Why Can’t We Just Say “Life Sucks?”

When someone asks me how I am doing I usually say” okay.” ” Good” works too in a pinch, “doing well is always a favorite”; a real crowd pleaser. I ‘ve tried the honest, or blank, neutral face and the politely depressed pout too but that just turned people away. Some people just don’t REALLY want to know how you are simply because they don’t care or they have their own stuff to deal with. I  don’t want to confront or ambush innocent people nor do I want pity (ok, I admit sometimes I would like a little pity).

When someone asks me how I really am I refrain from saying  “life sucks,” even though at the moment (or for the last two years) it has. Why?  Is it just not polite enough? Is there some filter we need to uphold appearances even when life is giving us a beating? Do people not want to hear the truth? If someone told me that their life sucked I would be more than willing to listen, to advise, if appropriate, to help them feel better.

There’s: Unemployment. Health and Safety problems. The Economy. The BP Oil Spill. Cancer. AIDS. All illnesses. Death, Dying and Despair. The Environment, the World at large, Fighting, and Abuse. There’s also Terrorism, Uncertainty, Crime, and Fear. In addition there are the “ism’s” : Racism, Sexism, “Religiousism” and” Ageism”. I know we can’t dwell on these things because we would never again want to leave the “relative” safety of our homes but once in a while why can’t we acknowledge that we’ve gotten a raw deal, the short end of the stick, even the much wanted last piece of milk chocolate that someone just popped into their mouths with a  greedy, toothy, lopsided grin.

I know it’s not polite to use the “S— word but it feels so appropriate. Life stinks doesn’t pack a punch. “Life is life” sounds too esoteric. “Life is” sounds like a Philosophy 101 class. Maybe that’s why I have this blog to vent because it isn’t appropriate to tell the truth, or to tell the truth the way I want to. Life can be difficult at times. Let’s leave it at that.

When Life Sucks, Eat Chocolate

Yesterday, I snuck a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar from the kitchen  furtively up the stairs. In addition, for balance, a 100 calorie pack of Lorna Dunes. I slipped in to my darkened bedroom and hid under the covers.  On one hand I had a 100 calorie pack of “Lorna Dunettes” and in the other a big milk chocolate bar. Together, I thought, the taste would be exhilirating. It’s all about the contrast . Sweet, soft, salty, crunch …   in my world it  was like a mini “fmores”  ( faux smores) festival. Luckily, the only one in the family that noticed was my dog, Callie, who gave me a knowing look;. she  blinked twice and sped up the stairs in front of me. While I was not going to share my chocolate with the  dog, she does love Lorna Dunes; they are one of her favorite cookies; mine too.  Lorna Dunes are melt in your mouth cookies, they are the cookie version of M and M’s, another fine dining experience.

I know, I know, I’m an “emotional eater” and knowledge is NOT power. Yes, I eat when I am unhappy.  Yes, food comforts me, it makes me happier. Tonight, I don’t give a damn. Spent the last 2 entire days sobbing because my favorite, unofficial aunt (or, come on, fill in the blank) “faunt” passed away 2 nights ago. The day before that was my dad’s birthday; he’s been dead 8 years. That’s a hard couple of days. I cried until my eyes were literally stuck together, my nose was a candidate for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and my face was all kinds of puffy 3 ways. I didn’t care.  I ate. And, yes, it did make me feel better.

I hate hearing all these non-eating gurus speak about how emotional eating is so bad for us. I say, “so what?”  If it  helps (ok, ok, in moderation) just do it. As long as it’s legal, as long as it’s short -term. Basically, if I am upset or worried or depressed or all of the above and I crave chocolate, chocolate I will have.  Some days I want pretzels but that’s an ordinary snack one that I would not use for a cheer up convention. Pretzels are a clean snack. A healthy snack would not raise my mood an iota. For that we need endorphins (cool word, right?) the ones that they say people get after they excercise a lot. A real high. It’s hard to even type through my hysteria..I mean, really, exercise to get happy? Honestly, I don’t even understand the idea much less the concept. Exercise = Happiness? Not from where I come from. Believe me, I wish it worked for me.  It doesn’t.

When I was younger I loved Snowballs. Snowballs for those of you who don’t know (and I AM sorry) are a round chocolate cake with cream inside a la the Twinkie, BUT, most importantly, this exquisite sculpture of heaven-sent blessings are covered with a thick (i’m drooling) layer of pink marshmelow coating that has thousands of, okay, maybe hundreds, of  coconut flakes all over and inside them. It’s Christmas in April. It’s Channukah gelt, it’s jelly doughnuts on New Years Eve.

Look, some of us are not meant to be a size 6 or even 16. That’s life, that’s truth; that fellow chocolate lovers is the real deal. Don’t deny it. Skinny bitches might band together but those of us who crave carbs  know. Real women know. Give us pasta, pizza, chocolate, fritos, cookies and ice cream and we are happy. I’m not endorsing binging, I’m not endorsing purging. I am endorsing ” a little bit of this, a little bit of that….”(stolen from the Fiddler on the Roof) Anatevka…. Home to many of us.

Talking about tradition, my family has one for New Year’s Eve.  They are called jelly doughnuts. That is really the only celebration we have that I  have celebrated since I was a child. I could eat jelly doughnuts twice a day if they weren’t so oily (yum) and fattening (bummer) and be happy. Forget the champagne, my tradition needs a large glass of milk.  The jelly component is very, repeat, very, IMPORTANT.  The doughnuts I grew up with, once a year, were  pure and lovely pieces of art. Truly, the sprinkled sugar on top–NOT confectioner’s sugar, was equally placed all over the doughnut to perfection. That was from the Homestead Deli/Gourmet shop where we used to go when we lived in Kew Gardens, Queens.

I am not a perfectionist, I DON’T NEED that particular doughnut from that particular store. Dunkin Donuts are fine by me. And every year we buy doughnuts from them on New Year’s Eve, 2 chocolate doughnuts for my husband and daughter, 2 jelly doughnuts for my son and myself .Well, sometimes 4 jelly doughnuts because I just cannot choose between the raspberry and strawberry fillings.  Which to pick? How do I know I will like it? Why don’t I remember from year to year? These are important issues for me. At last,  an easy solution,  a Libra solution: I buy one of each  and only eat the doughy jelly part from both. How can you lose?  Maybe this year (probably not) I will write down my favorite and then just get that every year. Of course I’ve been saying that for many years and i know I won’t do it. Tis the season. Get happy. Eat.