Yesterday, as I was packing my lunch for work, I threw in a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies. I had purchased a tub of the soft, silver dollar-sized cookies from the market last week, and thought they would bridge the Hunger Gap between lunch and when I leave for the day. This gap is normally bridged by either a Twix or vending machine egg salad, both of which usually lead to me spending the better part of the afternoon on the toilet.
I have a tender tummy.
I’m typically a creature of habit when it comes to my meals, but I’ve been taking strides to not eat out for lunch so much, as it’s bankrupting me and making me heart attack-y and chubby (I’m this close to having to buy Medium-sized shirts). I needed to find a way to spice up my lunchtime routine, and the Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies would be a perfect tonic to my monotony.
As my workday trudged forth, I forgot all about the Ziploc bag. I was so bogged down with phone calls, meetings and paperwork, that it became a distant memory. So when 2:30pm rolled around, and I pulled open my desk drawer to look for a Sharpie, imagine my shock when I rediscovered the Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies, shining like a white-collar beacon in my otherwise dreary day. My eyes lit up, and I leapt at the bag like Dobby the House Elf snatching a bag of gold coins. What a delightfully grand surprise!
As I sat there, shoveling the factory-made treats into my maw, I became intensely self-aware as to how funny the situation was. Here I was, at the relatively young age of 26, sitting in a cubicle at a State office, wearing tan khakis and a polo shirt, cramming cookies down my throat like they were the antidote to all of my abject misery and depression.
When I was six years old, it would have taken a Nintendo Entertainment System to instill this much joy in me. When I was 17, I’m quite certain that there was nothing on Earth that would have made me as happy as I was at this moment. Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve learned and all the strides I’ve made as a man and a member of the human race have boiled down to this; damn-near whizzing my pants at the forgotten prospect of eating a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies. As image-conscious as I normally am, it was probably one of the saddest revelations of my life.
I started laughing. Hard. After all, it was pretty hilarious, and it sure beat crying. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut; crumbs and bits of chocolate chip were spilling down the front of my shirt. That only made me laugh harder. I started wheezing and snorting through my nose, eventually dropping the bag into the trash and busting into an all-out guffaw that attracted the attention of those around me. Tears welled up in my eyes and I took in the absurdity and triviality of the Human Experience.
In less than a minute, I had learned a powerful life lesson. I also had a mess to clean up.
Don’t be embarrassed of what makes you happy. Even if it’s just a Ziploc bag full of chocolate chip cookies, dig your fat ass in and enjoy the moment. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how much money you make and it doesn’t matter what you thought this life was going to bring you, rest assured that this is all we have, and waiting for any other joy to arrive will be considered a waste when the last page is turned, I promise.
Happiness is a cookie. Happiness is getting five green lights in a row on your way to work. Take the time to admire the sadness in the realization that it’s the honest truth, then allow yourself to enjoy it with every fiber of your being.
Let the crumbs fall down your shirt; you deserve it.