Chocolate Gelt, Bobbleheads, and Hormonal Women: A Recipe for Disaster

Men, stick around. This is a public service announcement for you…and sports are mentioned.

If you are even slightly hormonal, I warn you: Stay away from the chocolate gelt. This holiday tradition is capable of turning women of a certain age…well, that’s just say peri-homicidal.

I know there are some countries that have the tradition of chocolate coins for Christmas, but living in New York, I know it as a Hanukkah tradition. I’m not Jewish, but chocolate eating is a nondenominational kind of thing for me. So I welcomed that cute mesh bag filled with shiny, foil-covered chocolate coins from Trader Joe’s.

With the craziness of the holidays, I never got to eat them. But there came a day in January when I eyed them on the kitchen counter and thought, tonight’s the night. The moon was rising, the hormones were surging. Chocolate for medicinal purposes it would be.

I settle on the couch with a New York Islanders throw. (This and things like bobbleheads I permit in my home provided they stay in the basement or family room. I can think of nothing more disturbing than sitting on my living room sofa, sipping tea from an antique, bone china cup while staring at a miniature Mike Bossy with a neck tic. But I digress.) The channel is set to Criminal Minds, because when you’re hormonal, watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one.


I pick up the mesh bag and begin to salivate just a bit from the anticipation of a chocolate coin melting in my mouth. I try to open it from the top, but the seal is impenetrable. No problem, I’ll just rip through the mesh bag, right?


You’re thinking, go get a pair of scissors. And normally, I would, but Hotch has just been served divorce papers. Apparently, the serial killers see him more than his wife does. Now he’s really never going to smile again. Bossy shakes his bobblehead slowly, knowing all that traveling he did with the team could have led to the same end for him.

I can almost taste that freaking chocolate and the bag still isn’t open, but I have wounds resembling paper cuts all over my fingers. My mind flashes an image of dolphins caught in mesh fishing nets. Whew! Where did that come from? Down estrogen, down girl.

I feel a mini-rage building, kind of like Dom Deluise in Fatso when he tries to rip the cabinets off the wall to get to the food. Finally, the bag tears. I’m so happy I could cry. My shaky fingers reach in and pull out the largest of the coins. But now I have to peel the foil off, and the nails on my nifty opposable thumbs aren’t up to the job. Have you ever tried to do things without the help of your thumbs? Every once in a while I tuck my thumbs into my palms and go about my regular chores. Hmmm, maybe that’s why my novel isn’t getting written.


I dig into that first coin using the nails on my other fingers like a handicapped raccoon trying to lift the cover off a garbage pail. I place the chocolate disk on my tongue. Mmmm. I want to let it melt slowly, but I end up chewing it like some big cat eating a baby zebra on the National Geographic Channel. It’s gone and now I have to open another.

Just then, a childhood memory surfaces—my Uncle Sal at Beefsteak Charlie’s. Remember that restaurant from the 1970’s with the unlimited salad bar and peel-and-eat shrimp? Uncle Sal would take a plate full of shrimp and sit and peel it all. Then, he’d transfer it to a clean plate, add some cocktail sauce and sit and enjoy them all at once. Really civilized. I envied him his patience. I just don’t have it when it comes to food. Still, I’m willing to try the peel-and-eat method with the chocolate gelt.

I sit and peel one after the other as my body trembles, a cacao addict in need. I make it to the end, but it’s no use. With all those naked coins sitting there in front of me, they’ll be no savoring the melting of each on my tongue. No way. I chow down, eating every last coin in 3.5 seconds. Hotch and his team have solved the mystery. They’re on the plane returning to Quantico. And Mike Bossy is sneering at me and nodding his head in a contemptuous way. That little bobblebastard.

Suddenly, furry ears pop up behind the TV. It’s Sweety and she’s eyeing Mike Bossy. Get him, Sweety! Get him! And she does. No, the National Geographic Channel’s got nothing on us.

41 comments on “Chocolate Gelt, Bobbleheads, and Hormonal Women: A Recipe for Disaster

  1. Carl D'Agostino on

    I am coming out the closet. Chocolate is more important to existence than breathing. If the choice is between saving a chocolate bar or saving 10,000 people, well those sorry souls have lived long enough. To reduce the inconvenience of having to get up in the middle of the night for chocolate, I keep the chocolate syrup bottle at my nightstand next to the bed. Wake up, squirt mouthful under tongue=instant delivery=instant rush.

  2. Lisa Creech Bledsoe on

    OMG I do the shrimp thing. But I never unwrap more than one Hershey kiss at a time. Unless I need to do that in advance because my husband is already asleep and the crinkly sounds will make him wake up and take some of my chocolate. In that case I can unwrap a maximum of three and line them up on the side of the platform bed. I’ve tried to get more than three naked at once, but like Mr. Owl discovered about the Tootsie Pop, it can’t actually be done. So, if my husband is asleep, and I’ve hoovered through the first three, I just unwrap the next three under the covers.

