Every year, as part of my fundraising efforts for the ACS, I bribe friends and family with a box of homemade cookies to make a donation.
The cookie-making process has gotten more involved and rigorous with each passing year. I make a cool dozen or more batches of cookies and candy. The selection is varied, and the cookies are bundled in separate treat bags and assembled in boxes.
Last year, I made an extra box for someone who wasn’t expecting it. “Next time I see him,” I thought, “I’ll bring him the box.”
Weeks went by. Months.
Then one night, in a fit of desperation and insomnia, I pulled the box out of the freezer.
“I’ll just have one of these bags. No one will know.”
One bag turned into three, turned into ten, turned into the whole box.
There, in the darkness of my living room, illuminated only by the flickering light of the television, I beheld the carnage. The casualties? Empty cellophane bags, a spray of crumbs, and some tissue paper.
I could throw away all of that and tuck the box away with my wrapping supplies. No one would know.
Except that the empty spot on the freezer shelf was sure to rat me out. Husband knew the box was there; he kept asking about it when we jockeyed for space in the freezer. “Who is this box for? When are you going to give it to him?” He would notice the box was gone, just as sure as he’d know that I hadn’t seen its intended recipient.
I stared at the box, gauging the space it left behind in the freezer. There really was no other recourse.
Carefully, I assembled all of the cookie waste—the bags and silvery ties, the tissue paper, the crumbs—all evidence of my misdeed, inside the box and closed the lid.
I stood up from the couch, flailing a little with my full cookie belly, and waddled to the kitchen. I opened the freezer door, took one last assessment of the items inside, and placed the empty box back on the shelf.
I don’t tell you this because I want to warn against the dangers of the late-night hunger munches.
I tell this story because it’s that time of year again, with fresh boxes of cookies in my freezer, and this empty box of shame wrappers was only evacuated three months ago.