Back in the day, the Mars Bar was the true king of chocolate bars. It took a long time to eat and satisfied every umami receptor that one had. The original Mars was a substantial eat: a thick wall of chocolate that took some biting through encased a vault of the thickest caramel that coated one’s teeth and gums. It was a real treat and the greediest kid couldn’t eat more than one at a sitting.
The other morning I was feeling a low blood sugar moment coming on and I bought a Mars bar to get me through it. First up, the size wasn’t what it should have been. The original Mars bar was a hefty piece of work that filled one’s hand. What I got yesterday was a disappointingly short stick that weighed hardly anything. There was no resistance at all as my teeth bit through the chocolate skin, and the bitten piece just seemed to melt in my mouth. It wasn’t what I expected or wanted.
Looking at the thing in section it was easy to see how thin the chocolate coating was, and how the caramel had been reduced to a slight sliver squeezed into place on a soft whipped mass that filled the bar. It was just terrible!
Kids today, of course, know no better because the old bars just aren’t available for them to compare. They should sue the bar makers, I say. Sue them for taking away one of the great joys of childhood.
I remember with the clarity of the senile the day in 1960 I first discovered Roget’s Thesaurus. It was a moment of sheer ecstasy for a 10-year old boy with undiagnosed OCD and an over-developed love for words. Pages of words. Lists of words. Lists of words in clever categories. Words referring back to other words. I spent several months reading it from front to back. To hell with God, this was heaven.
This nostalgic torrent was unleashed through the agency of Jonathan Yardley’s review of Joshua Kendall’s biography of Peter Mark Roget. From the review I was fascinated to learn that the Thesaurus for Roget was a form of therapy for depression.
“As a boy, he stumbled upon a remarkable discovery — that compiling lists of words could provide solace, no matter what misfortunes might befall him. He was particularly fond of cataloguing the objects, both animate and inanimate, in his environment. As an adult, he kept returning to the classification of words and concepts. Immersion in the nuances of language could invariably both energize him and keep his persistent anxiety at bay.”
I’m sure I know exactly how he felt.