A cautionary tale of chocolate

Although Easter has come and gone, I cannot help but be reminded of the reason we all come together to celebrate this most sacred time of year. This event has affected us all, both spiritually and physically. We are all touched, in a decidedly non-physical manner, by both its far-reaching implications and its personal meaning.

Yes, I have no doubt that the decision to mold milk chocolate into the shape of eggs, bunnies and baby chickens has changed the course of human history. Oh yeah, there is that whole death and resurrection of Christ thing too. Whatever. Funny how you don’t see a whole lot of chocolate crucifixes this time of year, huh? OK, well maybe a couple.

So while all of you are coming down from your chocolate-induced hallucinations, let me be the one to provide you with a cautionary tale involving said substance. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

I am here to remind you all that chocolate is not a meal.

“Oh,” you plead, “but it is sooo good. Give it to me, dammit!” OK, put down the gun there, Timmy. Before you inhale another Cadbury Creme Egg, read this true account of Easter past and see if you choose to continue your dangerous intake of this narcotic.

It was the spring of 1995. The air was fresh, confused birds attempted to mate with startled bees and the candy was plentiful. As a high school senior, I was involved with the mundane activities that seniors often find to pass the time. You know – distilling bootleg whiskey, dabbling in the “dark arts” and the like.

But my spare time found me promoting our local blood drive. The event was to take place during our spring break and I, for one, was giddy with anticipation. So giddy, in fact, that I completely forgot about the whole damn thing. I received a call from my pal Jeff on the day of the event that went like this:

Jeff: “You know that `blood thing’ is today.”
Me: “Right, right . the virgin sacrifice. I’ll be there, don’t worry.”
Jeff: “The other blood thing.”
Me: “(Censored).”

I pulled into the parking lot at the same time as Jeff and another classmate, Vince. As we shuffled over to the donation site, vigorously rubbing our (this story is not about sperm donation) veins to prepare for the bloodletting, Vince asked: “Have you eaten anything today? You’re not supposed to do this on an empty stomach.”

We needed food quick, and I had only a napkin and three sugar packets on my person.

We made quick work of the tasty napkin and were about to start in on the sugar packets when I remembered I had two boxes of Cadbury Creme Eggs in my car. Easter had been the week before, and the Bunny had been especially generous this year. Twelve eggs, three guys, five minutes – now we were ready.

The nurse gently asked us if we had eaten yet and she was met by a nervous, sugar-fueled “Yes indeedy!”

She happily provided each of us with our choice of “aides”: copies of “D-Cups,” “Hustler” and . oh, wait, wait . THAT’s the sperm story. Sorry. Maybe next time.

Anyway, we made our way to the tables to lie down and (insert your own nurse-based sexual fantasy here) do some hard-core bleeding. Within seconds, I was woozy. I calmly but firmly demanded that they “stop this ride immediately.”

Jeff was the next to fall. He was wheeled to a cot where he began deliriously mumbling the lyrics to various Steppenwolf songs (“Fire all of your guns at once and/ explode into space”).

Of the three of us, only Vince had finished his donation and he slowly walked over to the table. He gently sat down, looked at me through eyes that had taken a different bus, and passed out.

Vince slowly “came too” and joined Jeff’s now-quieting death-rattle (“Why don’t you come with me little girl/ on a magic carpet ride”).

Somehow, we survived that horrid afternoon. All of us managed to be accepted at respectable institutions of higher learning (well, Jeff went to Georgetown).

But we learned an important lesson. You see, chocolate eggs, filled with synthetic “creme,” colored to represent yolk and albumen (mmm .) are no substitute for a meal. No, not even four of them in a 5-minute period.

I do encourage you to give blood, but for the love of the wounded, have a sandwich beforehand.

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