Sunday, December 23, 2007
My fling with Little Debbie
I have a confession to make. For a month there, I had a mad crush on Little Debbie.
It happened so quickly, I still have a hangover from the sugar buzz.
Over the years, I’d seen Little Debbie hanging around convenience stores. Once I saw her watching me from the snack cake aisle. I never paid her much mind. Sure, she was sweet, and such a tidy little package. But she lacked substance. In a world of complex carbohydrates, she was a simple sugar. And a little fat.
Something changed last month on the Gappity Gap ride. When we rolled into the first control, my low fuel light was on. I needed some calories and fast.
And there she was, that cookie coquette, gussied up in a new get-up. The Little Debbie Double Decker Oatmeal Crème Pie. Two servings of sticky sweet cream filling in a triple bed of oatmeal cookies.
When she wasn’t looking, I checked her out from the back: 470 calories, 1/3 of em fat. Also, about half a shaker of salt.
Mon dieu! This little lady packed a culinary wallop. And all for 50 cents.
And so, my brothers, I gave into sweet temptation. Before the day was done, I would have Little Debbie twice. Each time, she left me light-headed from the sugary rush. Afterwards, I felt slightly queasy. Could this be love? Perhaps, although I couldn’t rule out a peculiar sensitivity to one of her essential ingredients -- annatto extract, a color additive that represented fire, sun and blood in early American Indian civilizations.
Was Little Debbie a Native American? This was a promising development. I had a box of arrowheads, collected during my teenage years in rural Virginia. I couldn’t wait to share them with her.
When I returned home from Gappity Gap, I wrote Little Debbie. I took a risk, laid my feelings out like cards on the table.
I waited in vain for a response. Nothing. Lil Deb had gone cold on me. Maybe it was an age thing? I did what all love-bit pups do these days: I googled her. And I learned an encouraging tidbit: Little Debbie had been around since 1960. Hell, she was my generation: a Baby Boomer, with the emphasis on kaboom.
So what could explain this sudden distance? Was this destined to be a one-ride stand?
Sadly, that was the case. In the last month, I’ve had a chance to cool off and come to my senses. I now see things will never work out between us. She’s the heir to a baking empire. And me? Just another love-struck fool with a sweet tooth and a dollar bill.
These days, anytime I enter a convenience store, I try not to let her catch my eye. True, I broke down on Saturday’s ride and had a single Oatmeal Crème Pie, just for old time’s sake. It left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. When I was done, all I wanted was a toothbrush and moist towelette.
But late at night, when I can’t sleep, I picture her in her Little Debbie outfit, bent over a steaming commercial stove. Her sweet voice cuts through the darkness: “More fat! I need more sugar! Where the hell is the annatto extract?”