I’m almost positive I’m going to create some sort of horrible abscess in my cheek that will eventually grow into a gaping hole through which I will be able to pop ping pong balls or those giant Gobstoppers. Why can’t I stop eating these damn sunflower seeds?
Aside from the fact that I crave salt like a drooling Mr. Ed, I think I may have figured out why these things are so addictive. For us neurotic, yuppie types, the thought of putting a pinch of dirt between our lip and gums is akin to wearing work boots with shorts and knocking up our sisters. What are we, giant bikers with mom tattoos and our old lady ridin’ on the back of our hogs in leather vests with no shirt? No, we’re white-bred city dwellers with better sense than to stick a chunk of dirt in our mouths. Sticking a bunch of seeds in our cheek and pulling out the giant plastic cup gives us all the thrill without any of the danger. We’re the same people who puffed on candy cigarettes while the real rebels smoked behind the gym and talked about stealing porn magazines from the 7-11. It makes me feel like a tough guy. It gives me that edge–no matter how fake it is.
There’s just something manly about a cup filled with saliva and shells. Boys spit. Women don’t. During college I remember several sunflower tutorials with woman friends. They managed the one-seed-at-a-time technique, but mostly drew the line at the saliva-coated ball of silt and spit cup that eventually became the perfect target for a roommate’s drunken, 3 A.M. sprawl. Again, unlike the real stuff, shells were a whole hell of a lot easier to clean up the morning after (and smelled a heck of a lot better).
The nerdiest issue behind all of this is that I’m almost tempted to switch to real dip in order to save myself from the incredible amount of fat and calories in these seeds. It’s amazing that as I get older I’d trade throat and lip cancer for a trimmer waistline. Metabolism aside, I can’t help but think that one of these days I’m going to break down and actually try one or all of the new varieties of David Sunflower Seeds, which include such tempting (and not artificial at all) salsa, bbq, ranch and nacho flavoring.
The funniest thing is that the seed company has seen fit to include instructions on how to eat their seeds like a pro. Talk about feeding an addiction. I could just see a pack of Kools with 10-step instructions on the side:
1. open pack
2. remove cigarette
3. put it in your mouth
4. create flame from lighter or match
5. hold flame to tip of cigarette
6. suck reeeal hard
7. force smoke down into your lungs
8. hold it there (trying not to cough or choke)
9. exhale (creating rings or exhaling through your nose earns bonus points)
Meanwhile, I keep promising myself that I will quit this dirty habit before they (whoever they may be) discover that these things cause oral sprouting or bizarre spore attacks. I have changed to those little paper Dixie cups with the choo-choo jokes on the side in order to limit my intake and remind me that I’m not really as tough as I think I am.