The store shelves are stocked from floor to ceiling with bags of delicious treats. Bakery windows beckon passersby with aromatic displays of pumpkin-shaped cookies and cupcakes decorated with bright orange icing and sugar-spun spiders.
We all have our weaknesses. Mine is candy and other sweet treats and we now are entering the most difficult time of the year for those of us who struggle with that issue.
The Bible says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.”
I would love to have the crown of life, but I am not so good at enduring temptation. That is how I once ended up sitting in a room full of others dealing with weight issues. Our group has just spent the better part of an hour discussing methods to resist, among other things, that temptress of the nether world Esther Price and her sidekick the wicked Whitman and his sinful sampler.
As 50 women exited the meeting, we suddenly became aware that although the spirit is willing, the flesh indeed is weak.
There, lying in the gutter right outside the exit, its foil wrapper twinkling in the sunlight, its paper tag flying valiantly, was one lonesome Hershey’s Kiss.
Matthew Henry wrote, “Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colors that are but skin deep.”
Speaking as a life-long aficionado of confectionary delights, there is no color more tempting than the shimmering silver caressing a Hershey’s Kiss.
Here we were, 50 chubby, mostly middle-aged women who had not allowed ourselves a bite of chocolate in months, confronted with a moral dilemma.
We froze in mid-stride, staring in wonderment at this serendipitous temptation. Oh, sure, its wrapper was torm, it bore the imprint of someone’s size 12 sneakers, and God only knows how long it had been lying in the weather.
It also appeared to be embedded with bits of gravel, cinders, and dry, crumbled leaves. However, our group leader had just mentioned how important fiber was to a successful diet program.
For a brief moment, time stood still as we crowded in the doorway admiring the prize. Did the calories really count if someone else had made the actual purchase?
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
That thought must have occurred to all of us at about the same time. A donnybrook of unprecedented proportions ensued; a boisterous brouhaha, a melee equaled only by the Black Friday sale at the local electronics store.
An elderly lady pulled out a handful of my hair and gouged my eyes with her arthritic thumbs, but I walloped her good with my handbag, which happened to contain a few rolls of quarters I had planned to take to the bank on my way home.
By the time I dragged my way out of the pile-up, the Hershey’s kiss was gone. A search for the rest of the bag it must have come from proved fruitless.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The victor belongs to the spoils,” which I think means “Finders, keepers.”
Who is Victor, and why should he get the spoils? When I get ahold of Victor, he had better cough up that chocolate!
The angry mob of hungry, chocolate-starved women made its way down the sidewalk and descended en masse on the grocery store, where we swept through the candy aisle like a Biblical plague of locusts. All that was left were the empty shelves and a few candy wrappers swirling in the breeze that we left in our wake.
We made the tabloids the next day.
For some reason, I was pointed out as the instigator and ended up before the judge.
“The charges are inciting a riot, malicious vandalism, and assault and battery,” said the judge. “How do you plead?”
“Oh, I am totally innocent, Your Honor,” I protested, beaming widely and batting my eyes flirtatiously.
“Oh, yeah?” he said. “What is that piece of silver foil stuck between your front teeth?”
“That?” I said. “Um, that is just a filling I got from my dentist this morning.”
“Then why does it have a tiny strip of paper which says ‘Hershey’ sticking out of it?”
“Well, Your Honor, er, that’s a product endorsement deal I worked out between my dentist and the Hershey company. See this Fruit of the Loom tag in my underwear? It’s part of a similar deal I worked out with the Florida Citrus Growers. Get it? Fruit? Citrus Growers? It’s the wave of the future.”
Slam! went the judge’s gavel.
“Guilty as charged. Sixty days of community service, packing Halloween and Christmas treat bags for needy children.”
“Ooh, Judge, is that really a good idea? That’s kind of like putting an alcoholic in charge of the beer booth at the county fair. I will need a forklift to get me out of there.”
Shoot. I never will get that crown of life.