Figured it out.
Potato chip bags, newly opened, offer big chips, delicately flavored, to assuage that guilty pleasure-seeking hormone that wants nothing more than salty, greasy snacks. You reach in the bag and pull out chip after chip almost to big to fit inside your mouth.
Then it happens. You get past that first mound of big chips and all remaining chips barely cover the quarter you throw in the swear jar because the quick change to small chips angers you.
It's simple. Those potato chip bags are propped open on a conveyer belt, which slides the bags along under the vat of small chips. When the bag nears fullness, the belt drags it a bit further, where big, round chips fill it to an almost-full point. Air fills out the bag before it's closed to keep in all this freshness.
Oh, like most others, I blamed these bitsy chips on mismanagement on my part. Too much bag handling causing chips to break. Thus the small chips. But - and don't I say there's always a but? -I watched myself when handling my last bag of chips. Never once did I squeeze the bag. Never did I drop it on the cupboard. Never did I shove it into a space too small to handle it. No operator error this time.
Still, just past a skinny layer of big chips, every chip got smaller and smaller. And smaller, until I should have used what was left on the top of a macaroni-and-cheese casserole. I might have, but I don't cook that much, especially something I can get in the freezer compartment of the grocery store.
One thing about these diminishing chips, it helps me control my urge for the saltiness and more times than not, I can pass the chips without reaching out. Of course, I often go back, but that doesn't lessen the little spark of satisfaction that comes from passing them up in the first place. I take my wins where I can find them.
Perhaps that says more about my will power, or lack thereof, than I'd like to admit. It's in there somewhere, tucked behind my will to clean or do laundry. Little wonder it's hard to find.
That's another thing that would make a good addition to humankind. A small button, much like a big freckle, that, when touched, would flood the body with will power to withstand any amount of temptation, no matter how salty and greasy it might be.
Oh, sure, will power is hidden away inside almost everyone, but how much easier it would be to have a button to push. No more agony over whether to get one or two bags of chips, no more decisions to make when all you want to do is get out of harms way. I often walk down the pet food aisle just to get to the other end of the store without having to run the gauntlet of cookies or cashews or honey cinnamon graham crackers. I don't have pets.
And don't get me started on the candy aisle.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.