Saturday, February 16, 2008

Chocolate, Chapstick and Final Requests

Chapstick and chocolate are my two addictions. Obviously they are not as treacherous as the other options to which people fall prey. Chapstick will not interfere with my relationships and I doubt I’ll wind up in rehab or standing before a group of sympathetic fellow sufferers saying, “Hi. My name is Lea and I’m a chocoholic.” Having said that, should I ever need a support group, I know it would be easy to drum up a sizable membership. How often does the sprightly conversation at a well-attended party patter away to numb silence as near desperate diners eye each other in disbelief as a fruit torte is served. It’s not dessert if it’s not chocolate.

There is always chocolate in some form at my house. It does not have to be anything as official as a cake, although Trader Joe’s mini lava cakes, “Coeur Fondants,” helped me through some bleak moments. When that line was discontinued, I couldn’t stop myself from verbally falling to my knees and clawing in supplication at the stock boy’s cheery Hawaiian shirt, saying “Surely there are a few boxes left out back?”

“Sorry Lady. You should have bought more of them. Not enough customer interest.”

Omigod. It was my fault. I could have done something to prevent this. I should have bought more. Maybe my sister can scrounge up a few boxes at the Trader Joe’s in Wayne. Maybe they’ve not yet received word of the stop-sale. Maybe there is still a freezer chock-full of them down there. I bet there is. It’s okay. It’s okay. I’ve got three more boxes left. I’ll find a substitute before they run out as long as I parcel them out carefully.

Really. It’s not a problem. *Sigh*

I don’t consider myself an addictive personality, and with chocolate, I’ve never had to experience deprivation because it is a penchant shared by so many. Chocolate is always available. At worst, I know I can always find a few spilled chocolate chips in the back of a cupboard or drawer.

Chapstick is more underground. No one would consider it an addiction, but I guarantee there is a tube of Chapstick in far more pockets than one would think. America is a country of soft supple lips largely because of Chapstick. Revlon might seek credit and Blistex has tried to gain a toehold, but Chapstick is king.

Chapstick is not a commodity one would readily share, although my father and I will companionably pass a tube now and then. Dad favors “Plain,” and it will do when my lips send their plaintive dry-cry brainward, but the addition of cherry and strawberry flavors to the original waxy blend was pure genius and I commend the manufacturers.

When my father-in-law, Colombo, had his stroke, I witnessed the hardship of dependence on others for Chapstick application. His expressive skills were significantly impaired and collecting his thoughts enough to know what he wanted was as challenging as stating them. His desire for Chapstick was foremost enough, however, that several comforting red tubes were among the first round of provisions delivered to his room at the nursing home. I’d inquire during each visit, “Chapstick Colombo?” and invariably his response was a hearty, “Oh yeah!”

The painful Terri Schiavo case set the entire nation pondering what we habitually skirt as studiously as the skeleton in the family closet – the manner of our dying. I am among the lucky few who do not fear that step. I know that my grandmother will be there waiting at the heavenly gates, that all burdens will be lifted and that new journeys lie beyond. The means to that ethereal reunion is a matter of concern however. I felt a little better about this, at least temporarily, once I made up my living will.

As I read over the paragraph regarding “No extraordinary means of resuscitation,” my resolve wavered at the words, “No hydration.” “Um, I’d like some water please,” I said feebly.

“Pardon?” said the lawyer, eyebrow arched

“I’m uncomfortable with the phrase, ‘no hydration.’”

“Ah. Well,” the lawyer began briskly. “You get into tricky waters if you start enumerating conditions.”

I didn’t care if the waters were tricky, I just wanted them to be available. To her, this was simply about ink on paper and a document completed. She was supervising routine verbiage while I was seeing my sheet-shrouded husk of a body lusting for a glass of water. Was that too much to ask?

Like the pathetically well-behaved girl that I am, I bowed to her legal authority and signed.

With each day’s report on Terri’s tenacious hold on life, I mentally urged water and Chapstick her way. My discomfort led me to call my kids to tell them about the lie I had signed at the lawyer’s insistence. “I do want hydration and I do want Chapstick.” I made it very clear. Both kids responded predictably. My daughter, Casey, rolled her eyes and said, “You’re not going to die Mom, but I’ll remember the water and Chapstick.”

My son Tucker snorted, via email, at my having bent to legal manipulation. “I don’t care about ‘standard procedure’ Mom. You get that will changed to reflect your true wishes.”

Does that mean I’m screwed unless it is written in a legally binding document?

I know my kids. I am confident that they will see to my comfort. But I call on all readers as my witnesses: I want water and I want Chapstick. And if Chapstick manufacturers thirty years hence have the wisdom to add some new flavors, make my little tube chocolate.

1 comment:

Casey said...

Hi mommy!

I love the very very end. I don't think I've ever read that part. Or I feel sure I would have remembered it.

hahaha. chocolate Chapstick. They make chocolate Lip Smacker....not good enough? Only Chapstick?