I firmly believe you can judge the quality of someone’s character by whether or not they share their food with others. Friendships that never worked out for me always had one fact in common–the other person wasn’t a food sharer. In grad school, we learned that those who shared their food with others throughout history were the ones to survive, because when they needed food, they had others willing to share with them. Makes sense, right?
This story is from a time before I adopted that belief, and I believe it tells a quite revealing tale about my true character: that I try to be a good person, but sometimes the glutton within takes over.
I was around 9 years old, and got the great idea to have a pinata at my birthday party. What could be better or more fun than a shower of delicious candy for my friends? I remember even then, I put a lot of thought and effort into the planning of the pinata, more than the average 9 year old should.
What should it look it? Donkey? Fish? Cartoon character? What should we fill it with? I chose only the best candy, opting to forgo little toys in favor of more candy, because duh, more candy was better. I even made sure we had a good ratio of chocolate to tart and tangy candy, the two main candy food groups for kids.
The funniest part was the pep talk I gave myself before the party–I still remember it to this day. Leena, I told myself, this is your birthday party. You will be receiving tons of gifts, and get to eat pizza and cake, two of your favorite foods. It would probably look really tacky if you go crazy and hoard all the candy from the pinata, so try not to. Try to be generous and share the candy.
Even way back then, I knew I liked food a bit too much. The fact that I attempted to rein myself in before the party warms my heart, because I know the effort was there.
And because I know what happened at the actual party.
I ate pizza and cake. I had fun with my friends and opened tons of great presents. When it came time for pinata time, I held back. When the first cracks appeared in the side of the pinata, I stepped back. I let my friends wrestle over the few pieces of candy that tumbled out.
But when that pinata finally unearthed the motherload of great candy onto my basement floor, something snapped inside of me. One second, I was standing at the back of the crowd, and the next, I’m elbowing the girl next to me and neck punching the lone boy at the party to get my share—MORE than my share —of Snickers, Reeses and Smarties. The pep talk meant nothing in the face of delicious, sugary candy. I was a mini-gourmand, a little candy beast, and it wasn’t pretty.
It has been many years since that fateful pinata party. I’ve learned now the importance of sharing. The more you share your food, the more others will share theirs, which means more food for you. Win-win in my book. I’ve also learned that pinatas are not a good game for my parties. I shudder to think what my life would be like if I still was that mini-gourmand, that neck-punching little candy beast. Thankfully, I keep a stash of Pixy Sticks on me at all times to prevent this from happening.