It sucks getting old!
It's bad enough that aches and pains take forever to heal but every few weeks, new nagging problems creep up. So in addition to everything else I have to put up with, in my late-forties, due to my highly advanced maturity and bodily sensitivity, a chain reaction deep in my innards led to health concerns and ultimately, the dread of dietary restrictions. That dagger in my heart resulted in my very, very best buddy...chocolate, being scratched off my A-List.
In my pre-school years, my earliest memory of loving chocolate was pudding. It was a delicious dessert but the real prize was watching mom make it and her letting me lick the spoon. Chocolate and I have been tight ever since. So ten years ago, I didn't take kindly to the first of many chocolate-related set-backs...my break-up with Hagen Daz, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip ice cream, (chocolate syrup optional but deeply appreciated). Since that split, my emotional and physical wounds have not healed...and probably never will.
Two weeks ago, my scars of chocolate deprivation opened up again, at the supermarket. The trigger mechanism combined being hungry and seeing all the Halloween candy advertisements. Soon, in the perceived safety of the toilet cleanser section, an intense chocolaty craving came over me. I excused myself from my wife and wandered over to see an old friend, the cookie aisle. My mouth-watering stroll down memory lane was highlighted by Chips Ahoy, chocolate covered graham crackers and chocolate peanut butter wafers.
In my sugar deficient trance, I must have looked confused as I grazed towards a store employee stocking Pepperidge Farm Milanos. This little man, in his woolen cap reminded me of Ernie, (The Keebler Elf) from the TV commercials. He looked up and asked if I needed help.
|ELFIN ERNIE WAS LIKE A DRUG PUSHER. FOR SOMEONE IN MY POSITION, HIS SHELVES OF FUDGE GLAZED GOODIES WERE LIKE HEROIN.|
When I didn't speak, Ernie repeated himself. I came out of my hypnotic stupor and said, "No. Sorry. I'm just torturing myself over the things I can't have." He smiled, "What do you mean?" I said, "I'm a reformed milk and cookies man. Now I'm on the Atkins diet...plus chocolate gives me severe headaches." He said, "That's tough." I said, "Yeah. Back in the day, a whole box of chocolate, Nila Wafers was one portion for me." He said, "I don't remember them coming in chocolate." I said, "Yeah for a while they made chocolate Twinkies too but when something isn't popular enough...they stop making them." He was nodding as I added, "I'm not saying I needed a gun to my head to eat the regular Nila Wafers or Vienna Fingers or Animal Crackers...I just rather have chocolate. "Oh yeah, what was your favorite?" "Definitely, Oreos." Ernie said, "You know, they now have fudge covered Oreos..." I cut him off, "Dude, don't remind me. They should call those babies, 'Death By Chocolate.' I remember the guy who turned me on them (ZYMBOT). He and I could polish off the whole package before our first sip of milk (preferably chocolate)."
Later that night at work, I confided this supermarket experience with my friend, C. She called chocolate her BFF. She even joked about going to Hershey Pennsylvania with her husband every year even without their adult kids. C said, "You know why they call it the sweetest place on earth? Because the Hershey factory pumps the smell of cocoa across the whole town...and I love it Plus after the zoo and amusement park, they have the world's biggest gift shop."
C added, "I've gone so many times, I know all the Hershey trivia answers. Like the company was established in 1894 and the Kit-Kat Bar is named after founder Milton Hershey's wife, Catherine, (Kitty)." I smiled as she added, "Did you know it takes 320 Hershey's Kisses to equal ten pounds and the big seller in Canada, (not available in USA), is called a Glosette, (chocolate covered raisins and almonds)."
When C described the Glosette I said, "Sounds like a Chunky Bar! Do they still make them, I used to live on those but I haven't seen one, in a million years.
|ENTICING IN ITS SILVER WRAPPER AND UNIQUE SHAPE, (A TRUNCATED PYRAMID), CHUNKY WAS DEVELOPED IN THE 1930's. THIS DELECTABLE NOW OWNED BY NESTLE CONTAINS; BRAZIL NUTS, CASHEWS AND RAISINS, COVERED IN CHOCOLATE.|
My conversation with C spurred an unsuccessful search of supermarkets, convenience stores, vending machines and candy counters. In a way, I was relieved because this failure to find Chunky bars supported my sagging self-control. So on the brighter side, I maintained that sexy figure that everyone is talking about.
