Monday, April 09, 2007

Jerky Boy

Several months ago, I made a deal with the devil about my beef jerky habit. Violet was a casual smoker (mostly when she drank) and I was a fairly hard-core consumer of the dried meat.

One night after a stop at the convenience store, I opened a large pouch of "cowboy candy" in the car and Vi nearly vomited. It turned out she couldn't stand the smell of it.

Personally, I've never met anyone who found jerky THAT abhorrent. Never have I seen the smell alone induce gag reflex. (although the smell of Mike's belches have been known to make his brother-in-law puke) Beef jerky is a tame substance. It's earthy. Cowboys eat it. In its other form, Slim Jim, it's one of the major food groups in college.

But for some reason it makes Violet sick... so we made a deal. I would stop eating jerky if she quit smoking.

Most would say that's a lopsided deal - jerky doesn't cause cancer, yellow nails or birth defects. Correct, all of it. But it was worth it because only my separation from jerky would convince her to stop killing herself. So I went on the beef jerky wagon.

Until yesterday.

First I will tell you she WASN'T in the car - I was alone on a long drive between Columbia and St. Louis and felt a little tired so I stopped at the BP.

There they were... between the Hostess rack and the Chester Fried Chicken display. Pouch after pouch of pungent dried flesh. Beckoning.

Let me tell you, at $6.99 per 4-ounce package, that shit is pricey... most addictive substances are. I can just see a jerky tax coming soon. But price was no object, so after a look over my shoulder and a guilty blush, I purchased a pouch of premium cut natural style hickory-flavored beef and a Sprite Zero to wash it down.

When I got back in the car, it was like I hadn't eaten in days. I broke a sweat during the strenuous mastication... I chewed as fast as my jaw would allow. The aroma filled the car. My mind drifted back to a time when I could do this freely... to a time in my distant past when jerky wasn't prohibited. I swooned. For a few brief moments, as waves of saliva began breaking down the hickory meat and sending it on its way through my system, I resented those who made me quit. I found dozens of justifications for what I was doing. Hunger, boredom, sleepiness. Lack of sodium.

Then, quietly at first but slowly more pronounced and invasive, names of heart attack victims started running through my head. Thoughts of hypertension and gout began raining down upon me. Also slowly building, a rancid mixture of salt, bile and beast threatened to burst forth from my esophagus... and I realized I had done it. I had fallen back into the self-abuse that IS jerky consumption.

Afterward when the smell was gone and I was alone with my self-loathing, I regretted my actions. I saw the error of my ways. It's like any other addiction... you simply lose control. One pouch leads to another. Then another and another until your jaw aches with temporomandibular joint disorder and your bank account is empty. Finally, when you can't pay your rent, your friends have left and it's just you... alone with a million little silica gel packs... you realize. Oh yes. You realize.

I believe I've caught it before it got out of hand. I'm going to a JA meeting on Wednesday night. The friends of Jack Link have my back. The battle will be hard, but I will do my best.

I'll keep you updated. Wish me luck.


Blogarita said...

You can take away my cigarettes, but you can never take away my jerky!

Chris Johnson said...

MMmmmmmmmm.......Love beef jerky, they say that the rabbit jerky is good, but I just can't bring myself to try since I have to pet rabbits.

Dave Morris said...

Chris, you have pet chickens too, but that doesn't stop you from eating buffalo wings. Those aren't really buffalo, you know...


Paula said...

I remember a time in your truck, sharing a packet of jerky on the way to Warrenton to visit the Kendalls....I love the stuff too!!

Violet said...

Eeewww.... Jerky is gross.

However, if you recall, the actual deal was that you wouldn't eat it while I was in the car. Or right before I got in the car, when it would still stink. I'm proud of how far you have come... One day at a time!

Nobody™ said...

Mmmmm, jerky... Now I'm hungry

Ari said...

I know a few folks that would be affected by a jerky tax. I guess I'm not going to mention how awesome homemade jerky is... no, that would be cruel.

Diana said...

That's funny. The picture of the stand remninds me of the jerky stand that someone set up (on the nice weekends) on the way up to Chris & Bill's.

Lee Ann said...

Howard likes beef jerky too! I have to say the first wif of it after being freshly opened, is a bit nauseating. After it has been open for a while, it is not so bad. I am not sure if the taste of them would make me feel nauseous or not.
Maybe I will have to try it!

Fantastagirl said...

There used to be an old fashioned meat locker a few hours north of "Gotham City" they made the BEST was due to health regulations they no longer sell it (otherwise I'd ship you some!)

My Grandparents would ship it to my cousin when he was stationed overseas - the guys loved it!

Eve said...

Guys and beef jerky?! I don't get it!

Funny story: We were with a huge group of friends at the Kimmswick Apple Butter Festival. Big Eden Child was 1. Everyone had a small child. The point is, the little ones were barely eating "real food". Still babies.

Anyhoo... the women left the guys and the kiddies to go wander the craft booths. Major problem and unbeknownst to us, within close vicinity of the $1.00 beer draughts and the good ol' boy JERKY stand.

Came back, the guys were all SMASHED and the babies were "TEETHING" on funky, disgusting, petrified, DEER JERKY.


You can imagine that the rest of Adam's weekend, once he sobered up, was not a pleasant one?! ~snicker~