Educator’s Corner: Confessions of a chocoholic

Soraya Bilbao, Guest Columnist

I lack willpower when it comes to chocolate. It’s a fact of life that I’ve come to accept. Regardless of my daily caloric intake for the day, I succumb to its deliciousness each and every time I am afforded the opportunity to do so.

Add a few nuts and raisins and I’m more than willing to do someone’s household chores for a year. OK, maybe just a trip to the dry cleaners or grocery store. For this reason, I can’t have the stuff anywhere in the house. Doing so usually leads to actions that I later regret.

One year when I was young, my parents bought my sister and me identical chocolate tablets with the words “I Love You” inscribed on them. In a show of deep appreciation, I quickly unwrapped my gift, tore open the packaging, broke off large chunks of chocolate, and stuffed my face.

Always the voice of reason, mom came over and suggested that I not eat the whole thing at once and that I should save some for later. What?! Didn’t mom know that chocolate was meant to be eaten in one sitting?

I was just about to commiserate with my sister when I looked over at her chocolate tablet and observed that while mine looked as if an alligator had chomped down on it, hers looked as if a tiny mouse had nibbled on one of the corners. When I asked her why she wasn’t devouring her chocolate like I was, she said that she wanted to save it for later.

I was baffled. Were my mom and sister conspiring against me in some evil ploy to keep me away from chocolate? Had I been switched at birth and now my real chocolate-loving family was taking its annual trip to Hershey Park to bask in its chocolate splendor while I was being prevented from paying homage to chocolate? I made a mental note to look up my birth certificate.

I reluctantly rewrapped my half-eaten chocolate bar and stored it in the fridge next to my sister’s. However, the power of chocolate was too strong to ignore and soon the kitchen became my favorite room in the house and our fridge my favorite appliance.

I came up with creative excuses for my increased visits to the kitchen, “Oh, Mom, do you want me to scrub and wash the oil-burnt frying pans?”

“Dad, do you want me to fix that leaky faucet?”

“Sis, do you want me to bake you a cheesecake from scratch?”

Although no one took me up on my offers, I was able to proceed with my discreet visits to the fridge until I held in my hand my last piece of chocolate. With sadness, I popped it into my mouth and with even greater sadness, realized that I no longer had chocolate.

And then I looked over at my sister’s chocolate tablet.

Besides the rodent-like nibbling, her chocolate tablet was pretty much intact. How could she not crave chocolate as much as I did? I made a mental note to look up her birth certificate.

And here’s my confession: Without anyone looking, I opened my sister’s box, broke off the tiniest piece of chocolate, and ate it. Oh, so delicious!

Guilt began to seep into my consciousness, but denial took over and I convinced myself that since the piece was so small that a) what I was doing wasn’t really a bad thing and b) no one would notice. Therefore, it was totally OK to break off another little piece and another and another …

Predictably, the small unnoticeable piece soon morphed into a large noticeable one that my parents and sister finally noticed. As a result, I spent the rest of the evening in my bedroom in forced solitary confinement tasked with reflecting on the ethical implications of my actions and their impact on others.

And as I did so, I wished I had a piece of chocolate.

Editor’s note: A version of this piece was published in the Hersam Acorn Newspapers in 2013.