Monday, September 30, 2013
Life is like a bag of Bridge Mix:
The other day I ate a bag of Bridge Mix. Now I’m not much of a candy consumer, and I’ve never walked into a store mumbling to myself, “Man, I’ve got to get me some Bridge Mix!” In fact Bridge Mix has never been on my shopping list (not even once) and until recently I’d have been hard pressed to tell you what the stuff was. But the other day I found a bag of it lurking in a coffee themed gift basket that I bought at a charity auction. It was a small bag among a variety of other small bags of snacks and coffee blends stuffed into a wicker basket along with a pair of Starbucks mugs arranged in a nest of mocha colored shredded paper, and shrouded in light blue cellophane.
I read the label, “Bridge Mix, hmmm.” I opened it up thinking of old people playing an old card game at an old wood table in a black and white movie. Hoping that the candy was fresher than the image it inspired, I popped a piece of the mix into my mouth. Mmmm, a malt ball. I liked Bridge Mix already. Malt balls were always one of my favorites as a kid. I grabbed a few more pieces off the top. Another malt ball, and maybe a macadamia nut or something like that all covered in chocolate. Everything was covered in chocolate. “If this is what they serve at Bridge tournaments,” I said to myself, “I might just take up the game.”
Then I gulped up another little scoop, peanuts mostly. Well, a peanut can’t hold a candle to a malt ball, but there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ peanut now and then. Besides, peanuts make good filler. Plus, they serve to cleanse the palate in between bites of more tasty tidbits.
Undeterred, and with my palate duly cleansed, I grabbed a few more pieces of the Bridge Mix and tossed them to my eager taste buds. “Peanut, peanut, peanut,” my taste buds reported back to me. I peered into the bag searching for another malt ball. I shook the bag looking for a possible macadamia nut, or a hazelnut or anything more exotic than the common Arachis hypogaea. But the variety of sizes was gone. The chocolate lumps were all small and nearly uniform in shape. There would be no more malt balls, or macadamia nuts. My chances of encountering a cashew just plummeted to zero. The Bridge Mix had given me false hope, and the Bridge Mix had let me down. It appeared now, that I was stuck with a bag of chocolate covered peanuts.
Now I wish I could report that that was the end of the story, but as they say, “Just when you think things can’t get worse, they do.” I dumped some more Bridge Mix into my mouth: peanut, peanut, peanut, raisin. What the… raisin?! I could have gotten: peanut, peanut, peanut, grasshopper, and I don’t think I would have been more upset. From that first raisin to the bottom of the bag, raisins ruled. Like tangerines in the toe of my childhood Christmas stocking, they were 50% of the weight, and 0% of the enjoyment. Worst of all, they were the final impression of an experience that began with so much promise.
Now this leads me to my point: You may have heard that, “life is like a box of chocolates,” and I hate to ruin that Gumpish imagery as you await some nougat filled dreamy confection that we all hope tomorrow will bring you, but realistically life is more like a bag of Bridge Mix. Yes, Bridge Mix. So live for today. Don’t lament that yesterday’s choices may no longer be an option, and don’t grab too quickly at tomorrow. Instead, join the tournament, pick up your cards, and enjoy the game…and if at all possible, learn to like raisins.