Death By Chocolate

“Never too thin; never too rich; never too much chocolate.”

Lifted from a Yuppie’s kitchen apron, this quip speaks to several matters within the novel The First Days of August.  

Of course, it’s meant as a joke, so it’s unfair to take it too seriously.  Part of the point is that the quip is so objectionable it’s funny, and in a backhanded sort of way it’s even laughing at itself.  But there’s a serious element; else it wouldn’t work.

And just to be clear, I’m not objecting to people being thin (although being too thin is neither healthy nor attractive – and one can be attractive in so many other ways), nor am I objecting to people being rich (although we’ve heard a rich man has more trouble getting into heaven than a camel through the eye of a needle – to which one must remember what is impossible with men is run-of-the-mill for the Almighty).

But back to my point...  

No, the hope to be thin and rich seems not exceptionally objectionable.  

The real kicker is the chocolate.

“Never too much chocolate” is the call to arms of an army of Marie Antoinette’s, all of whom see no limits to consumption.  No bread?  Have cake.  And while we’re at it, let’s have chocolate cake – never too much chocolate cake.

Eat more.  Consume more.  Grab more.  Ignore limits.  Revel in excess.  There are no boundaries for us, the Elect of the global consumer society.

And, of course, this consumption is without consequence.  That’s the joke of the apron:  eat chocolate, yet remain thin.

The impossibility of consequence-free consumption was Marie Antoinette’s roadmap to the guillotine in 1793 during the latter days of the French Revolution.

Similarly, sliced cleanly, it is the roadmap today for ultimate failure, pretty much whatever the endeavor may be.

In my novel The First Days of August, we meet George MacGregor, a man consumed with ambition – indeed, in his case, an ambition to consume.  George is quite fine an example of:  “Never too much chocolate.”  But he is not so fine an example of a good scientist.

Every profession – whether science, medicine, law, the clergy, or any other – makes an ethical demand of its practitioners:  that they not focus on the chocolate.  Practice to the benefit of the client; practice towards excellence in the profession; practice to imbue values in future generations – the rest will take care of itself.  

Misplaced motivation, such as in George’s case, only leads to trouble.  Big trouble.

Dear Reader, let us all work hard, love deeply, stay thin, and grow rich.  

Ignore the chocolate.

Read 782 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 20:09
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