Monday, February 13, 2012

A Not So Sweet Affair to Remember


Sugar might look nice, but he's not. He's just a big bully.

He gives us cavities. He makes us tired. He shrinks our clothes.

Despite his bad reputation, he still gets invited to all of the Beautiful People’s Parties. He even makes a grand appearance at all of the Not-So Beautiful People’s Parties. A holiday isn’t a holiday if he’s not there. And what kind of a vacation would it be without him?

Just when I thought I had control over our friendship, he laughed wickedly with his head thrown back. “You can’t live without me,” he said, with a fake French accent.

“Yes I can,” I said, with fake enthusiasm.

I tried to. I really did. But Sugar was too tempting. If I went a few days without having him around, I’d run back to his awful embrace. I felt deprived, having been gone so long.

Sugar wasn’t always in my life, though. In college I never let Sugar come near me. I was a health major, and actually enjoyed practicing what I preached.

But, while I was busy cramming the fascinating facts of human gestation into my brain, my absent-minded physiology professor forgot to mention the part about how all babies are all born clutching a bag of Skittles. I found out the hard way after gestating a few kids of my own.

That’s when Sugar’s brainwashing really began. I didn’t want my family to be so eccentrically Sugar-free that they would go crazy like squirrels during a nut shortage if anyone offered them candy when I wasn’t around. So we invited Sugar to our house every day.

Gummy fruit snacks were healthy, because they had the word “fruit” in them. Cocoa Krispies were healthy because they had eleven essential manufactured vitamins in them. Girl Scout cookies were healthy, because cute little girls sold them. And cute little girls could never hurt us.

Then my pants started to look like they were painted on. Sugar shrunk my clothes!
He handed me a heart-shaped box of chocolates and said, “See me. Want me. Love me.”

I’ve never been good at breaking-up a relationship. I snivel, and quiver, and my nose turns red. However, it was time. Sugar and I had a fun fling, but he wasn’t my type. I’d been a health educator, and that was who I still hoped I was, somewhere deep down inside, beneath those painted-on pants.

Someone had to be the Responsible Adult, and my kids weren’t stepping up to do the job. So I told them why fruit snacks weren’t healthy, even though they included the word “fruit.” I told them why Cocoa Krispies weren’t healthy, even though they had eleven essential manufactured vitamins and minerals. I told them that yes, sometimes cute little girls can hurt us, because Girl Scout cookies are addictive.

My kids still go crazy like squirrels during a nut shortage when they’re at parties, and they eat way too much junk. But they did that even when we had sweets every day. They get just as excited when I let them eat a whole apple for their afternoon snack.

So, I’m standing up for my family.
I’m standing up to advertising tricks that make us crave junk food.
I’m not going to let Sugar bully us anymore.

I just hope he leaves that box of chocolates on the table before he lets the door hit him on the way out…

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