Walking the plank on the good ship Lollipop

There is joy, and then there are the things that masquerade as joy. Addiction is one of those false friends, a true buzz kill. Pull of its mask and you will see it for the ugly impediment that it is. My addiction is to the sweet stuff. I’ve got a sugar simian on my shoulders, a chimpanzee with gum drop eyes and cotton candy fur. His lower half is dipped in chocolate for the sake of decorum. His trousers are ornamented with silver dragees. I wish I could make him go away.


My caramel-coated demons sneak up on me at work—they ambush me when I’m bored. They pop out of friends’ birthday cakes, wearing nothing but nonpareils. I cannot hide from them. No patch will help me—no hypnotist is strong enough. I’m eating cookie dough ice cream as I write this. I know it’s stupid. There’s no way to sugarcoat that.

I’ve tried to give it up cold turkey, but my own personal crack hides in every corner. Pair it with caffeine and I am swooning like a southern belle. I nearly lost the uncivil war against Coca-Cola, but I finally rallied. I haven’t touched a drop for years. I dare not. I celebrate these small victories but fifty new sources of sugar rise up to take the place of each confection I defeat.

I’ve got a new theory to melt the monkey off my back. This isn’t unusual. I’ve often got a new theory about things—it’s part of my creative side. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. This is one of the ways I find my solutions.

This is my new theory about sugar. I am too busy to do all of the things I enjoy, although I am trying to fit them all in. I figure that if I start feeding myself other treats I like even better, I will simply be too busy to also eat sugar. When I crave candy, I will eat art. I will substitute strawberries for Snickers, and sushi for cake. It might work. It’s certainly worth a try. The monkey is getting heavier every day.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

18. Do you have a simian on your shoulders? Create a joyful theory to get him off, and try it out.