Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I'm worried this ol' blog of mine has been getting a little serious of late. So I've decided to lighten the mood by talking about the mind numbing depression that has overcome me. "Why?", I hear you ask with concern and bemusement. Well, quite simply, I am trying to survive without my two greatest vices. Yes, after a holiday which saw me heavily indulge in both, I have decided to go cold turkey for a bit of a detox. And to hopefully shed the spare tyre which has gradually developed around my waist since the last time I decided to eat sensibly.
The vices? Booze and chocolate.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, I could certainly have worse vices. I'm sure the former smokers, gamblers and heroin addicts amongst you are currently snorting away with derision. Perhaps not at the alcohol, which is a recognised social problem after all, but certainly the chocolate. And herein lies the irony. Alcohol is easy for me to give up. I have no real attachment to it outside social situations. And it's only peer pressure that makes me drink loads when I'm out. Honest! And since I'm essentially a sociopath with a sick sense of humour, who takes delight in annoying others, resisting peer pressure comes with the territory. In fact, it's almost compulsory. Plus, as one of my friends who went teetotal for 18 months put it "you get to wake up without a hangover, and you remember all the gossip from the night!" A good point, ignoring the fact I have the short term memory of a pebble. So yeah, booze, easy.
But chocolate. Uh oh. No no no. This is a different matter.
People talk about being addicted to chocolate, and the scoffing commences. But there is something about it. I'm actually allergic to it. It makes me hyperactive. Something that my mum and teachers discovered when I was about 8. They took me off it, and I went from being a hellspawn devil child to joe cool. Immediately. No more chocolate for little Delboy. Until I was well into my teens. No chocolate. At all. Not even the chips in choc chip cookies. Not even chocolate flavouring. Nothing. Then, one day, when I was old enough to contain the hyperactivity (yeah right) I tried it. And I was ok, if a little excitable. And my love affair with the brown stuff was rekindled. Like the way a room full of gas is rekindled when you light a match. Oh yes. Chocolate was back on the menu. I have developed not so much a sweet tooth, as a sweet mouth. Where people say "ooh, that's too rich!" i LAUGH and chomp away. "You won't be able to eat all that!" they say, "wanna bet", I reply. If it's chocolate, I can eat it. The rest of my diet is pretty good. Ok, not perfect, but there's always fresh fruit and vegetables. No ready meals. Not too much fried food, and steady balance. It is simply the chocolard that tips the scales towards caked arteries and an early grave.
So here I am, having not touched so much as an ounce of chocolate since the Sunday before last, when I had some CoCo Pops. And after the initial withdrawal symptoms, I thought I was doing ok. But then came this evening. Tired and irritable after a long day, a diet of flopping, curry and sitcoms failed to improve my mood. And then it started to hurt. Usually, at this point, I'd be reaching to a colourful wrapper, teasing it gently, to reveal the brown treasure within. Sweet, melty, gooey, yummy chocolate, in all different shapes and sizes, most of which makes precious little difference. For I am no chocolate snob. Although I delight in the likes of Green and Blacks and Lindt, I am equally as happy with Cadbury, Tesco own brand, even the crap you get out of Advent Calendars. It all has it's place in the land of chocolate.
But I have given it up! Principally for my own good, but also just to see if I can. What alternatives can I look to? Sweets? Well, they kind of fall under the banner, so they are forbidden too. Which leaves us with nature's candy. Fruit. Which, as we all know, is boring. Don't give me that look. You know it's true. Sure, yeah, 5 portions a day, I know, I know. But you know, deep in your soul, where your darkest secrets are kept, even if you're a health freak, you'd give up the sweetest strawberries, the ripest peaches, the juiciest mango, to munch on a Mars bar. Admit it! So alas, here I am, a bowl of strawberries and grapes, like some natural methadone, desperately trying to fend off the darkness. Wish me luck...
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