It’s 9 o’clock at night. The TV glows. None of my favorite shows are on, it’s too early to go to bed, and the images of lions and hyenas on the Discovery channel have planted a seed in my brain.
“Time for a nibble” I think. No, not that kind, and my wife has left the room anyway.
The contented burps of supper are fading and now I’m restless for a little something extra, like the lion on TV, pondering that fourth gazelle leg.
The trouble is, our pantry is seriously nuked. There is nothing good there – no chips, no cookies, no licorice, not even any popcorn.
The shelves are as empty as the head on that vacant-looking reporter on TV, promising some bit of twittery from somewhere. “The latest at eleven!” she gushes.
Air is not what I seek. Caveman Thag hungry now!
Boring stuff taunts me, as if the pantry knows what I want and is deliberately hiding it from me in my time of need.
Slowly it dawns on me. I am entering…The Snack Desperation Zone.
The partial sleeve of saltines won’t cut it. I stare at the lonely box of Graham crackers for several minutes, dithering, but ultimately know they won’t do either.
Lack of good stuff somehow makes the yearning stronger.
I need to feel the rush of something bad. I need sweets or grease or salt in copious quantities.
Like a bear in a campsite, my nose starts to sniffle through forlorn bags of month-old, stale cereal, but turns away, unsatisfied.
Hands shaking now, TV long forgotten, the fridge light dazzles my eyes as I root through the shelves, hunting, seeking. I know it is in there. Where is it? I shove aside the old jar of pickles and… Yes! It IS still there!
With mounting excitement, I lunge for the container of frosting we used recently on some cupcakes. The last time I snuck a spoonful was a week ago. I almost got busted that time but my spouse didn’t realize what I was doing, huddled behind the fridge door, spoon in hand, a look of guilty pleasure on my face.
My prying fingers scrabble at the lid. I open it to reveal – a few crunchy, dried out crumbs, and a snarky Post-It note saying “Ha!” from my wife. Busted after all…
Remembering the cupcakes, an evil, Grinch-like smile slowly appears on my face.
I slink to the pantry again, but this time I know exactly where to reach.
I’ve succumbed to the last resort of the serious snacker.
The baking stuff.
Cake sprinkles? Not bad. Sweet, but ultimately unsatisfying. Like living on a diet of hors d’oevres. Plus those little silver balls almost knock out my fillings. They are just not enough.
I need the snack equivalent of meat.
Sliced almonds? Shredded coconut? Nah. I keep digging. I know they are in there.
Ahhhhhhh. Yes! There you are. Come to Papa…
Semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Quickly, but with practiced skill, I hold open the bag and pour straight into my mouth, a moan of pleasure escaping my throat as the tiny chunks spill into my grinning, greedy cheeks.
Just what I needed. Snacker heaven.
On TV, the lion licks a bit of fur from his lips as the last bit of gazelle slides down his throat. With a burp and a scratch he, too, wanders off to bed, a sated smile on his face.
All is right in the animal kingdom.