It started in college.
An 8:00 a.m. Bio class in a cold lecture hall, with dimmed lights, and Ben Stein’s brother READING HIS NOTES to us. The same notes he put online for us to print and study. And then he read them. And my head got really, really heavy until I felt my nose grazing the papers on the tiny fold-out desk covering my lap.
Something had to happen. I had to find a way to stay awake. If not to pay attention, then at the very least to keep from drooling on myself and the people shoved into the theater seats next to me.
There was a little cafe/snack bar in the Bio building, and I started the habit of stopping in on the way to every class.
Powdered donuts were messy.
Snickers didn’t last long enough.
Pop Tarts gave me indigestion.
The “biscuits” were vomitous.
So, I settled on m&ms. Sometimes Peanut, sometimes plain. A bag of each if I was feeling especially
hungover hungry. With a Diet Coke to wash it all down. (My preference would’ve been Diet Pepsi, but alas, I am a rebel in the state Coca-Cola built.)
I estimate that I spent roughly a student loan check’s worth of my cold, hard cash on things to keep me awake in that class. And probably 50 times that much in calories.
I’d get into the lecture hall and make myself comfortable-ish in the theater seats with the fold-out desktops that weren’t big enough for my notebook and sort my candies.
A pile for each color.
To make the bag of candy last while the professor droned on and on and on about the animal kingdom and slime molds and ferns (I think), I’d eat the candies one at a time starting with whichever color had the fewest candies in the bag. After that color was gone, I’d move to the next biggest pile, eating the candies one at a time until eventually, there were no more candies on my notebook. And due to the candies on my notebook, there were no notes in my notebook either.
This candy sorting habit dies hard. In that it doesn’t die and is still alive and well 10 years later.
And also, D is for Diploma.