By ANDREW FLYNN, Managing Editor of The Daily Damn
It’s always nice to have a day off from work. My straight job allows for certain random days of the week off, so it’s quite commonplace to only having a short notice in knowing what days of the week you have off.
Wednesday was such a day off. One of those funky middle-of-the-week days off. So I made a trip to my favorite warehouse club to pick up some groceries. I’ve learned it’s always smart to go in the same hour they open up instead of meandering into one sometime in the middle of the afternoon. This makes for a quick entry and exit, as there are no in-store vendors to take up your time and worthless small talk to make with the club employees. Because those employees could not care less what you buy, they’re all clock-punchers. To think of them any differently is to be naïve. Some of them are great people, I’m sure. But they’re there for a paycheck, and nothing more.
Usually, telling a story about a trip out shopping for groceries would make me want to give up publishing and writing forever and go work for a traveling circus. I’m delighted to tell you that this isn’t that story. This one has to do with cookies. Like the ones that this particular warehouse club had halfway in my direct no-eye-contact-giving route to the sliced bread and deli meats. These cookies looked delicious, and they went right in my oversized warehouse cart. They didn’t have to fight for room, either. They went right on top of my 32-pack of Diet Coke. These were special cookies. These are Madeleines.
Alright, I’ll concede that they’re more cake than cookie. Tiny little cake-cookies made with a recipe whose origin harks from across the Atlantic Ocean over to the Lorraine region of Northern France. And of course these wonderful treats are French, they are made with pure butter. Enjoy just a bite of one, and you experience it immediately. The way each Madeleine conquers your taste buds, which don’t stand a chance against such goodness. If only there were a way to have your stomach be conquered in the same moment that your tongue is. Alas, the human experience of eating offers no such immediacy. Nerves, sure. Speed of light, those. Not food. And not Madeleines.
I was seven years old when my older sister taught me how to find cookies. About three years my senior, she was in a wily mood one day and decided to pass on learned behavior to her younger brother. Where she attained the knowledge from, who knows. Perhaps sharing such incredibleness comes directly from some book older sisters get in order to prove how awesome they can be at times. It could have been boredom, it could have been love. See, she knew where the Oreos were hidden. Bless her little fourth-grade heart.
Once you learn the stealth tactics in order to procure sweets from your family kitchen, things are never the same. You begin to plan out exactly how and when you will again achieve status in the sugary wonderland that you now know exists and that you know you can be a citizen of at any time. If you try hard enough. It could be in the middle of the day, when your parents are outside maintaining the yard. Or, it could be a late night tip-toe trip to the back of the freezer. Because that’s where the homemade cookies always were, making the store-bought Oreos pale in direct comparison.
Going from having sanctioned cookies at designated times to having them at much more frequent intervals changes a young person. Not only does it give them ideas, as the world has opened up just a little more to their sparkling wide eyes. It also gives a child the ability to have more girth.
About six months after I learned the ways of slipping in and out of the various square-shaped cookie-yielding Tupperware containers of my mother’s kitchen, my father could be overheard talking to my grandparents about me. They had just come for a nice visit on a chilly Saturday morning, as they frequently do. Per my good-natured Dad, I had “beefed up” in the past few months. Even though it was hardly a derogatory comment, it was still a badge of honor. I knew how to get cookies, man.
I sit before my desktop at the moment, slouching badly. I made a nice lunch containing of a turkey sandwich, Baked Lays, and predictably, a Diet Coke. Then some of these Madeleines served as a wonderful coda to this midday meal. I had not eaten them before today, so the exact properties of said delectable treats were not familiar to me. Nine of them have gone down the hatch.
My stomach gurgles, but for the opposite reason from a half-hour ago. The amazing butter-drenched confectionry has done something to all that is inside of me. This is not welcome feeling. See, I found the cookies. I bought the cookies. I ate the cookies. I don’t want to toss these cookies. While these Madeleines might be letting me down at the moment, perhaps a second Diet Coke will quell this intestinal unrest. Whatever ends up happening, I regret nothing. I have cookies.