One Square of Chocolate

The first time I visited my cousin in Toronto, there was a partially-eaten bar of chocolate in her cupboard.  The presence of this treat fascinated and disturbed me.  How was only part of the bar gone?  Did all of my cousin’s teeth simultaneously break off and render her unable to chew the almonds within?  Did she have a small stroke and forget that the bar was there?  Did someone break into her house without her knowledge and deposit half a candy bar that she had yet to spy in her kitchen?  Each scenario seemed more plausible than the truth, which turned out to be that apparently my cousin eats only a square or two of chocolate at a time.  I’m sorry, what?  One or two pieces of chocolate?  My response to this information was a chuckle.  Until I realized she was serious.

You, dear reader, are probably thinking one of two things right now.  You might be thinking, “Yeah, I do that all the time, what’s the big deal?”  Alternatively, you share my inability to comprehend a discipline more elusive than one allowing you not to consume a chocolate bar in its entirety.  I mean, it’s right there.  It is cocoa-y and sugary.  Maybe it’s mint-flavored.  Whatever.  The point is, this is unfamiliar terrain for me.  When I buy chocolate, it haunts me.  It occupies my thoughts as I shower, work at the computer, and make phone calls, until it is consumed.

I have yet to learn the quantity of chocolate that can be in my house and live to see the next sunrise.  I have bought several bars at once thinking perhaps I will panic less if there is an excess of chocolate.  A glut, as it were.  This turns out to have the very undesirable effect of proving that when it comes to chocolate and me, words such as “glut” and “excess” cease to have meaning.

I can try to talk myself out of the shadow of the chocolate.  A familiar battle breaks out in within the confines of my cranium.


My midbrain screeches for the chocolate as does a toddler in the check-out at Safeway.  In steps my valiant pre-frontal cortex, here to apply benevolent authority.  This part of my brain calmly explains to the whiny midbrain that it has already ingested a great deal of chocolate that very day.  Moreover, consuming chocolate in the amount so petulantly requested is unwise and will subject the entire organism to weight gain and myriad health problems in the long term.  The midbrain digs in, synapses firing overtime like tiny limbs pummeling the tiles of the grocery store floor.  My PFC feels it is starting to lose ground to this relentless creature.  It had plans, for frick sake!  It hoped everyone would be on board to start the diet today!  Shorts of some sort could be worn this very summer if the appetite for chocolate could be curbed!  Also, in order to prevent a sugar coma, the organism would benefit from a more sensible snack.  Maybe an apple?


The tug of war continues in a manner understood well by Dave Foley:

Inevitably, my midbrain’s short-term assault on my PFC wears it down, crushing reason and logic in favour of sweet, sweet sugar.  The organism trudges to the cupboard, salivating and glaring at the brightly-wrapped rectangle within.  The first bite brings a flood of dopamine and endorphins, quelling the inner tantrum  even as my PFC bemoans the bond between midbrain and chocolate.  One bite closer to diabetes, one bite farther from pain-free joints.


Gabor Mate would have lots to say about this.  He might speak more about heroin flowing through someone’s veins, but the hold of chocolate over this organism is like a fairly-traded, cheaper cousin.  This addiction is why I can’t have nice things.  It’s why I can’t have a selection of treats in the house to be sampled sensibly over several days.  It’s why there’s a tiny chance that my not-so-distant future holds a diagnosis of diabetes.  And it’s why, despite my knowing it to be true, a little part of me still doesn’t quite get how someone can eat only a single square of chocolate in a day.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jason
    Dec 02, 2013 @ 10:56:18

    Go Dougie.


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