Friday, March 14, 2008

BEST OF: Confessions of a Peep killer

My name is Kathe. I’m a Peep killer.

I’m abjectly sorry, your honor. But there is no hope for me. I know that now.

It all started at a really serious meeting where the discussion — for some obscure reason — turned to making S’Mores in a microwave. There wasn’t one of us in the room under 40 years old, so you’d have thought we’d have better things to talk about.

Once the odd topic had been broached, I piped up, “It’s fun to watch what the microwave does to a marshmallow. It looks like a mutant float in the Macy’s parade, or the before photo in a Gas-X ad.”

Your honor, it was all downhill from there.

A friend who shall remain anonymous said that, “If you think S’Mores are fun to watch, you should try a Peep.”

You know what Peeps are, don’t you? Those biliously colored mouthfuls of oddly flavored fluff, marshmallows in drag as chickens and bunnies. They show up in rows in their tidy little yellow boxes on variety-store shelves a month or so before Easter, to be snapped up by basket-building parents and gobbled up by youngsters with no taste buds.

I thought I’d outgrown Peeps at the age of 3.

But no. It’s obviously an obsession that’s been latent all these years.
Right after that fateful meeting, I did what I haven’t done in years (sob, sob).

I bought some Peeps.

That’s all it took. Instantly, I sank into the depths of degradation.
And husband R. came with me. Two of us, together on the road to Peep Hell.

Yes, we did kill the Peep. Several of them in fact. And what’s even worse, we enjoyed it. We're so bad.

What did we do as soon as we got home? Did we put the ice cream in the freezer? Did we put the car in the garage? Did we even stop for an after-the-trip-to-San-Luis pit stop?

We did not. We senior citizens ripped open the box, grabbed a plate, and plucked out a vividly yellow chicken Peep.

Yes, we stood before the microwave and pondered what we were about to do. No, you honor, it was not a last-minute reflection before our transgression. We just couldn’t figure out how many seconds to key into the timer.

“We’ll try 10,” said husband R.

Your honor, it was spellbinding, addicting, depraved. The Peep just grew and grew, got rounder and rounder, until I was afraid it would explode.

(Would have served me right, too — I’m not sure the resulting culinary Super Glue would ever have come off the sides and ceiling of the microwave.)

“Not enough time,” said husband R, with a demonic look in his eyes. “Five more seconds.”

It had come to this. Counting down the demise of a helpless little marshmallow chick (which, by the way, was pretty chewy by the time it cooled off. The microwaves don’t do a thing for the flavor, either).

Oh, I know we are not alone. Others also obsess about the popular kiddie treats from Just Born Inc.

There are even Web sites that discuss the atrocities visited upon Marshmallow Peeps. One site lists various vile forms of torture: laser-exposure endurance, slow application of heat, flame tolerance, electrocution, oxygen deprivation, radiation tolerance, coyote test and hot-tub test.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. And I am repentant, honestly I am.

I’d throw myself on the mercy of the court, but I’m still so sticky, I’m afraid I’d never be able to pry myself off again.

So, keep me away from the Peeps. Help me save myself and those ghastly little globby blobs of goo. I am resolute, I shall not harm another Peep.

But even a reformed sinner has her limits. Just don't get me close to any chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies, or they're goners.

This column ran first in The Cambrian in April, 2000, and in The Tribune in April, 2001. It got a lot of attention and comments. In fact, one reader presents the columnist with a gift of Peeps each year in honor of the piece.

1 comment:

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