It’s that special time of year when our customers share the holiday spirit by bringing in homemade baked goods, boxed chocolates, and regifted fruitcakes for our employees to shamelessly stuff ourselves with (or regift in turn, in the event of fruitcake).
In fact I’m so used to our little coffee corner in the lobby being fully stocked with courtesy sweets in the weeks before Christmas that I find myself actively disappointed on the days when I wander over for a dose of caffeine and diabetes and there are no free goodies on the counter.
How dare you people, I think in silent hangry rage. You ungrateful scum, after all the money you’ve exchanged with us for services we provided, how DARE you come in here now without offerings of high fructose corn syrup!
Thankfully those lapses in generosity are a rare exception to the rule; more often than not the counter is laden with sugar and more sugar in all its myriad forms, of which I would normally readily partake without pausing once to consider anything other than YUMMY FOOD GOES IN MOUTH PORTAL.
Until today, when I had a thought.
(Yes, it happens occasionally.)
Remember how when you were a kid, there was always that handful of neighbors who passed out homemade caramel popcorn balls or candy apples for Hallowe’en, and your mom made you throw them straight into the garbage when you got home in case they were full of arsenic and razor blades?
Why was this suddenly not a concern around Christmastime? We used to find ourselves inundated with sugary foods from all kinds of random sources around the holidays, and never once did my mother advise caution. That weird hermit-type down the street unexpectedly emerged from his burrow in December and made the rounds with Christmas cookies? Sure, GO NUTS, KID!
Were my parents maybe hoping to get out of buying me presents, or are we really just that guileless and trusting once Noël is nigh?
I guess it’s because at Hallowe’en the idea of someone slipping a trick into your treat just seems to come with the territory, whereas at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year everyone’s supposed to be feeling joyous and charitable, and besides, people are too busy using their razor blades to open packages from Amazon to slip them into anybody’s plum pudding.
Still, you never know.
I was halfway through a slice of banana bundt cake this morning when a small corner of my brain piped up and remarked, You know, this could be poisoned. You could be ingesting cyanide as we speak.
Isn’t that a bit far-fetched? my inner skeptic ventured. I gave the cake a sniff. I thought cyanide was supposed to smell like bitter almonds. This just smells like banana.
And you’re certain you belong to the 40% of the population that can actually detect the smell of cyanide, are you? countered Alarmist Nutty. Besides, cyanide was just an example. There could be anything in ther- DID YOU JUST TAKE ANOTHER FUCKING BITE OF THAT WHILE I WAS TALKING?
What was that?
Sorry, had my mouth full.
Look, I hate to burst your bubble, but we’ve already eaten half this thing, so I’m pretty sure we’re already screwed if there IS anything deadly in there. So if we are about to drop dead, let’s just enjoy the time we have left and eat some cake, shall we? In for a penny, and all that…
You’re dead to me.
Do you have to be so goddamn cheerful about it?
‘Tis the season.
I had a vision of my own death. It was delicious.