Dear H. John Greenaius,

I would like to register a complaint regarding the iconic catalogue of Nabisco snack foods. As Nabisco has monopolized the snack food market, effectively “evicting” the Keebler Elves from their treehouse/cookie factory, so to speak, I have no choice but to partake of Oreos and Chips Ahoy Extra Chunk snack foods when I crave such snack foods - which is never. In fact, I have not tasted an Oreo cookie intentionally for years, but I recall that such snack foods generally spread a strange astringency across the palate that is not unlike kitchen cleaning product; a malignant, carcinogenic tanginess which can only be described as the taste of my unappealing future: obesity, loss of vision to glaucoma, and, ultimately, slow paralysis and death. One might say that Oreos taste of the clumped, saccharine earth of my wet grave, the sedimentary layer beneath a Jello chocolate pudding mud writhing with strewn Gummi Worms – as in those dessert parfaits children are so fond of at birthday parties when colon atrophy and its complications are not mentioned for propriety’s sake.

Ostensibly, the most benign of your sundry items is the new 100 Calorie Pack, marketed towards the health-conscious consumer who fears obesity and therefore welcomes a tea-bag-sized packet of fifteen depressed octagonal cardboard wafers guaranteed to promote profound and almost Kierkegaardian loneliness and dissatisfaction. With consumption, one’s inner walls contract with longing, sucking blindly at the black residue of the fraudulent Oreo substitute forever engrained in the intestinal folds like mold in the tile grouting of the bath. I will state that, were one to construct a pie chart and title it “The Psychological and Physical collapse of Kristin M. Hayter in the Years 2007 and 2008,” approximately one-third would be devoted to 100-Calorie Packs, with the other two thirds equally apportioned, respectively, to My Incapacity to Exist as a Normal Human Creature and The Czech Republic, or Former Czechoslovakia.

I partook of an expensive student trip to the Former Czechoslovakia in January of 2007 - a student trip organized around a busy schedule of heavy drinking, clubbing, and eating. This was unfortunate: I could not partake of heavy drinking due to the vast quantities of benzodiazepenes I consume daily to assuage Panic, I could not partake of clubbing due to my general disdain for most people, particularly dancing people and particularly dancing people conflated with palpitation-inducing eastern european House music, I could not partake of eating due to generally odious nature of Czech cuisine and lack of nutritional information on the packaging of consumables. For two weeks I subsisted on nothing but apples, and I left the former Czechoslovakia weighing XX* pounds, completely and utterly constipated, my third-world belly bloated with ribbons of undigested apple skins.**

The flight back to the United States took nearly twenty-four hours in total, a period during which I consumed approximately seven apples for a total of around four hundred and twenty calories. The eighth apple I had packed was inexplicably seized at customs, which was greatly distressing, as I was painfully aware of my fragility and was entirely convinced that this eighth apple would save me from cardiac arrest or nervous collapse.

But I have failed to mention that there had been hope: my flight on Southwest Airlines included a box of Nabisco snack foods, appropriately labeled with caloric content, and the snack food I chose out of desperation to replace the apple was the 100 Calorie Snack Pack. I consumed the fifteen wafers with an attitude I can only describe as woeful voracity. Alas, due to the nutritionally void content of the 100 Calorie Pack, my condition did not improve, and I stepped off the plane at O’Hare Airport unaware of the year, time, date, or my approximate location pin-pointed on the globe. In my delirium I had the vague impression that I had been jettisoned on board a floating vessel, to play a marginal role on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Clutching my failing chest, heaving for breath, I stumbled along with the masses toward Baggage Claim, searching the faces for a shiny Patrick Stewart in his Enterprise captain’s uniform; he would take my hand gently and smile, disarming me with his sonorous British baritone:

“Welcome to Space, Kristin.”

“Thank you,” I would respond, “Do you guys have apples out here? I really need an apple.”

And he would smile again, gripping the flesh of my inner arm, and lead me to The Place Where They Keep Apples In Space, which I imagined as an enormous, titanium-lined granary of sorts simply brimming with Pink Ladies and Fujis and Macintoshes. And I would think that perhaps I had died and entered the utopia of my afterlife. Amen.

With Gracious Resolution,

Kristin M. Hayter

* omitted for the sake of propriety.

**An unpleasant effect of anorexia nervosa is gastro paresis (ironically common in diabetics), also known as delayed gastric emptying. Foods that are fibrous or fatty in content - or large quantities of food, or foods that the body is unaccustomed to - are subjected to the damaged nerves of the stomach and cannot break down in a timely fashion. Waste accumulates, sometimes forming potentially fatal obstructions called benzoars, of which I am perpetually afraid and for which my laxative abuse can be partially blamed. An excellent method to discern whether you suffer from gastro paresis is to vomit and observe whether the contents of your vomit are recognizable as half-masticated smorgasbord – like a thick, stewy borscht of the week’s leftovers. When the southwest salad you ate on Tuesday still tastes like a southwest salad when purged on Thursday, gastro paresis is a likely culprit.

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