| Fiction |

Teen Fiction: Dumpin’ Doughnuts

Dassy + doughnuts = no moderation. Once I started, there’d be no stopping

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i! My name is Dassy and I love doughnuts. In fact, that’s the understatement of the century. I love doughnuts. I look forward to Chanukah all year round. Then I’m in a doughnut lovers’ paradise: cream, jam, chocolate, caramel, pineapple, licorice… you name it. There’s no flavor I haven’t tried and loved. Every year, (well except that year my mother tried, unsuccessfully, to make doughnuts herself but that’s a story for a different time) the bakeries make a mint off me. Come Chanukah, I splurge on doughnuts by the dozen. But this year was going to be different.

A bit of history about myself. I’ve always been slightly on the pudgy side (and that’s putting it quite nicely). Though it never really bothered me, for the past few years my parents have been gently cajoling me to slim down a bit, but I never had the will or stamina to see any diet plan through properly for more than a week or two, max. Then my oldest sister got engaged. It was finally time to make that decision. I was going to shed a few of those extra pounds. This time it was for real. I went to see a dietician and we designed a plan, custom-tailored for me. And can you guess? It took a lot of hard work and self-control, but it actually started working. Those familiar with the world of dieting are probably sympathizing with me, but it was definitely a fair price to pay for the new me.

Three months down the line and I had just a few more pounds to lose so that the gown of my dreams would fit (it was just a tad too snug) and I was determined to reach my goal. Except that Chanukah came before the wedding and I was up against my biggest challenge.

One of the key words to healthy eating is “moderation,” but I knew myself too well. Dassy + doughnuts = no moderation. Once I started, there’d be no stopping. So, there was only one way to go about it — not to start at all. And it would have to be an ironclad resolution. No U-turns. With a firm hand and an even firmer heart I wrote out that painfully hard decision on a crisp new sheet of paper:

This Chanukah — Year 2016 (I put the date on to avoid all legal loopholes later enabling me to cheat) starting from tonight, the first night of Chanukah, no part of any doughnut — irrelevant of its shape, size, or flavor — will pass thru my lips.

Signed, Dassy

There — my fate was sealed! This year I was officially dumpin’ the doughnuts.

The “declaration” was posted prominently on my closet reminding me of the decision 24/7. My siblings laughed when they saw it. How on earth would a doughnut addict like me manage such an impossible mission, and on Chanukah nonetheless?

“You just wait,” I told them, but in my heart, I knew that in eight days I would be having the last laugh. I was determined to prove all the skeptics wrong. And so, Chanukah rolled in.

The first three days were pretty tough, but I managed. At home and in school while everyone was partying on doughnuts, I munched on snacks of carrot sticks and cut up zucchini (it actually tastes pretty good raw), and pretended not to care. Though my mouth was drooling at the sight of all those yummy doughnuts. I did think of going into hibernation until Chanukah was over but even I knew there was more to Chanukah than just doughnuts. Still the thought was tempting; after all, there’s a limit to how much self-control one person can have. And my supply was starting to run low….

Then came to the fourth night of Chanukah. Our class Chanukah party. You know, the yearly event that nobody wants to miss. Lots of good food, singing, and fun. The party was a real blast (no, I didn’t indulge in any of the many confectionary delights, I contented myself with the lower-calorie alternatives). About two hours in, Zahava and Debby, who had organized the party, explained the rules of the game. They would read out a statement about a girl and once everyone guessed the girl, she would pick a challenge from the envelope. It was all loads of fun until it came to my turn. I was actually the last. I pulled out the final slip of paper and opened it — and my excitement turned into dismay. There was no way I would be able to carry it out without sabotaging all my efforts of the last few days. I’m not going to leave you in suspense although you’ve probably already guessed it: my challenge involved doughnuts. I had to compete with a friend of my choice over the speed of eating a doughnut in its entirety, without any licking of the lips. Taking some calming breaths, I stammered an apology for being a spoilsport, explaining that I was in the middle of a diet and couldn’t eat any doughnuts. The embarrassment of revealing my plight in public was worth the outpouring of sympathy I got. Zahava and Debby (who had slipped out in the midst of all the commotion) quickly came back in with two cucumbers. The new challenge was a race to finish a cucumber first. Phew! The disaster was averted. You know, sometimes friends are so sweet, you don’t even need doughnuts.

The Chanukah chagigah came and went and still I managed to stick strong to my resolution. On the sixth night of Chanukah we had our traditional family party at Bubby’s house. As usual, she brought out tray upon tray of mouthwatering doughnuts for dessert. Those were easy enough to resist because they were officially off limits. But then came the real test. A huge doughnut-shaped ice cream cake. Oh, no! That was far too much already. I mean it wasn’t exactly a doughnut, it was ice cream. On the other hand, it had a strong resemblance to a doughnut. I had to think this through properly before I was put on the spot, so I made a quick exit. Not that anyone noticed. They were too busy ogling over the dessert. For 15 minutes I stayed outside, fighting an internal battle. It was a doughnut. It wasn’t a doughnut. Yes. No. Until, I finally decided that it didn’t come under the ban of doughnuts. I could eat it. But there was no more left when I came back inside. Okay. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

On the last night of Chanukah, I had a dream about doughnuts. Must have been the doughnut deprivation finally catching up with me. There were five of them chasing me. I was running and running, determined not to let them catch me, but eventually, exhausted, I fell down in a slump as a huge jelly doughnut came barreling into my mouth. I woke up in a cold pool of jam (sweat). I had lost. The doughnuts had won. You can’t imagine how relieved I felt when I realized it was just a bad dream. Only one more day left, I told myself. I could do this. I really could.

The next morning, as I was eating my breakfast (oatmeal with a glass of skim milk, if you must know), my father walked in from Shacharis with a package in his hand. He pulled out a white bakery box and handed it to me with a flourish. My siblings looked on enviously as I excitedly opened the box. No way. There staring back at me mockingly, topped with pink icing and covered with colored sprinkles, was the most delicious looking doughnut. What in the world were my parents thinking? They knew how hard I had been trying this Chanukah. Now, when I was so close to the finish line, they had to come and give me this? I couldn’t understand why they were doing this to me.

Betrayed is how I felt at that moment. I fled the kitchen — no need to make a public spectacle of myself — and escaped straight to my bedroom. Two minutes later the whole laughing contingent barged into the bedroom, doughnut in hand. Was there no end to the torture I had to endure? I couldn’t anymore. My defenses were down. Then I saw the doughnut was open. Hey! It wasn’t even a real doughnut. It was a doughnut-shaped jewelry box. My parents had covered it in icing and sprinkles to make it look real but inside was the most exquisite looking bracelet that matched my wedding dress — a reward from my parents for working so hard to lose weight. The doughnut they gave me was supposed to make up for all the doughnuts I had deprived myself of. You bet it did. Once I got over the shock, I had a good laugh. I had to admit it was a good shtick. Did I ever tell you I have the best parents in the world?

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr. Issue 688)

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