Hooked On The Froot
by Nicole Freire
It's never pretty to admit a weakness.
Some weakness confessions elicit sympathy. Oh, you can't stop watching "Lost" on DVD? Me too! What season are you on?
Some weaknesses make you a pariah. What, you can't stop smoking? That's disgusting. Can't you chew that gum or get the patch? Did you know it gives you cancer?
There are support groups for some weaknesses, 12 step groups, group therapy, online support chat groups, you name it, someone somewhere has a group for it.
But my weakness is Froot Loops. And craving Froot Loops on a daily basis isn't a weakness confession that will get me any sympathy beyond some arched eyebrows and a suspicious, "Really? Froot Loops? Don't you think that's a little weird?"
Well, of course it's weird. Weirder still is the amount of thought I spend thinking about Froot Loops. I love them. No, I LOVE THEM. I love the bright colors, the coating of sugar on the outside of each loop, the way they make the milk taste. I can eat them in a bowl with milk but I can also just eat them dry, right out of the box. I like the toucan, he's a happy bird and no wonder! He can eat Froot Loops all the time.
And it's not just that I like them, it's that I crave them. My craving is so bad that I cannot buy them, except on very rare occasions. I am not joking with you when I say that I could easily eat a box a day. I could. And I can't willingly share them either. If on the rare occasions that I buy them and bring them home, I usually have to get two boxes. One for me and one for the kids, because I don't want to share my box with anyone else.
This is how ridiculous it can get. If I'm at Vons and I head down the cereal aisle, I will have to stop at the Froot Loops and look at them. I have to make myself NOT pick up the box. I'll just stare at them for a few minutes, arguing with myself (silently of course) about how much I want them, but how bad they are for me, and I can't buy them because I lecture my children all the time about junk food and how bad it is and can give you diabetes and blah blah blah. I can't reconcile my health food lectures with my desire to fill up my cart with 10 boxes of Froot Loops and take them home all for myself. And I can spend a good 5 or 10 minutes in the cereal aisle. It's not quite normal, is it?
It would make me look bad, you know? And on the rare "special" occasions that I do buy them (and this is maybe 6 times a year) the fights that break out over the dining room table about who had a bigger bowl, and who can have thirds or even fourths, are big fights, not little squabbles. People get angry. Ok, me. But the kids get into it too.
Someone once suggested to me that I should just give in to the impulse to eat Froot Loops until I was sick of them. Perhaps Froot Loops had some mysterious ingredient that my body is craving, and the only way to satisfy this urge once and for all would be to just eat the Froot Loops, as much as I want to until I was finished. This is insane, as I have no assurance AT ALL that I would ever reach some kind of stopping point and push myself away from the bowl and say, yep, that did it.
It's not all sugar cereal, I don't care for Sugar Corn Pops, or Frosted Flakes, or Apple Jacks, or even Honeycomb. As a little girl I used to have a thing for Captain Crunch, but as this was the 1970's and Cheerios were as crazy cereal-wise as my parents were willing to buy, they were out of the question. Later on, when I had money of my own to buy Captain Crunch, I came to the realization that many do --- that eating Captain Crunch will tear up the roof of your mouth into shreds. That's some sharp dangerous cereal.
I want the Froot Loops. My id screams for them. I want them in a most unreasonable way. I want them, I want to eat them, I want to look into my pantry and see box after shiny red box of Froot Loops.
I am officially Froot Loopy. Now I just need a t-shirt that announces it to the world.
# # # #
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.