Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Now or Later You Must Face It

Growing up black and a comfortable two blocks from the projects, I learned early on that there were parts of our life and culture other races just could never understand. Hair-care products=afro sheen; low-income housing development=projects; juvenile detention center=reform school; candy=now-a-later.

My love for editing must have started there because even before ebonics, we could shorten the snot out of any concept – low-income urban housing development, indeed!

Anyway, the candy of the hood is my chosen topic of the night. Hold on to your protein shakes, baby, cause tonight I’M BINGEING NOW-A-LATERS!

Even with an allowance of less than a dollar, one could easily be rich in Now-Or-Laters. A pack of ten cost about a dime when I first started being a connoisseur of fine Now-Or-Lating. And oh, the flavors: grape, apple, cherry, chocolate, and the speciality flavors. We traded them like cards and used them as the “pot” in our elementary card games like pit-a-patty (yes, illegal back porch gambling – the shame of Lake Charles, La.)

I knew their fame was grown out of proportion when I last visited the Ebony Theatre on Railroad Avenue. I don’t remember the movie I saw, but I remember the menu: row after row; every single counter – only Now-a-Laters! That’s the night I discovered the exotic flavors saved for special occasions like coconut, chocolate and pineapple. I died and had gone to Now-or-Later Heaven.

I normally admit to having no obsessions and binge cravings. Well, every now and then, the world’s woes seem only curable by a tiny brown paper bag of Now-or-Laters.  I drove (or my husband drove) the extra mile to find a store with real ghetto Now-or-Laters when I was pregnant and not on diabetic restrictions yet. I remember sneaking a big bag of them into the Advocate newsroom and stopping at every black person’s desk and letting them pick their favorite and reminist on ‘our’ secret.

This was a tough day for me. The pressuring phone calls started early, my 3-year-old is on a candy strike and low and behold, my loving sweet husband picks this day to revert back to being ‘a man.’ Argh!

Some wls surgery patients can’t eat under stress. I guess I’m one of them. Eating while ‘slightly hacked off” led to some hacking up later during bath and litter box duties. Yup, I threw up in both bathrooms while giving Cecilia a bath and appeasing my new kitty childs Precious and Dinky.

Enter the Now-or-Laters from the Halloween offerings. Since no Tricks came for our Treats, I decided that this binge experiment was something I was simply destined for.

So how many licks does it take to get to the end of a Now-or-Later binge? I can’t count the first two cause I tossed them with the rest of dinner, but there’s a healthy stack sitting on the tray of my baby’s highchair. She’s even learned the favors: Red, purple and green.

I just stopped to open one that Cece discovered sitting amongst the remains. “What’s this, a red?” I gave her the candy and kept the wrapper.

I don’t think I’ve gained a Now-or-Later pound. I just need to brush my teeth and face everything I wanted to go away 30 Now-or-Laters ago. On top of all that, we ghetto folk were wrong again, again. This wrapper clearly reads “Now-AND-Later.” I don’t know my own addiction.

Now or later? I chose later and it’s come very soon. I can’t eat another bite and the stresses of the day are still mounting. Not to mention I’m writing with a 3-year-old on my back and her stuffy-head daddy needs “stomething sto I con breathe and go ta sleep.”

So, if you thought I didn’t fall and have these bad days, you were wrong. I took two steps backwards and I have the color wax paper all over the floor to prove it. It just didn’t help. Tomorrow, I’ll try some earnest prayer and a nice bike ride. At least prayer and exercise never gave anyone a cavity. Now or later, you just gotta face it.


Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Okay, I remember Now-and-laters myself. I love the way they have of grabbing on to my teeth and pulling at every filling until my teeth ache. That cannot possibly be good for me!

However, they are not my childhood candy-binge item of choice. I LOVE Lic-m-aid. (whatever they are really called! - I called them "Lick-a-sticks") I would be happy with just the little white confection dipping stick, but then they throw in the smartingly sour-sweet powder... yum!

They take me back to my days playing T-ball badly at a nearby park and talking my parents into letting me spend my allowance on the sweetest junk this side of heaven. I have since discovered that Costco is a very BAD place for grown women like me, because they sell childhood sin by the box at an economical price.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, although I'm not sure I am so thrilled with the strange and wonderful new-old cravings I am experiencing at this moment...!


RisibleGirl said...

Hellooooooooooooo.... knock knock knock.... where's my friend Francis hiding?