    I love your artwork the best. The magpie, and now this. I’m convinced you will become greater even than xkcd.

    One question, from a woman who had never had a television. On those shows where the guy hunts down the serial killers, does he get to *kill* the serial killers? Just wondering. Incidentally, that picture with the gun and the blue tie was my favorite, even though it didn’t have chocolate in it.

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      Thanks, Lisa. I had to look up the reference to xkcd. I found the one called “My Hobby: Insisting that Real-Life Objects are Photoshopped.” That got a chuckle out of me. I have a few people I need to send that one to.

      I don’t understand the discipline you have with Hershey Kisses. I just can’t do it.

      Regarding the show Criminal Minds, Hotch is a by-the-books kind of guy, but sometimes things go wrong. He does kind of look like that stick figure drawing, especially the mouth. LOL.

  3. huffygirl on

    Oh, I see I’m not the only chocolate addict around. Sometimes you just have to dig in and go with it.

    I have trouble opening all sorts of thins because of arthritis, so I have lots of contingency tools in my kitchen – scissors, pliers, screwdriver, knives. I haven’t found a chocolate yet that I couldn’t open with one of them.

  4. rebecca @ altared spaces on

    I’ll take you as a human post-it note and stick you on my cabinet. Then will you bobble your head at me? I’m very good a bobbling. I don’t just nod. I wiggle also, creating a whole jiggling circus atop my neck. We might not even need any chocolate at that point.

    OK. Who’m I kidding? We’ll need the chocolate. But we’ll enjoy it more.

    I’m going to try and blow dry my hair thumbless today just for the extra laughter juice.

    Bobble. Had to say it once more. great word. Did you ever have that toy clown you could punch and he’d boing back up? Or weebles that wobble but they don’t fall down?

  5. Zahara on

    My father’s friend George could sit and remove all the meat from a Maine lobstah, setting it in a bowl of clarified butter, before eating it all at once. Who are these people?
    Re: “because when you’re hormonal, watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one.” I can relate.
    The drawing are a riot, thanks for the morning funnies!

  6. fordeville on

    For the love of all that is holy, stop mucking about with the coins and get yourself an unwrapped, unadulterated block of addict-grade dark chocolate. Stat.
    (And I *love* the visuals. Hysterical, and more than a little familiar from a fellow chocolate junkie).

  7. Val Erde on

    Unfortunately, I misread one of your sentences as “maybe that’s why my navel isn’t getting written,” and thought, “omygod, she’s not having a period, she’s in midmenopausal dinomode!” (Though if you were having a hot flush while trying to unwrap choccy money, I think you’d melt it and be in worse trouble).

    You made me laugh all the way through this, Margaret, and what was as funny was my husband was standing here also laughing and he doesn’t always ‘get’ funny writing!

    By the by, Jewish Americans must be stingy at Chanucah if they only give chocolate money, here in the Uk, kids get the real stuff (if their parents can’t fob them off with a matzo instead).

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      I’m glad I made you and your husband laugh.

      My sister sent an email today to my family indicating her daughter’s art work had been selected for exhibition. My son recently had a similar honor. Sis said, “Apparently some of our brother’s art talent has rubbed off on the kids because I know I cannot draw and after seeing Margaret’s latest blog, I’m thinking [her son] didn’t get it from her either! …LOL” This cracked me up.

      Regarding Hanukkah in the States, there are lots of prezzies here, too.

  8. bronxboy55 on

    That chocolate gelt is wrapped with amazing precision. Sometimes the two ends of the foil seem to melt together. But then, I find that I can’t open anything anymore. Cookies, potato chips, microwave popcorn, the sealed bag inside the cereal box. I think the worst are any packages that come with their own resealable strip; I need scissors for those.

    I love the drawings, and the fact that the “Criminal Minds” team solves a major crime in the same amount of time it takes you to open a mesh bag of chocolate. I also liked Lisa’s comment that she tries to avoid making noise while unwrapping Hershey’s Kisses — not out of consideration for her sleeping husband, but because she’s worried he’ll take some of her candy! (I just hope he has his own stash someplace.)

  9. Allan Douglas on

    I just discovered you via Jess’s post about your book (which just downloaded to my Kindle and I hope to enjoy later this evening).

    I love the comment: “because when you’re hormonal, watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one.” I can’t personally relate to that, but I’ve been forced to share living space with a few family members who gave me an inkling of what you were going through. At least what I could see through the crack in the closet door because I would be forced to go hide there while the tribe was on the rampage.