If you are fascinated by Chunky, click on the thirty second youtube video below, to see their 1959 TV commercial that swayed me over and over and over again.
This past weekend, a Chunky bar was the farthest thing from my mind when I attended a kiddie party hosted by my friend, Larry "The Human ATM." Larry nicknamed himself because he claims to be a medical anomaly in that he has the first case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome...of the elbow. He says it comes from repeatedly handing-out so many twenties to his three materialistic daughters, (15, 11 and 6) and hundred dollar bills to his wife.
|LARRY THOUGHT HE COULD CURE HIS SWOLLEN AND NUMB RIGHT ELBOW BY DOLING OUT THE CASH WITH HIS LEFT HAND...NOW HE HAS CARPAL TUNNEL IN BOTH ELBOWS.|
Larry's propensity for over-spending was proven right again. The extravagant entertainment for his youngest girl's party included a clown, magician and pony rides. Plus, they hired a bartender and there was so much food that the caterer provided two servers.
I stayed loyal to Dr. Atkins until I was intoxicated by the aroma of baked ziti. I managed to preserve my waistline by limiting myself to a single, small portion. But my teetering will power wouldn't last long there, I had to leave the area.
On the other side of house, a bunch of men were watching golf on the 83-inch flat screen. I handled the boredom as long as I could and turned away after six seconds. As I pirouetted to leave, I noticed a pretty lilac and magenta basket, over-flowing with chocolates. The sugar rush from the pasta was coursing through my veins as I took a giant step closer to the luscious temptation.
Inside the basket, the Human ATM lived up to his reputation by supplying the masses with an abundance of full-sized chocolate bars with a photo of Kaylie, (his birthday girl) on them as well as gourmet chockies. Cautiously, I snuck up for a better look. Like a work of art, the bottom of the basket was filled with individually wrapped, gumball-sized Lindts chocolates. WARNING - WARNING - ALERT - WARNING ! I had never tried Lindt chocolates!
I must have a brain the size of a pea or another new symptom of my old age is, short term memory loss. So the idea of getting an intense headache never entered my mind as my chocolate addiction took over. Lindt immediately became my new favorite and of course, that one piece, led to eight, (hell, they are awfully small). Then while poking a little deeper in the basket, my true discovery was made under a Cadbury bar. The gold I struck was in the form of a small, wafer-thin, Ghiradelli square.
I knew this was a top of the line chocolate. Even though I didn't have my glasses and couldn't read the flavor off the label. I took a leap of faith...after all, isn't life like a box of chocolates. Well to my happy surprise, I hit the jackpot. The mystery candy tasted like was a miniature Chunky...only better than I imagined. I dug and dug for more but there wasn't any.
|WHAT AN IDIOT I WAS. I THREW AWAY THE WRAPPER AND NOW, EVEN WITH THE HELP OF THE INTERNET, I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT GHIRADELLI CALLED THEIR CHUNKY, ON FLAVOR STEROIDS.|
At work, I told C how I ruined my diet and gave myself the grand-daddy of migraines during my romp with Ghiradelli. She sympathized with me and said, "I'm partial to Godiva chocolates but Ghiradelli's are real good too. We even took their factory tour in San Francisco." Then her smile blossomed as she continued, "But now that I know they make something similar to Chunky, I have to give them another chance."
I was beginning to think that Chunky's were the holy grail of candy. After all, Chocolate Twinkies and Chocolate Nila Wafers had gone extinct so figured that the Chunky had gone by the wayside too.
But quite innocently, the other day in the pharmacy, sandwiched between York Peppermint Patties and Three Musketeer bars, I accidentally spotted a Chunky display. I guess they aren't that rare. So if you really are a connoisseur of fine chocolates then I encourage you to keep looking because later that day in a different convenience store, I saw them again.
More importantly, in both cases, I stood true to myself and didn't try one (which would have led me down the evil path...to many). And nobody and I do mean nobody (especially me) wants to see the debacle of me, open wide and blow chunks of Chunky.