I overheard something funny as I was munching on a sweet snack last month. I didn't catch much of the conversation, but I did hear, "I need hot fudge." I thought it was hilarious. The more timid among us say, "Could I please have some hot fudge?" Others might say, "I'd like hot fudge on that." But someone who states an emphatic "need" for hot fudge clearly knows the power of prescription-strength chocolate. Hot fudge is a cheap pain reliever, readily available over the ice cream counter. And, I can tell you: there are days I feel that same overpowering need.
There are days I "need" coffee. On these days, my brain is thinking, "I'll take coffee, but why don't they sell hard liquor at this diner? Seriously, they could keep a little rum back there behind that waffle iron." We've all been there. Those are the days we settle for strong coffee or hot fudge because the dentist won't give laughing gas unless we're getting a crown. On those days, the world is screaming at us, and we need it to shut up. So we ingest large doses of hot fudge, coffee, chocolate bars and other mental peace offerings. And it usually works, right? We get a sugar rush and a caffeine high. We buzz, and we vibrate, and we're happy again. Well, sometimes we're happy. Sometimes, we go too far with our coffee and hot fudge self-medication. That's happened to me more than once.
My best friend and I are notorious for our love of Vietnamese coffee, a brew that's powerful, even in small doses. A few years ago, we were drinking this concoction at a restaurant, and we overdid it. I had three of these insane drinks and was in absolute pain, vibrating due to the caffeine overload. My pain reliever had turned into a poison, and it was so bad, I barely slept that night. But at the time, even as we were being advised, "You two have had enough," we kept on drinking our sweet poison, laughing at the waitress' threats to cut us off. "It's just coffee!" I'm sure I repeated that phrase over and over, all night, as I lay in bed wishing I'd never seen coffee, whether from Vietnam, Vienna or Vidalia. If only I'd had a big jar of hot fudge that night.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.