Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ding Dong Deconstruction circa 1969--Marcia

My mother hides the Ding Dongs at the back of the fridge so my brothers can have one when they get home from basketball practice or smoking doobies on their surfboards. Only she doesn't know about the doobies part. All I can think about are those Ding Dongs. If I try to sneak a Pecan Sandie my mother can hear the wrapping, If I try to sneak one of my dad's weird Tiger's Milk bars she can heart hat too. Ding Dongs are the perfect food. Packed so tight they are soundless tinfoil hockey pucks. If I can get my hand inside the white cardboard box and back out again without making a whumping noise my mom won't know. She's very busy. There is a lot to vacuum here.

I usually wear a polyester skirt with an elastic waist band and polyester shorts underneath. Girls are not allowed to wear pants to school, but we can't swing on the monkey bars unless we have petit pants or shorts on. Petit pants are really pretty underwear that look like shorts. Caroline Krupp has a pair that are swirly like a melted creamsicle . . . pink, purple, and yellow with a lace edge. My mother will not let me have any of those. This might be a good idea since the monkey bars are close to the boardwalk and any old person walking along the beach can see your petit pants, so I don't beg too much.

I also am not allowed to have a tutu, plastic high heels from Market Basket that have yellow fluffy feathers on them, or Ken dolls. My father did let my mother get my sister and I Barbies.

If it's a day when Jim Grey spits at me at the bus stop, or Chrissy Mac Niece throws dried dog poo on my new turtleneck, or no matter what Miss Hilton in her GoGo boots tells me I can't come up with the right numbers for 24 plus 36, I can't wait to get off the bus and stuff a Ding Dong in my favorite pair of stretchy shorts (red with polka dots--Sears Chubbies) and head to the guest bathroom at the back of the house by the garage.

Cold Ding Dongs are no good. If you can hear your mother calling you, or know your big brothers are about to come storming down the hall banging on the door and rattling the knob then eat it fast. There is no place to really hide a Ding Dong. They'll find it. But the best way to have a Ding Dong is to warm it up a little.

This requires a little extra time. If you don't want to eat cold hard chocolate and dry cake that doesn't taste cakey you have to pretend you're going Number 2. Hold the Ding Dong like a little bird up close to you, but not for too long or it gets ruined and all the coating melts on to the inside of the foil. Maybe count to whatever 24 plus 36 is.

Hold your breath and sit very still. The foil is very smooth on top, but folded like tiny sails all around and whirling like going down a drain at the bottom so it can close together and not show any Ding Dong. Listen make sure no one's coming. It makes a little noise if you don't pick it apart very carefully with thumb and pointer. Open it really slow so there's not even a little bit of crinkling noise. The chocolate coating will be just right, not too soft, and not too cold where it breaks off in chunks and tastes like candle wax after Sunday dinner.

You want to peel all the just-right chocolate off with your teeth, and then eat the cakey cake, sponge-y and hole-y, but not as good as birthday cake. Birthday cake is my favorite. I eat the cake first and the frosting last.

It always seems like there will be a whole bunch of white, pure-white, whiter-than Crest-white blop of cream in the middle. Then you get to the middle and it's only the size of a gumball-machine gumball. It's kind of a gyp. Still, if you can tell your Mom is upstairs sorting laundry or changing all the sheets you have time to eat around the Ding Dong until all that's left is just a fat-pea blop of cream covered in brown cake crumbs. Then you pop it in your mouth. It is quiet and the best part of coming home after school.

Did the front door just open? Can you hear your giant brothers throwing back packs and shouting? Can you hear Mom headed to the kitchen to start peeling carrots and turn on the stove? Sometimes this makes my heart go fast and my face get prickly.

Ding Dong tinfoil is so thin, wipe out all the wrinkles and press it flat against your leg and it's like a Barbie space blanket. Stephanie Brown had a space blanket for Silly Skilly Days, our sleepover Girl Scout camp at Rancho Santiago. It sounded like someone was digging in garbage at a fourth of July picnic every time she rolled over. Sometime I'll tell you about Space Sticks and Tang.

It's nice to try to rub the wrinkles our of the wrapper for awhile. Pick off any crumbs with a wet fingertip, and make up things you could do with that perfect square if you could leave the bathroom with it.. But you have to get rid of it.

It's the only bad thing about stealing Ding Dongs.

If you put it in your pants you could forget and it could fall out, or your brother or Chrissy Mac Niece could chase you and it could fall out. And then they'd make fun of you until you were grown up. Or even after.

You could eat it, it's really thin. But that would ruin everything. I roll it up as tight as it can get. Squinch it down to the same size as the blop of cream in the middle of the Ding Dong and then bury it in the pale plastic garbage can under the bathroom sink. Don't let any of the foil press against the edge of the can or it will show. Careful of gooey tissues, they're gross.

Then you should probably go to the bathroom, or at least rattle the toilet paper roll and flush to make it sound real. Then straighten out your stretchy skirt and shorts, open the door, and pretend like nothing happened.

And that's how you steal a Ding Dong.


Jennie Englund said...

Absolutely delicious, Marcia!

A second helping. Please?

Anonymous said...

I second the delicious!

Christy Raedeke said...

You kill me, Marcia. LOVE this story.

"It sounded like someone was digging in garbage at a fourth of July picnic every time she rolled over."


mom said...

My darling daughter, maybe I just figured out why my previous reviews havn't gotten to you. My cheeks and eyes are still scrunched up from hidden laughing. This is your best and once again you have out performed David Sedaris. You need to record this one and send it to him. I heard his flat sort of Brookliny voice with every word. Why didn't I see that balled up piece of tinfoil when I dumped the garbage. You have a wonderful gift. Mom

Anonymous said...

Mumsy, thanks for being a fan and for the huge accolades. Ding Dongs did not make regular appearances at our house, so you know the occaisional ball of foil could have been misconstrued as several Dentyne wrappers or something. Plus, four kids, absent husband, boomer neighbor-kids racing through the house . . . How much attention are you going to give the trash?---Thanks for the memories.--M