Last week, I wrote a blog about break ups. Almost immediately after hitting “publish,” I headed over to my parents’ house, where I let the dogs out in the rain and poked my head into their pantry to see if there was anything I wanted to eat, because I stupidly left without having lunch. Silly me.
Yes, there was somethingthat whetted my appetite, but I just couldn’t eat it.
Why? Because it was a grand total of three years old.
I knew that meant it was gross, sure. And to be honest, I don’t even like Triscuits that much. Of course, the moment I knew that I shouldn’t eat them, I wanted them SOOOO BAD. Despite the fact that they were practically fossilized.
But did this stop me? No. I believe that my thought process was, “It’s a cracker, how bad can it be? Just a little stale, I’m sure.”
Ladies and gents, just so you know, a Triscuit three years past its prime is similar to a piece of steel in texture. I cursed so loud that one of the dogs came barging back into the house, leaving a trail of wet paw prints behind that I now had to wipe of the floor immediately while my teeth throbbed annoyingly. I mean, it was sweet of him, but really, couldn’t he have paused to wipe his paws on the mat? Lassie would have.
Now, I didn’t immediately begin making a deep life connection based on me eating the Triscuit. That doesn’t happen at noon. Those are the types of connections that happen in the middle of a stressed-out, sleep-deprived night after a bottle of wine has been opened. So it took, like, 8 hours.
I decided that I hold on to stuff way past its prime, because I remember what they’re supposed to be. And by stuff, I mean people. Don’t worry – I’m not about to tell you to get rid of your octogenarian grandmother. But I will tell you to get rid of the people you allow in your life once they aren’t good for you anymore.
Because if you have a problem with parting ways with people, then you’re more than likely just going to let them hang around as long as they like. And for some people, they can do that. They are the people who, upon breaking up with someone, say “Let’s still be friends,” and really mean it. I am not one of those people.
I can’t ignore someone (or something) that I once enjoyed when it’s just sitting there, staring me in the face. Just like the Triscuit.
The box tried to tell me not to eat the Triscuit, but I just didn’t listen (that’s for my family – they know why). I knew it would end badly, but I remembered all the good times I had with Triscuits before, a little nosh in the middle of the afternoon, a before-bed snack, whatever. And I thought, “Nah, I can handle this. It won’t be the best, but it’ll be better than nothing.”
I was so wrong. Sometimes, nothing IS better, especially when your only other option is waiting to hurt you. And you have to recognize that, as painful for you as it may be.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all eaten that Triscuit, watched the fifth sequel to an action film, gotten back together with that ex, or given that friend just one more chance. We cling to the hope that there’s still something worthwhile in the thing that once brought us such enjoyment. And the whole time, even though the rational part of us was saying: “Stop! Go back! Abandon ship!” we kept at it. We wanted the good parts without the bad, only we didn’t realize that there were no good parts left, only parts that make us want to drink a lot.
The lesson I learned in my parents’ pantry is that you need to pay attention to expiration dates – both obvious and subtle. Don’t keep something on the shelf of your life when you know no good can come of it. It’s too tempting, like putting a giant piece of cake in front of a person who’s trying to fit into a too-small bridesmaid dress. Torture.
Toss the stuff that’s bad for you in the trash ASAP and don’t ever look back.
Then, when you figure out how to do that, come show me how. I’ll give you a Triscuit. Hopefully it’ll be fresh.