Does loving beef jerky make me a bad person? I need to explore this anomaly in great detail. As I strolled through Wall-Mart the other day with my hand already in the unpaid bag of “Sweet and Spicy,” I began to wonder how I got here? Many people wonder how they get to points in their lives such as parenthood or old age, but I, being the introspective sort of person I am, need to delve deep into my beef jerky obsession.
There might be nothing much to investigate it it weren’t “beef in a bag” that I crave. Were it chocolate or ice cream or even fettuchini alfredo, then maybe one might be able to understand the desires… Nevertheless, if we are what we eat, then I am freeze dried meat!
Ironically, I can point to the moment when this all started. I was about 5 and taking ballet lessons at the Lawrence Park Bowling alley ( yes, ballet in a bowling alley. ) I fancied myself quiet the prima ballerina, but the lure of the vending machine right outside still held me hostage after class. One day, my little friend Lisa purchased a slim jim…
A SLIM JIM! My, up to that point, very very very jewish, very very very kosher, very very orthodox childhood, could never have imagined the purchase of a SLIM JIM… why, I didn’t even know what it was….
I smelled the SLIM JIM, and it smelled wonderful. And, even though I was probably only 5, I knew that very piece of processed salami would have tasted delicious… especially mixed with the Andy Capp Hot Fries I just purchased …I was jealous!
I was jealous beyond belief of the freedom, the indulgence, the righteously indignant eating of the slim jim. I never felt such anguish over my religious constraints.
I vowed, at that moment, someday I too would have a slim jim. I would buck tradition. I would toss aside 5000 years of religious persecution and talmudic law and eat fake meat too…
Now, oh so many unkosher years later, I am a slave to my desires. I succumb to the pleasure…but only on occasion…I have rules too, you know.
I will only eat the beef jerky when I am alone. I will only eat it in the store before I pay for it. It will never enter my home, nor will I share it with anyone. I will only eat it if I am extremely hungry so that I can justify the eating by saying that it is “protein” and therefore somehow better than candy or chips. And, of course, the purchase only happens within the confines of beef jerky appropriate stores… Wall-Mart, Target and K-Mart. I would never sully at trip to Wegmans, or Whole Foods or Trader Joes with my dirty little secret. I have not yet decided whether 7-11 is beef jerky appropriate, but I do know that WaWa is not…
And now, lo and behold, the ” Man” has built a Wall-Mart, not more than 1 mile from my humble abode… I can go there without even blinking an eye… I can even walk there if I needed to….Ah, the joy, so much to behold….
I am complete!