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Happy Easter Webler, everyone! What’s Easter Webler, you ask? It’s the day before Easter of course and my brother’s and my attempt to make the day before Easter as important a holiday as Christmas Eve. It never caught on, imagine that, but we still remember it fondly.

I love Easter and not just because it’s Peeps season. And the real-deal Peeps. Not those red marshmallow Christmas trees or orange marshmallow pumpkins. Those imposters should not be allowed to call themselves Peeps. Everyone knows Peeps are yellow chicks (or bunnies but only because I’m a sucker for big ears.)

I especially love Easter because it’s when the two things I worship most come together: chocolate and animals. I don’t eat animals in real life, but I will dig into a bunny carved out of chocolate without hesitation. It stings, but only a little.

One Easter however, I had a major ethical dilemma. You see if it’s one thing I hate as much as I love chocolate it’s feet. Ugh. I hate even typing the word because it conjures up visions of them. I hate looking at them! Hate touching them (not that I ever have to do that) and hate them touching me. I don’t care if your pair is freshly minted from a hot, Epson salts bath. They’re still revolting. And dirty. (And not “you” personally. “You” in the general sense, which come to think of it, I guess still includes you. Sorry.)

My mom used to try to make me touch her feet. She would say, “you lived inside of me for 11 months*. How could you not love mommy’s feet?” Because Mommy’s feet are feet, and therefore off limits. And baby feet? Not going there either. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re cute. For the record, I LOVE animal feet. Can’t get enough of velvety kitty and doggy paws. I kiss their feet!

So you get that I hate feet, right? And that I LOVE chocolate. Like a good piece of chocolate will bring tears to my eyes. I should feel bad saying that I would save a piece of flourless chocolate cake from a burning building before I saved my mom if I didn’t know for a fact she would say the same. I’d still save her. I’d just grab that cake first and eat it on the way down the stairs. I’ve NEVER not finished a chocolate dessert, no matter how rich or dense or how many people it was intended for. I don’t share. Save us both the embarrassment and don’t even ask.

So this ethical dilemma I was talking about…

On a pleasant spring day, close to my beloved holiday, I got a package. I can’t remember the name of this place (for good reason) but I know the return label alluded to it being A. Chocolate and B. Custom made chocolate. Oh joy! How thoughtful of my dad to think of me! I tore open the box only to come face to face with what was to become the toughest moral decision of my young life. There before me was a huge, Sasquatch-sized, chocolate foot. That’s right. Chocolate. Foot. Who does that to chocolate? More importantly, who does that to me? My DAD, that’s who!

The chocolate foot was worse than you can possibly imagine. I mean this thing was so lifelike. Cast from the very foot of a sweaty, hairy, size 10 man who clearly used whatever funds he was paid for this modeling gig on something other than a pedicure. And the details! Right down to the toenails (oh god, I’m throwing up in my mouth!) Toenails! And…oh … it’s painful…hair follicles! And wrinkles. It was just too real for me to feel comfortable next to and yet, it was chocolate.

Please note this awful ironic gift came at a time when I was young and even poorer than I am now. I had probably been in Seattle barely 2 months. I was making $5.25/hour at my retail job (which mind you is a full $.75/hour raise from the same job I held in Binghamton. They actually transferred me to Seattle. For real. But didn’t pay my moving expenses. Imagine that.) So yes, I was poor. Food was hard to come by when you had things like rent, car insurance, cigarettes, and electricity to pay for. Getting an 18-pound hunk of chocolate was like winning the Pulitzer Prize.

What’s a hungry, poor, chocoholic to do? I’ll tell you. I caved. I started nipping away at the ankle, as that was the most innocuous part of the anatomy. And then I cautiously made my way down to the heel, eventually chipping away at the base until I got to the ball of the foot. Now we were stumbling onto difficult terrain being so close to those nasty toes so I backtracked, making my way along the top of the foot, again stopping about and inch and half from the toes. I felt like Pac-Man trying to get to a piece of fruit while dodging Inky and Blinky.

But wow! That chocolate was good! Must they have used such high quality ingredients to make a FOOT? I wrestled with my subconscious, not to mention, why I had a father who wished to torture me like this, but every time I had a chocolate craving but my cocoa bean addiction persevered.

Until the unspeakable happened.

One day I went back for a little pinch of chocolate only to discover all that remained were about 3 pounds of toes. Noooooooooo! How could this happen? And more importantly how on Earth did I manage to consume 15 pounds of chocolate by myself! But the toes! This presented a real problem. Anyone would have been hard pressed to chomp on one of those digits. They had wrinkles and hair and nails embedded in them! But that chocolate! It was so good!

I thought about throwing it out. Enough is enough. There’s plenty of perfectly good chocolate lying on shelves in the grocery store 3 feet from my apartment. And it’s BAR shaped! The way chocolate was intended! But still, there was something that stopped me from tossing the toes in the trash. I refused to be defeated. I must be stronger than a foot. Or at least ¾’s of it. I will conquer the foot!

I busted out my double-broiler (because no matter how poor you are, everyone should still have a double-broiler) and dumped the toes in and stirred and stirred and stirred until they lost their vomitous shape and became shiny, beautiful, liquid chocolate. Ha! I win! Be gone, toes!

Afterwards I went to the grocery store passing by the normal shaped chocolates and spent the last $12 in my checking account on a flat of strawberries and the cheapest bottle of champagne I could find. When my roommate came home from her $5.00/hour job she was a bit skeptical.

“Chocolate covered strawberries and champagne?” she asked. “Umm… we’re still just friends, right?”

“Whatever,” I answered. “As if you could afford to keep me in fine chocolates and cheap champagne.” Well, maybe the champagne wouldn’t be a problem. It tasted awful, but we toasted and knocked back the whole bottle. I don’t know if it was the sweet taste of victory or mask of cheap champagne but putting my foot in my mouth never felt so good.

*My mom claims I was in utero for 11 MONTHS! That’s right. She claims I was due before Christmas but didn’t arrive until February 1st. And only then as a result of being induced! Clearly the doctors miscalculated. Maybe they were predicting my birth.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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