Thursday, December 11, 2008

Those Damn Nuts!

Kanye West--"Addiction" (mp3)

My friend Chet has done it again. And if he wasn't such a wonderful person, I'd suspect him of malignant maliciousness. After all, he has put into my possession 5 pounds of fresh, plump, easy-to-open pistachios. If it were heroin, you would all look at him with disgust. If it were alcohol, you would blame him for knocking me off the wagon and then rolling over the wagon with a steamroller. But, oh, it's just pistachios.

My name is Bob and I'm an addict.

I cannot stop eating pistachios. Put a bag in front of me and I will crack them open one after another after another after another..............

I am like the dog that would eat itself to death as long as there was enough food in front of it to accomplish the task.

NUTRITION QUESTION: If you eat 5 pounds of still-in-the-shell pistachios, once those shells have been discarded, how many pounds of nut meats are you actually eating?

You've probably looked at the bag, so you know how they've even made pistachios healthy as part of their advertising: high in fiber, high in protein, no cholesterol or trans fats. Can I even afford not to eat them?

So there they sit in my office. I try to put some of them in the glass cannister that sits way over on the table at least 5 feet from my desk. To get them, I'd have to actually stand up from my chair, lift the glass lid, and remove the selected pistachios from their sequestering. But, I've got a stash on my desk as well-- the rest of the bag. To eat pistachios is a lot like doing infield practice on a baseball team. The ball is hit to you, you scoop it up, and throw it to first over and over. With pistachios, you take one out, crack it open, and, while chewing, toss the pair of shells into the trash can. Repeat, ad nauseum, until you get into a rhythm, until you can make that throw into the trash almost without thinking.

Here's the funny thing about the ritual: wouldn't it speed up the whole ritual just to go to a place like the Fresh Market and buy a bag of pre-shelled pistachios and just pop them into my mouth one after another? The answer would be no: I don't like pre-shelled pistachios and will even claim that they don't taste the same as the ones in the shell.

Part of addiction is ritual. Part of it is work. Think about it. If you didn't have to do a bit of work to get your "fix," you would probably flame out within a matter of days, if not hours. A bag of pre-shelled pistachios is a woman you paid for and who will dutifully pleasure you. A 5-pound bag of fresh, naturally-opened pistachios is a conquest, every salty-sweet crunch, chew, and swallow an earned pleasure on the path to fullfilment, and a reminder that you will have to keep working to get sated.

Damn you, Chet! Damn you, bittersweet nuts! Damn you, weakness!

Kanye's song "Addiction" comes from his Late Registration cd, available at Itunes.

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