The true home of the cookie is, of course, the belly. The human belly. We are the only species capable of ingesting large, mostly irrational, and potentially hazardous amounts of sugar, at least intentionally.
There is no willpower when it comes to cookies. When you are face-to-face with a cookie, there is no thought that explores the possibility of not eating it. Maybe there was once, when the cookie wasn't present when it was just an idea.
But when it's sitting there, sitting right under your stupid nose, the belly takes control of the situation, all other decision-making organs are shut down, full stop.
The nose and belly, in collusion, create a pipeline of intensely rewarding satisfaction, delivering cookie after cookie during the holiday season. It becomes a factory operation: an organic conveyor belt where things like carrots and kale become even more repulsive than they were before.
Before, the body at least was open to the idea of eating healthy foods, knowing that there could be some sort of advantage to it. But then, after the first few cookies, probably sometime in early December, the body starts to conveniently forget.
Vague thoughts take the place of dietary knowledge. You recall something about the importance of vitamins but can't remember where they come from. Soon, dinner feels strange, almost empty, when not immediately followed by some sort of sweet, crunchy treat, something with icing.
Then you begin to worry when the cookie level gets low, you get nervous. You'll eat cookies simply because the cookies are there, because you can, because they are delicious. You have to bake more, find more, eat more. The cookie becomes life. All kinds, it doesn't matter now, all that matters is that there are more and that the cookies are your cookies.
The belly is in charge now. It demands them. Sometimes you feel bad about it but the cookies make you forget that. They make you forget about stupid things like exercise, like portions, like restraint. The belly is in charge.
When the holidays come to an end, when the holidays are over, and the celebration of whatever we're celebrating has finally come to a close, the cookies start to disappear. Where do the cookies go?
There are less and less each day. Soon, you know exactly how many are left. You don't speak it, but you know, you know on the inside that this whole life, this whole cookie lifestyle, is coming to an end.
And that scares you because what comes after cookies? How do we live, each day, over and over, without cookies?
Then, one day in late December, the cookies are gone, and you are empty. You have become sluggish, and your senses are dulled, your mind is foggy, cloud-like. But your body recovers, little by little.
Your cells shrink down to a normal cell size, the last of the sugar is escorted out of your body, somewhat shamefully, like the last person at the party who stayed late and was never invited in the first place.
The belly is detained, questioned, and removed from power, suspended without pay, subjected to regular installments of mixed green salads. An IV is hooked up to a juicer and your bloodstream feeds off it like a vampire. The nose is left alone, searching for the scent of a lost love as a new leadership takes its place within the body.
And then the belly sleeps. It does what it is told, for the most part. But it doesn't forget, it never forgets. It goes to the gym and eats yogurt with flax seed sprinkled on top. But it laughs, too, because the belly knows that the cookies will return.
The belly knows it will still win in the end. It hasn't been defeated. It's just hiding in wait. Waiting, for the next cookie.
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