Death by Chocolate 

Or, how City Weekly’s editorial intern embarked on a single-minded choco-rampage.

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Mae West said it best: “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.

On a temperate September day, I set out to test Miss Mae’s hypothesis. I felt like pushing myself to the limit. Illicit drugs are really expensive, my alcohol tolerance is laughably low, and I interviewed an infectious disease specialist last week who informed me that the United States is in the midst of a syphilis epidemic. What’s a thrill-seeking girl to do?

Why not indulge my sweet tooth and rebel against all those annoying ninnies who preach the virtues of low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free food and eat nothing but chocolate for 24 hours?

Chocolate releases all kinds of chemicals in the brain, it’s cheap, and I wouldn’t end up in cuffs if I consumed it while operating a motor vehicle.

My little experiment resulted in a four-stage high: nostalgia, euphoria, amnesia and mania. I’m sure I did some sort of permanent damage to my body, but I’m under the age of 25, so I’ll worry about that in a decade, when my metabolism starts to slow down.

Stage 1: Nostalgia (Morning)

In honor of New Orleans, I began with a German praline from the Old Dutch Store (2696 Highland Dr.). Pralines, made of almond and pecan kernels stirred in boiling sugar until crisp and golden brown, are a popular treat in the Big Easy.

There are a wide variety of flavors, including vanilla, but I assure you that chocolate is the best. One of the greatest things about chocolate is that it sparks forgotten memories. Every delicious bite reminded me of my last trip to New Orleans in 2001. My fondest memory is a toothless Cajun waitress hovering over me until I finished every last raw oyster that I was bold enough to order because I was, “too skinny and needed to eat somethin’.” I always loved New Orleans because it was place where people who never let loose allowed themselves to let loose. New Orleans, this excess is for you.

Stage 2: Euphoria (Afternoon)

I spent the afternoon shopping for chocolate at Cummings Studio Chocolate (679 E. 900 South) and the Hatch Family Chocolates store (390 Fourth Ave.). Right before I reached the door of Hatch, two joggers cut in front of me. One opened the door for me and said, “Eat some for me!” Poor slogs. Ruining their knees when they could be experiencing a blissful sugar high.

My acquisitions included a chocolate bee, witch and ghost, a “mint delight,” a large round piece of chocolate with “Salt Lake City” scrawled in red frosting, four gummy worms, two pieces of mango and two pieces of ginger dipped in chocolate, and a Kit-Kat bar from 7-Eleven for good measure. I ate as I drove, and the more chocolate I consumed, the better I felt. Colors appeared more vibrant, the air was crisp and clean and everything seemed right with the world.

Stage 3: Amnesia (Evening)

Most of the chocolate was gone by the time I reached 2100 South on my way home. Mind you, I live on 6400 South. I had this nagging feeling I was supposed to do something but couldn’t figure out what it was. All this chocolate was making me stupid. I descended into a sluggish haze around 4500 South. I made an executive decision to lay off the chocolate for a few hours.

I had a murky realization that I must go to the grocery store and pick up a prescription. As I pulled into the parking lot, a faint wave of nausea hit me. “What if I puke in public?” I thought to myself as I walked through the automatic doors. I took a few deep breaths and stopped near the magazine rack. “Wait, what was I worried about? And what am I doing here?” Normally, that sort of disorientation would have alarmed me, but all the sugar had suppressed the activity of my brain.

Stage 4: Mania (Night Fall)

Once home, I decided to eat the large piece of chocolate with Salt Lake City scrawled across it in red frosting. It was the last of my stash. As I ate, it occurred to me that my room needed cleaning. I dusted, then vacuumed and washed the walls, scrubbing in frantic circles so as not to miss any dirt. I changed my sheets, flipped my queen-size mattress, and dragged my bed across the room, along with a few other pieces of furniture. In three hours, I had cleaned my room from floor to ceiling, and almost totally rearranged the furniture. I laid awake until 3:30 a.m., admiring the fruits of my sugar high.

The next morning I awoke feeling slightly groggy, but otherwise fine. Mae West was right: Too much of a good thing really is wonderful.

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About The Author

Jenny Poplar

Jenny Poplar is both a dancer and a frequent City Weekly contributor.

More by Jenny Poplar

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