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By Akshay Patil

By Akshay Patil
COLUMNIST

Happiness in a jar -- that’s what it is.

My diet and health have been on a steady decline since I bought the stuff. It sits on my dresser and mocks me. It knows I can’t resist. It knows it owns me. It told me “Do not refrigerate” -- so I don’t refrigerate it. I am a slave to its powers.

Buying a jar of Nutella can really wreak havoc on your life. Suddenly toast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner doesn’t sound so bad. You find that a whole lot of things in life go with Nutella: bread, fruit, ice cream, pancakes, eggs, tuna fish... the list is endless.

I still remember the first time I had Nutella many years ago. It was the summer of 1990 and I was in Germany visiting family.

One day, for breakfast, I found myself offered toast and a small jar filled with this brown stuff. Certainly not butter, not jam; one’s options in brown aren’t terribly tantalizing. That’s when it was revealed to me that this was chocolate. Chocolate I could put on my bread and have for breakfast. And this was acceptable! I knew I had found my life’s calling: eating Nutella on anything and everything imaginable.

Sadly enough, Nutella in the United States wasn’t as hot a commodity as it was in Germany. (Nooo, Americans don’t like Nutella, they “can’t believe it’s not butter” instead. Pansies.) So I was Nutella-less for many years. It was an exotic substance. The Indian spices of Europe.

Then came the American invasion. Well, it wasn’t really an invasion... more like an infestation. But not a bad infestation--a good infestation. Kinda like those useful bacteria things that live inside of you? You know... the ones that break down those chemicals that your digestive system can’t? Now that’s good stuff. Anyways, getting back on track.

Even when Nutella started finding its way into common grocery stores, I resisted the urge. Oh, it swelled deep within me.

How tempting it was to shell out a few dollars to have some Midas magic -- and all that I touched became covered in chocolate. I would spend hours in the “condiments” aisle... looking but not touching. Me and the mop guy got to be good friends.

It was torture; but it was for my own good. I knew that once I gave in to the cravings within me there would be no end to my waistline. I was good for so long until one day, thinking “oh, it’ll be harmless,” I bought myself a jar.

That’s when my food pyramid broke down. I’m a chocoholic, what can I say? My four basic food groups are brownie, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate cake, and Nutella. I have nightmares where the last thing I see before I wake up is darkness with blazing letters spelling out “got milk?” Oh yeah, and I got the whole chocolate milk thing covered, don’t worry.

Don’t fool yourself. It really is an addiction. I never realized it until my roommate walked in on me snorting powdered chocolate. I tried to go clean; I still don’t touch the hard stuff, (dark chocolate is a bit strong for me,) but my resistance to milk chocolate is non-existent.

The withdrawal symptoms aren’t pretty either -- a bag of M&Ms can be the difference between life and death. When I start to get the shivers, I’ve learned that popping a few can save me a lot of grief and bodily damage. And no, Skittles do NOT work; come on, get with the program here.

It’s dangerous stuff, this orgasmic chocolate-and-hazelnut spread. You laugh as you recklessly slap it on your breakfast rolls and fish, but be wary. Heed my warning and don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of chocolate, milk, and chocolate. By the time you awake from your sugar-induced coma, your life will be in ruins and your furry fish covered in Nutella. It’s not pretty and let me tell ya, the stuff will just not wash off.