Quote of the Day:
“Confess and be hanged.” –Christopher Marlowe
This morning TB left home a little earlier than usual. I had a long drive and needed some extra time. There was a chocolate chip cookie left over from last night in the microwave. It wasn’t mine but I took it. I figured I could just make more tonight if anyone missed it. As I walked out the door I started to take a bite but stopped myself. “I’ll save it for after breakfast so I can savor it,” I told myself. Before I got in the car it was gone. The act was completely involuntary. I was powerless to stop it.
That cookie was dang good too. So good in fact that I rerouted in order to get breakfast at Fresh Market on the way out of town. At Fresh Market I picked up three more chocolate chip cookies, one to savor after breakfast as originally planned and two for lunch. It was going to be a long drive after all.
There is nothing like a long drive for reflecting on one’s life. Complex political issues, the origins of the universe, awesome blog topics…in the car all alone eternal questions like these get within a hair’s breadth of resolution, the threads of logic interrupted only by an overwhelming urge to self examine one’s own life and come to profound realizations. And so it was, as I devoured a stray crumb rescued from the crease in my shirt, that I thought of my childhood friend Cookie Monster and the great controversy that has always stood between us.
In 1979, Citizens National Bank fielded one of the greatest T-ball teams in the history of Pascagoula, probably the world. Our centerfielder was a heavy hitter, the only kid on the team bigger than me. After running roughshod over the eleven opponents available to us and winning every title we competed for, we convened for the final time at Beach Park for a team party. I don’t recall much about the party except that everyone got a game ball from the season and I happened to get stuck with a crummy one from a blowout of one of the worst teams, probably Toulme Tire or some such, if you were wondering. Undoubtedly there were hot dogs and chips and of course there were cookies.
I honestly have no recollection of what happened that day. What I know for sure is that my friend was accused by the coaches of pilfering the cookies, not only before they were to be served, but in numbers so great he left the plate near empty. He was immediately convicted in the court of public opinion and christened the Cookie Monster, a name that has stuck with him for all his years.
Cookie Monster and I went our separate ways after that season and it was several years before I saw him again. I happily greeted my old CNB comrade and eagerly raised the topic of our 8 year old greatness. To my shock and confusion Cookie Monster did not want to rehash the good ol’ days. Instead he wanted something I could not provide–evidence of his innocence in the cookie stealing matter, moreover, an alibi. The issue was so settled in my mind that I did not even consider his accusation of me as the guilty party plausible, much less credible. I laughed off the incident while CM seethed. As we passed through our teens and entered our twenties I saw CM regularly. Never, not once, did he fail to accost me about the matter of the cookies and never did he fail to demand my confession. The man would not release the grudge. I always laughed.
Then today I ate cookies until I was almost ill. I love cookies. I love the buy 5 get one free at the mall. Did you know if you buy ten they give you two? It’s a sweet deal. As I drove, my subconscious mind worked over the old faded memories of childhood, turning over every shred of the summer of ’79 it could find. A definitive memory of the incident just doesn’t exist. But how can a dude hold a grudge about something he’s guilty of against another who is innocent for thirty years if he doesn’t truly believe he is expressing the truth? How do I explain my inability to keep the cookie I stole from my child out of my mouth for even thirty seconds? When the juxtaposition of my undeniable cookie love and CM’s enduring recriminations against me is considered, what does it prove? The case is circumstantial for sure, but it feels right. It is a burden lifted off my shoulders, a renewal of my spirit, a cleansing of the soul. I will never recapture the memory in my mind, but in my–in my taste buds–the knowledge is true. You’ve gotta be right Cookie Monster. You were wrongly convicted. It had to have been me.