    Put my name on the list of chocoholics. I’m a dark chocolate fan myself, and I have a fancy wooden box on my bedside table – I made it out of Cocobolo wood – that is my Chocolate Chest. Not quite a serious as Carl and his midnight syrup fixes, but close enough.

    I’m off to poke around some more. Thanks for sharing this entertaining bobble-head choco-murder tale, it was quite entertaining.

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      Thank you for popping in, Allan. And thank you very much for purchasing my book. I hope you enjoy it.

      Though I feel pity for the suffering you undoubtedly endured during the tribe’s rampage, the thought of you cowering in the closet with your eye to the crack made me cackle in a witchy kind of way. 😉

      I love the idea of a chocolate chest. That’s inspired. I had to look up cocobolo wood. It’s gorgeous. I love reddish-brown woods.

  10. Jessica S on

    Hahahaha! Your illustrations were REALLY funny. Enjoy your treasure chest of chocolate coins. You should bring them to an investor, keep a straight face, and tell him or her that you inherited them and now would like investment advise.

  11. Melinda on

    Your drawings are great! You are way more advanced in stick-figure-ology than me. Those mesh bags are just evil. I never understood what you are suppose to do with the bag once it is open. You can’t close it, so you are forced to eat all the chocolate as there is no where to put it. Or maybe that is just my rationale. I’m with you on the chocolate obsession. I keep a stash hidden in a drawer for chocolate emergencies. Shhh…it is a secret.

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      Thanks, Melinda. I’m thinking maybe after eating the gelt, the mesh bags can be used to wash socks. 😉

      Your Sockology post made me laugh, especially the last photo. And I loved Marianne’s comment about the sock monkey.

  12. Jessica Sieghart on

    Every post of yours makes me love you more. Watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one! Thankfully, there’s chocolate and Criminal Minds. Having to clean up after yourself at a crime scene is just too much work…so are those chocolate coins and Hershey Kisses. Forget them! Just get that big old one pound bar and be done with it! You probably could get the wrapper off without thumbs, too 😉 I’m thinking there’s some positives to my surgical menopause and hormone replacement therapy. 😉

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      😀 Thanks, Jessica.

      You’re right, of course. The one pound bar is the way to go. Hershey isn’t my favorite chocolate, though I’ll eat it if that’s all there is. I have noticed that their huge bar tastes different than their regular candy bar. They’ve made the regular bar so thin and curved. Like, who the heck needs an aerodynamic chocolate bar? A chocoholic in a convertible, maybe? Hershey is supposed to be little chocolate bricks attached with chocolate mortar. Everybody knows that.

  13. Linda Lewis on

    I’m so glad you paid a visit otherwise I might not have found you, and glad I am that isn’t the case because your post definitely brightened my day. In fact, I laughed out loud and as I move over to the pantry to sneak one of the brownies I have hidden there, I’m still giggling. The illustrations are priceless!

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and that Zahara mentioned you in hers today or I would have missed out on your creative luncheon idea. I just adore those boxes.

      Mmmm, the hidden brownies sound yummy. I’ve moved on from chocolate to linzer tarts. This snowy winter is doing me in. The majority of my exercise comes from lifting dessert items to my mouth. If I at least did a few reps before I took a bite… 😉

  14. afrankangle on

    Thanks for stopping by, so I return the visit.

    Great post, even though the first sentence caused an eyebrow frown. Gotta love those adult-proof packaging! I admit, that bag wouldn’t last 48 hours – maybe not even 24.

    BTW, I see that we have the same philosophy – respond to those commenting. What a wonderful trait. Have a good weekend.

    • Margaret Reyes Dempsey on

      My very first blogging experience came at a social network for writers, artists, and photographers called Inked-In. People not only commented on blogs but engaged in witty, extended conversations. Being creative types, they often went off on tangents and made leaps to other topics. These blog hijackings were always the most fun.

      When I first started on Blogger and then here on WordPress, I noticed that some people never responded to their comments. Frankly, I find that a bit dull and prefer to hang with people who are more interactive. After all, how long would you stay interested if you kept trying to talk to someone in real life who never replied.

      I’m glad you share the “respond to comments” philosophy. We’ll be great blogging buddies. Thanks for the visit. 🙂

  15. Damyanti on

    “when you’re hormonal, watching serial killers is the next best thing to being one.”

    Love that line, and totally agree 😀

    And I can’t understand why they can’t make the next 15 seasons of Criminal Minds and pop them into a disc for me to buy already. I watched all of season 1 at a go, on my first encounter, and the rest, of course, is history.

  16. deborahatherton on

    Margaret, as I slowly pick my way through my untouched email, I found this, a month late – it’s hilarious, and I LOVE the drawings. I think you have a possible third career as a standup comic. Or a sitdown comic!


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