two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   It was the Tastykake cupcakes.
   After two days on my new year’s diet, which started early out of necessity, the cupcakes conspired to break my will.
   I have been suffering. I’m running out of pants that fit. I’m huffing and puffing on the treadmill at the gym. When I go out in the 15-degree temperatures, the first thing that gets cold is the bottom of my stomach, where it sticks out over my belt, pushes out the front of my jacket and catches the updrafts from the wind.
   When my wife and I came in from the gym Tuesday night, my oldest daughter and her husband had stopped by to borrow a table. I decided to make them dinner, and to get started, I peeled off my sweatshirt.

   My tummy was suddenly and awkwardly exposed.
   “Gasp!!” gasped my wife and daughter as they caught sight of my stomach.
   I thought maybe I had an icicle sticking out of my navel…but it was only a red thread from my sweatshirt that had stuck to me. They thought I had been wounded on the treadmill. I am not making this up.
   You get to be a certain age and things start to creep up on you. My shoulders make more noise than a bowl of Rice Krispies. I find myself looking for my glasses more often than I used to. I hear just fine – as long as you’re talking loudly enough.
   But my weight is getting out of hand. About eight years ago, I went on a diet and dropped 40 pounds. Looked good, felt good, and could run like a freight train downhill. Since then, some of those pounds have found their way back to me. It was slow at first – so slow, I thought I could keep all those pounds off me.
   I was so sure, I could maintain a reasonable weight, I gave away all my pants of a certain waist size.
   Big mistake.
   In the last two years, however, I’ve enjoyed some food more than I should – and I’ve gotten back to some bad old eating habits. And I wish I’d kept some of those old pants.
   The Tastykake cupcakes are just one culprit, but they are the most insidious.
   When I was going to college, I was introduced to some native Philadelphia-area fare: hoagies, cheesesteaks, scrapple, Schmidt’s and Stegmaier beer…and Tastykakes. For many years, you could be sure that as little food as we might have in our house at any given time during the week before we did the weekly shopping, there was always a Tastypie or Tastykake product someplace. And if there weren’t, I’d be on my way to the store to re-supply. 
   But my wife and I – and the kids that followed – moved to upstate New York in the 1980s, and there were no Tastykakes to be had. I got away from Tasty products. And frankly, once you’re addicted to the Krimpets or pies or donuts or whatever, you’re done and nothing else quite compares. Twinkies were okay for awhile, but they’re boring. So cupcakes fell out of my diet.
   We spent some years back in the Philly area in the late 1990s, then it was on to Connecticut and finally, here. With time and distance, I had kicked the Tastykake habit.
   Until the week before Christmas, when I was strolling through the Dollar General store in Newark and there, on the third shelf, was a full supply of Tastykake cupcakes. And in the middle of the display, the cream-filled chocolate cupcakes with butter cream icing.
   You’ve seen the movie scenes with the guy and gal running toward one another for the big embrace. Well, picture that with me striding toward the third shelf, and the chocolate cupcakes waiting, a big smile on my face, and the cupcakes smiling right back at me.
   I grabbed a box. I took them home. I finished off all 12 delicious cupcakes in about 28 hours. I hid them in the little fridge we have near my office – the last place my wife would look.
   Then I got on the bathroom scale the day after Christmas.
   Put a turret on me – I’ve become a tank.
   The diet started the next day. And I was terrific the first day.
   But an hour ago, at the end of the second day, I started working on this column.
   At dinner, I had shunned a holiday cake I made Saturday night. Instead, I insisted my daughter and her husband take it home with them. I ate carefully all day.
   I took cookies over to my father-in-law at The Terrace in Newark. I didn’t touch one of them.
   But when I came in and sat down at my computer, it happened.
   “Jooooohnnnnnnnn,” something called softly.
   My wife is in bed. The holiday kids and grandkids are all back home. All the lights in the house are out. I ignored the sound.
   “Joooohhnnnnnnn,” came the call again.
   I knew what it was. It was them. The cupcakes. They were calling me. They knew I was on a diet. Like sirens singing to passing sailors, the cupcakes were tempting me from inside the little fridge 20 feet away.
   And I lost.
   The remainder of the box of cream-filled chocolate Tastykake cupcakes with butter cream icing is now gone. I don’t know how many cupcakes were in the box, but I can tell you that none survived. I am sitting here with crumbs in my lap, a happy man.
   I have eaten and been merry tonight.
   Tomorrow I diet. 
   And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…


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1 Comment to "OUT OF MY HEAD - for Dec 29 10"

  1. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    Take up cross-country skiing and one or two of those Tastykakes won't hurt a bit! (I know, we need snow for that...)

    Posted on Sat Jan 01, 11:36:00 PM EST


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