, clear as day, I have my answer.

Thanks for going through this with me.  Having people like you around is what I really cherish in life.  If it was between you, and delicious white chocolate yogurt covered pretzel, I’d definitely hide a bag of yogurt covered pretzels in a box in the top of my closet and profess to be pretzel-free because you are more important to me than any silly, sugary snack.  I can hear myself -

“Of course you’re more important to me that a stupid bag of yogurt covered pretzels.  You’re the most important thing in this world to me.  You want me off the pretzels?  I’m off the pretzels.  Clear as day.”


  1. Ryan and I had some interesting conversation about addiction this morning, and this played right into some of the questioning I've been doing about things-not-white-chocolate-yogurt-covered-pretzel. I look forward to more discussion on this topic.

  2. So here I am sitting on the edge of my seat in one of those folding chairs with nice little beverage holders built into the arms of the chair. You know those chairs? They are pretty comfy and they fold up nicely and fit into a carrier sling/sleeve? Anyway, I'm reading T's story about yogurt pretzel addiction, start laughing so hard that the damn chair practically folds up around me!
    Dammit T! I think I'm addicted to your story writing!!

    1. Maybe I need to include one of those chairs with each blog subscription! Sounds like a fun combo D !