Snacks are supposed to be treats. Whether biscuits, crisps, chocolate, truffles, ice cream or gummy sweets, they were used as treats and as well they should.
Too many children are given treats like this far too freely. They are given them instead of time. Instead of love and instead of genuine parenting; many children are given a McDonald’s.
“But muuuuummmmm, you’re a fucking bitch for not giving me what I want!” a child screams, we’ve all heard it, we’ve all shaken our heads, and we’ve all just got on with our day. Perhaps posting a status on Facebook about how parenting in modern Britain has went down hill. Well, some people do.
But for the kid, they think that’s how life is. If you do what’s expected of you, not swearing, you deserve a treat. You deserve to be rewarded for doing nothing more than any decent human being would anyway.
Not all kids get treats like this though. Some treats are only available when times in the house are good.
Takeaways and cinema trips were signs that there was no vodka being drunk that night. Ice lollies and Doritos were omens that, for tonight at least, the house would be calm, free from anger and perhaps even a family night in front of the T.V.
When these treats were not there, that’s when you worried about hard times. When £1.65 had to be scraped together from penny jars and dirty jeans pockets in the washing basket for a bottle of Diet Irn Bru and a box of dry cat food, that’s when you knew that tonight could be the night you go to bed crying again.
There was never an abundance of money for necessities. The cats left one by one, having not had wet cat food or any hint of a treat in months. Kids take sponsor sheets around neighbours doors, asking for money for a cancer walk or a diabetes hike, just so that tonight we could order a pizza and perhaps, if God or Buddha or any other deity smiling mercifully was paying attention, tonight wouldn’t be another night like before.
Often though, Zeus was busy doing whatever he did with Hera on Mount Olympus and no doubt Hecate was off in some witches shrine somewhere making a pencil float. So tonight was a night devoid of biscuits and filled with vodka. That’s just the way life is sometimes.
Things are different when you start earning your own money. Radically different when you live in your own house.
Having a job means that you can afford to go out for dinner, but yourself a Burger King for lunch, even pick up a Walkers Multipack and a tin f Celebrations for the film you want to watch tonight. But you still don’t have the freedom that comes with living alone.
You still don’t tend to buy yourself dinner and your meals are still planned by your parents. Treats are more common but you live with your mum, you still think she should be buying the sweets. It’s not that your immature, it’s just that you haven’t grown into a mentality where you feel able to feed yourself yet. You know you’re capable, it was you that went around door-to-door, sponsor sheet in hand all those years ago, but you don’t take ownership of your actions. Your mum (or whoever) is still the leader. You still follow.
Treats are to be given as rewards, and dinners to be planned by someone else; only living alone changes this.
Maybe others are able to associate other activities with happiness. Doing crosswords, maybe? A long walk in the park, perhaps? Lucky them.
But not all have such a healthy relationship with happiness. Other have a desire for biscuits, maybe even a penchant for vodka, and derive great pleasure from eating like a pig and not giving a fuck.
Or for anyone who’s more ‘Mary Poppins’ about life.
They enjoy coming home from a stressful day at work and eating their body weight in trans fats without giving one tiny ounce of a bother about it.
Eventually, this takes a toll.
The penchant for vodka may have isolated someone slightly from people they loved. Perhaps, just maybe, they may no longer be thriving center of a middling social circle in a foreign town and now supplement interaction with treats and sweets, takeaways and chips, but what’s so wrong with that?
A belly that hangs over jeans that have gotten too tight is not perfect but what is?
Times will change. Waist sizes will shrink. The gym and a hobby that someone’s passionate about will replace treats. For just now, this hasn’t happened. Dorito’s still remain king. Mini eggs reign supreme and turning down a pizza laden with pepperoni is all but unheard of.
But things have changed and are still in motion.
A takeaway isn’t given the same priority and, thankfully, neither is vodka. The end is in sight but toes, alas, still aren’t.
That’s ok. Give Archimedes a lever and he said he could move the Earth. Give me a packet of Hobnobs and I can endure the night.
Two feats of unequal proportion but of similar gravity.
So yes, yes I can have a biscuit.