This is my confession, you don’t have to forgive me…
Hi, my name is Mike. I’ve a confession to make. I’m not asking forgiveness because my hypocrisy doesn’t deserve it. I’m… err… ahh… mmm… this is so hard… I’m a chipaholic!
I criticise smokers and fat people but my chip addiction was out of control when I lived in Knysna. Junk food is the cheapest treat when poor. Every time I had money, I went foraging. I was a neanderthal with a mall for my cave.
When the Chinese shop with those pretty ladies opened in between Grey Street and the taxi rank, there were new and tasty, toxic snacks. And Woolworths and Food Lover’s Market have always had something exotic or classy (if being curled and crispy is an attribute of class).
A good day was when I found a new flavour or brand, whether I liked it or not. I just needed to have an opinion which, if good, would find me buying packets for mates, the bar counter and waitresses.
I got fat eating those, what Americans call ‘crisps’, and, especially, fried potato, roast potato, boiled potato, bread and toast.
After Knysna, with smoke and politicians on my heels, I cut down. I still looked for new brands, and would eat a whole packet in one go, but I’d begun the path to a healthier lifestyle.
But, in Namibia, I was disappointed to discover that they were the first country I’d been to that never had a local brand. In Egypt, for example, chilli & lime was awesome! But at least Swakopmund, on the coast of Namibia, had gherkin-flavoured Pringles which had been imported from Germany. They were great but, at R80, I only had it once.
Apples and boiled eggs replaced a lot of parmesan or pepper Flanagans, any hot Doritos, and barbeque Niknaks. The biggest positive is that my asthma improved without the chernobyl-like ingredients listed in too-small font on the back of the packets.
Later, I’d remove meat, eggs and dairy from my diet too.
My 94-day hunger strike ensured chips were as scarce as dodo bird droppings. Afterwards, it was on my list of treats but I felt sick afterwards.
Fast forward into coronavirus South Africa. On Day #70 of my self-imposed quarantine, I was delivered a favourite – Messaris puff chips (which, with more grams and at a cheaper price, is about double the value of Simba and Willards). I sucked those spare rib flavoured motherpuffs until my tongue was raw. And then, like before, I felt sick.
Once the body skips dairy and adapts to rice and porridge, it doesn’t find any sexy chip to be a friend… which is probably why, when I break my celibacy, I shouldn’t have sex with with a spicy woman from Hornlee.
I never wore one of those ‘1-Month’ or ‘100-Days-Since-I-Ingested Chips’ badges they hand out at recovery meetings. Why would I want people to know that I’m an addict. Besides, a heroin friend warned me that, “They’ll congratulate with a big smile and then look at you as a potential robber when you visit their house.”
On coronavirus isolation Day #107, rice was the only view I’d had for weeks. But, that afternoon, I received apples, peanuts, dried fruit and a big pack of Simba chips! My heart did the equivalent of, “Oh my God, I’m a lotto winner!” Then, before I could remind myself what had happened last time, the chips had vanished.
I felt awful. My tummy was in a battle with Moby Dick, my nose jammed with sniffles.
I don’t think I can do this anymore. It makes me feel sad to let go yet simultaneously relieved to walk away.
Am I an addict forever, or am I cured? Whichever is true, I’m happy that I’m never going to be tempted to rob you for a Dorito fix.
I won’t relapse because they’ll never make awesome flavours such as Cajun Squirrel, Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing, Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Avocado Oil & Lime, Chili and Lime, Hot Chili Squid, Spinach & Artichoke, Beer Battered Onion, Truffle & Rosemary, Turkey & Gravy, Onion Rings & Tomato Sauce, Wasabi & Ginger, Onions and Sour cream, Mushroom, Watermelon, Cappuccino…