Thursday, September 6, 2018

The One in Which I Finally Shed the Last of My Dignity by Going to a Cookie Dough Parlor

It is no great secret that I have a whole trunk full of neuroses, one could argue that this blog wouldn't even exist if it weren't for my habit of becoming enraged at the tiniest things. Today I was bitten by one of the stupidest of my compulsions—my need to try every single novelty food on the planet.

This idiocy of mine has been documented on here in the past, but it always seemed like a silly little hobby. It was after today's decision to walk into a trendy shop and order a cup of cookie dough that I fully understood that it's an addiction. A Sriracha infused beer was the equivalent of stealing a couple of PBRs from the fridge in the garage. The Halloween Whopper was the first time I understood the smell of Otto's Jacket. And the KFC DoubleDown was like taking down a couple of lines in a dingy dive bar bathroom. To continue with the drug metaphor, buying a cup full of cookie dough for $5.25 was like spending an hour trying to find a vein before injecting a speedball so massive that it could kill a whale. 

What I'm trying to say is that there is no way to debase myself any further. I've hit bottom. 

I first heard about the Dough Life a couple of weeks ago. At first I assumed that it was a joke. The mall already had a macaron kiosk, not to mention TWO Auntie Anne's, so this seemed like a perfectly believable bit of bullshit that a friend was spinning just to bait me into seeking it out to no avail. But it's all too real. 

I spotted it a week ago, guffawed about it and planned on going about my days. But it was too late, the seed had been planted. I couldn't help but think about it. What kind of flavors do they have? What sort of wacky twist have they thrown into the operation? How much could such a delight cost? What the hell kind of people actually go to such a place? 

As much as I wanted to mock the place and never set foot inside of it, curiosity was gnawing at me. Walking through the mall this afternoon on my way back from the bank I couldn't fight the urges any longer. I needed a fix. 

The shop was empty save for a middle aged worker behind the counter. This guy seemed way too surly to be working at an operation fueled by whimsy, although that may just be my projections. I expected my order to be taken by some amalgamation of Willy Wonka, Barney the dinosaur and Fozzie Bear. What I got was a normal human working a thankless job for too little pay, or possibly the owner of the store slowly coming to the realization that he should have dropped his money into a Souper Crackers. Off to a bad start. 

There were a bunch of options to choose from—classic chocolate chip, cake batter, brownie, a neon green abomination entitled Mint Dynasty, M&Ms, a bullshit red velvet concoction because every goddamn food needs to come in "red velvet" nowadays. The problem was that none of them aside from the chocolate chip looked like something you would eat on purpose. It looked like the kind of paste the hero would mix with blue milk to create a nutrient rich hunger slurry in a dystopian sci-fi movie. Looks aside, I was already committed and ordered a small cup of the chocolate chip.

It is difficult to put into words the profound and crushing shame I felt before even placing my spoon in the cup. Suddenly my biggest fear in the world was no longer truck-sized spiders, instead I was petrified that people would see me about to cram cookie dough into my maw. They really should think about setting up little booths, like a confessional, that let you anonymously order your cookie dough, eat it and then step through the other side out of a door that says "Organic Health Food." 

I like cookie dough. I always used to line up to lick the spoon when my mom had put a fresh batch of cookies in the oven, just like every other kid. In high school some of us that weren't drinking used to go on cookie dough runs during house parties, mostly because it was absurd, but also because biting off a chunk of a tube of Pillsbury was a delicious treat and a great way to spread herpes among friends. Even with that caveat, I learned that I don't actually want to eat a fucking cup of cookie dough. 

The dough was room temperature, not hot or cold. It felt like it should be one or the other, instead it was just in the middle, like it couldn't commit. It tasted fine, no real qualms about the flavor. But the consistency was terrible, like eating play dough. Which, I guess it kind of is, but you know what I mean. It was after about three bites that I was hit with The Thirst.

No mere sip of water could conquer The Thirst, it would require a goddamn keg of water. It was as if the dough had absorbed every drop of moisture in my body, leaving my mouth dryer than the Gobi. 

A verdict had been reached: designer cookie dough is terrible and I had made a terrible mistake. The only problem was that I still had about 79% of the cup to go. I'm a frugal man, I don't throw away food, no matter how terrible it tastes. I dove in for another bite and decided that I was going to get my $5.25 worth, the consequences be damned. As the bite hit my tongue I was hit with a second, even stronger wave of shame. What the fuck am I doing?

I threw out the rest of the wretched dessert, flipped it the finger for good measure and walked home with my head hung low. I got home, threw on my Nikes (daps, Kap) and went to the gym. I ran as hard as I could (which most would probably call "jogging") for as long as I could (about the length of a Parks and Rec episode) until I felt like I was gonna hurl that disgusting shit all over the gym floor. Then I pulled back a bit and finished working out until the shame subsided. 

Long story short, don't eat novelty bullshit just because you're bored. Mall cookie dough scooped into a paper cup by a depressed man was never going to give me the shot of nostalgia that I was craving, but I chased it nonetheless. I guess the bright side is that I'll never be tempted by it again. And it didn't turn my shit green like the Halloween Whopper. Yay? 

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