The Perfect Chip Incident

Before I begin I want to comment on the sudden influx of posts. If you look at my posting history you’ll find that I averaged about six per month between March and June. Then in July I posted eleven times, and in August, thirteen. What happened? Part of it is an increase in reader feedback. When I started to hear from people that they were reading it I felt encouraged to write more often. The other part is that I got hooked. Like you can get hooked on exercise when you get into a routine, writing in here (and in general) is something that I both want and need to do. If I don’t, it feels like I’m missing something. It’s becoming an addiction. So let’s make the best of it.

Today we will flash back to fifth grade. It was a good year for me. I can say with confidence that it was my happiest year of school. My best friends at the time, John and Tim were there, along with a number of other A-listers. The object of my prepubescent affection was also there, Ashley. Fifth grade marked the peak of a seven year crush. Of course, they weren’t all happy days. This is one of those darker days. Someday, I’ll write about the greatest incident of all, but today the focus will be the perfect potato chip.

I made it a habit to purchase one small bag of Lay’s KC Masterpiece potato chips at lunch. As a younger man I had an insatiable appetite for potato chips, and KC Masterpiece was my Achilles’ heel. I recall more than one occasion in which I consumed an entire large bag of them. But we will speak no more of that. Who can say how many bags came into my possession during that year? Maybe the odds were stacked in my favor. Maybe fortune had chosen me arbitrarily. Whatever the case, one of these bags was filled with something special.

From the moment I saw it, I knew. This was perfection. Try to visualize it with me. Folded over once without blemish. Covered with an even coating of barbecue flavoring on both sides. I didn’t need outside verification, but those around me agreed. This chip was flawless. You didn’t have to taste it to know that it was delicious, and beyond reproach. What to do with such a find? What to do?

I couldn’t eat it right away. I had to treasure it like Gollum treasured the One Ring. That is why it came outside with me during recess. I held it high with pride, all the time fantasizing what it would taste like.

So there I am, standing on the far corner of the pavement. The chip is held carefully in my left hand at eye level. I’m looking at it. I’m lusting over it. Then, without any warning, tragedy strikes.

I look on in terror as a phantom hand reaches out of the abyss to dislodge my perfect chip from my tender grip. It falls to the ground in a million pieces. It is lost forever. Never to be eaten. Never to be enjoyed. Never to be seen again.

The hand belonged to Chris Cavalieri. Somehow, I was able to get past this injustice and Chris is now a good friend. But at that moment, he was an agent of chaos sent from Hades to rob me of my bliss. When recess ended, I walked away, defeated. The seagulls that hovered around the school found an easy snack. I saw them swoop in and take what should have been mine.

The perfect chip is lost forever. I do not have the strength to write anymore…

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