A couple of weeks ago, I was having a crappy day at work. So, at 3:30 in the afternoon, I decided that I “needed” a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine. I went through all the rationalizations – I deserved a treat, I had extra points to spend, I would be so satisfied after I ate them I would forget about dinner, I would eat them one at a time, daintily biting the outer shell off, then slowly sucking on the inner chocolate to make each one last.
The week before I had gotten a bag, spread all the M&Ms on my work desk, counted them and separated them into two piles. Then I put one pile back into the bag, twisted the bag shut and hid it in the back of my bookcase. I ate the loose M&Ms. Ten minutes later, I fished the other half from the back of my bookcase and finished those. To my chocolate-hazed delight, I discovered that the entire bag is only 6 points.
So it was that this day, I wasn’t even going to pretend that I was going to eat half a bag. I needed all of those little buggers, and I might even chew on the empty bag when I was through. That was the sort of day I was having. I had the six points to spend. I would have celery soup for dinner. I grabbed 4 quarters and took the long walk of shame down the hall, then down the stairs to the vending area. I could sense the vending machine snicker as I walked toward it. “Aha!” it seemed to say. “Look who’s waddled over for a visit. I knew you’d come back. You’re late today. It’s already 3:30.”
As if by rote, I scanned the entire array, visualizing the nutritional information that was, of course, hidden in the back of each package. How many times have I stared at
these selections, wondering whether there was a virtuous choice to be made? If I was playing the low-carb card, I’d get nuts. On acid-reflux days, I’d get licorice. Low-fat days, animal crackers. But today, those little M&M men were smiling at me with devilish delight. They knew what I wanted.
There were three rows of M&Ms. I scrutinized the coils of each row to make sure that, whichever row I selected, the bag would not get stuck. E5 looked like the safest
bet. I placed the coins in, pushed E5, watched the coil turn, and….wouldn’t you know the bag of M&Ms got stuck. Grrrrrrr. I pushed the machine gently. I pushed a little less gently. I looked down at the flap, wondering whether my arm could fit safely under it and reach way up to the package of M&Ms. Insane though I was, I was not up for the mortification of having my arm stuck in the machine. I bodyslammed the machine one last time. Nothing. I had half-expected that an alarm would go off, like the “tilt” alarm on a pinball machine. Thank goodness it wasn’t a pinball machine. (Snack roulette, yes. Pinball, no.) What to do….What to do….I had debated going all the way back to my desk to get a second set of change, then coming back to retrieve my “just desserts.” I’d done that many times before.
Then I realized that it was “bashert.” I wasn’t meant to eat those M&Ms. Back at my desk, I discovered that I had brought carrots, celery, and apple to the office to snack on. They were no M&Ms, I can tell you that. But they did get me through the day.