Add this to the list of things that prove the aging process is having an effect on my poor, beleaguered brain.
All week, I've been lighting a candle next to my computer; having it lit helps me relax and focus on what I'm writing. I blow out the match, and rest it on the desk, waiting a few minutes for it to fully cool before I toss it into the garbage can.
Yesterday, I was working at my desk, and opened a Hershey's miniature dark chocolate bar, breaking it in half so I could ration the so-dark-it's-nearly-black chocolatey goodness over the course of the evening. (OK, fine--it was over the course of a half hour, so sue me.) As I broke it, little flakes of chocolate fell off of each of the two pieces, landing on my desk.
Before I could think about what I was doing, I picked up these pieces of chocolate and popped them in my mouth. Only one of them wasn't sweet. It was salty, and kind of made my tongue feel funny. Because it wasn't chocolate. It was a burnt, blackened match tip. And that taste was probably sulfur.
I immediately began worrying that match tips were poisoned, and I was gonna die, all because I didn't want a little piece of chocolate to escape. Or maybe it was because I was playing with matches in a new and stupider way. They were safety matches, I reasoned. But the safety undoubtedly refers to the fact that you can't light them in any way besides using the magic matchbook strip...not to accidental ingestion.
A day later, I'm happy to report that although it did taste terrible, my having eaten said match tip was apparently not lethal. But certainly not advised. And certainly, pretty darned stupid.
And what is the point of this, the significance to my having eaten a match? It is of course, the irony of having spent the last two decades or so looking for a match, when one was under my nose the whole time, or at least for the split second between the time I picked it up on my fingertip and popped it into my mouth, hoping for chocolate and receiving salty-sour sulfur and the barest evocation of the fire that once was. Or perhaps it is the wish of my subconscious to achieve a match, or to become matchable, by consuming one, thereby proving once and for all the aphorism that you are what you eat. And perhaps it was a reflexive response to the lack of passion, the lack of heat and fire in a young life that should be, by all means, actively smoking, burning with a fiery zeal.
There’s another solution. It’s less sexy, less admirable. In this scenario, I’m just sitting here at a computer, scripting tales told by an idiot and signifying, ultimately, nothing…except the literal truth: that I ate a match.