Thursday, January 11, 2007

No more burned marshmallows

My parents often took me camping when I was a young child. At night we sat around the campfire, and sometimes we roasted marshmallows. Well, my parents roasted their marshmallows. I burned mine.

I hadn't yet learned patience. I was too eager to get to the toasty marshmallow result to spend much time holding the marshmallow away from the flames. Clearly they toasted faster if they were held closer to the flames. Or right in the flames. Then they caught fire, burned, and charred.

Each time that happened, I blew out the flames around the blackened sugar lump, waited as long as I could stand for it to cool, and then ate it. Sometimes I tried to remove the charred black crust, but that rarely worked. So I ate burned, black, slightly-sweetened charcoal.

Mmmm ... charcoal.

I assured my mom and dad, and my friends when they camped with us, that "I really like burned marshmallows! I enjoy eating them that way."

To prove it, I quit trying to toast them carefully. I deliberately held every fresh marshmallow right in middle of the flames. I became skilled at burning them. I declared they were even tastier when they caught fire twice. Three times even.

"Mmmm ... I really like burned marshmallows!"

But I didn't, of course. Burned marshmallows taste bad. They taste like burned ... well, they taste like burned anything. They taste burned.

Eventually I tired of pretending to enjoy burned marshmallows. I decided that learning to be more patient might taste better than pretending to enjoy the flavor of charcoal.

Now, as an adult, sometimes I see people work very hard to pretend that unpleasant outcomes are really going just fine. Often I hear people tell me things that sound remarkably similar to my childish proclamation, "I really like burned marshmallows!"

I don't believe them.

1 comment:

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