Shooting to the top of my list of “The Five Culinary Proofs for the Existence of Satan” is Peeps. Peeps are evil. They peer at me with innocent expressions through the cellophane on the box, suggesting warm nostalgia, joy and friendship. But I’m not fooled. It hurts my teeth just to look at them.
I have a theory that Peeps aren’t biodegradable. If you buried a Peep in the Mojave Desert and came back 100 years later, it would be crispy, yes, but otherwise unchanged. I think you could patch a tire with a Peep.
As a boy, I once condemned a Peep to death by ant pile. I mean specifically those little black devils that would swarm my bare feet, count to “three,” and all bite me at once. Well, the ants swarmed the hapless Peep, smelling sugar. And swarmed and swarmed. And all the ants got diabetes. And the Peep was unchanged. Until my father finally ran over it and the ant pile with the lawn mower.
Next time you’re hungry for Peeps, try eating a spoonful of sugar while looking at a photograph of newly hatched chickens. I think you’ll have exactly the same experience. Which is to say pancreatic shock.
I’m curious this Easter to try an experiment proving or disproving the possibility of Peep s’mores. I’m going to run a coat hanger wire through the wretched Peep, and try to roast it over some hot coals in my barbecue. Then a little graham cracker and Hershey’s chocolate squares. Smush it all together, and hand it to Joseph, age 11. Joseph will decide whether or not this s’more is actually food. Or a paperweight. Or something to shoot at next time we go skeet shooting.
Ah, Easter. Does anybody else think that Cadbury eggs ought to come with a surgeon general’s warning and a vial of insulin? Those things terrify me.
My two favorite jelly beans are red cherry flavored and green lime flavored. Unless you are unsuspecting and handed the “spice” jelly beans. Don’t you just hate it when your mouth is anticipating the sublime taste of cherry but instead gets an enthusiastic burst of cinnamon? Ugh.
Black licorice jelly beans should be against the law. Who eats those?
Palm Sunday 1962. I am 5. My mother hard-boils two dozen eggs, and me and my sisters sit down at the kitchen table to dye them with the Paas Egg Dying Kit. Wax pencils. Stickers. Tablets of dye dissolved in cups of hot water and vinegar. Little cardboard circles for drying the eggs. When our project was done, the eggs went back into the carton and into the fridge, where the Easter Bunny would, sometime in the night, find them, take them and hide them.
Easter Sunday came. And, sure enough, in the wee hours of morning, the Easter Bunny carefully hid 24 eggs in our backyard. And then she went back to bed to catch a few more z’s. Big mistake. I woke up to find an Easter basket by my bed and our boxer dog, Coco, wiggling by the back door. I, ever helpful, let him out. Cue my father: “Watch out when Steven decides to be helpful.”
Coco ate 19 of the 24 eggs. Shells and all. I know this because it was my job twice per week to pick up dog poo. And, there for a couple of days, things were a lot more festive and colorful out in the backyard. My little sister cried. I, the ever-opportunistic big brother, made this worse when I suggested that Coco had also killed and eaten the Easter Bunny. Later that day, I threw the black licorice jelly beans at her head.
Today she’s a licensed psychologist in Arizona. She just called to tell me this joke:
A guy goes to his psychoanalyst. The doctor gives him a chocolate Easter Bunny, with instructions to eat it. The guy obliges. Licking his fingers, it dawns on him: “This was a test, wasn’t it?” The doctor nods. “What does it mean?” the guy asks.
And the doctor says, “Patients who eat the feet first have low self-esteem. Patients who eat the tail first have conflicted sexual identity. Patients who eat the chest first have unresolved Oedipal issues.”
And the guy says, “Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What does it mean when you eat the eyes first, screaming ‘Stop staring at me! Stop staring at me!’ ”
Hmm. She might not be quite over the 1962 Easter Bunny incident.
Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Las Vegas Psychiatry and the author of “Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing” (Stephens Press). His columns appear on Sundays. Contact him at 227-4165 or email@example.com.