Burt Prelutsky

I used to be addicted to cigarettes. Back when I was smoking, I didn’t consider myself hooked. It was simply something I enjoyed. Or so I told myself until that fateful day when I tried to go cold turkey -- so as not to be a poor role model for my little son -- and discovered five minutes later, as I was lighting up, that I couldn’t.

The only reason I was able to kick the nicotine habit, I’m convinced, was because I signed up for a program of aversion therapy. As a result, it’s now been 33 years since I was last a Marlboro man.

I have heard from alcoholics that it’s far harder to give up cigarettes than booze. Which only makes sense. After all, how much can you drink before you fall on your rump? But I could, and did, smoke from the time I woke up in the morning until I went to sleep at night.

Fortunately, I never got involved with illegal drugs. Of course the downside to that is if I had, it would be a lot easier for me to get on “Oprah” to plug my book. It’s hard to believe, I know, but Ms. Winfrey simply won’t have me on to describe one man’s dramatic, awe-inspiring, battle to face life without coffin nails.

But, of all the addictions one could have, I would think the one with the strongest stranglehold would be chocolate.

The thing is, unlike booze, it actually tastes good. Unlike tobacco, it smells good, and it doesn’t make your breath smell like an open sewer. Unlike cocaine, you don’t wind up turning your nose into a toxic waste dump. And, unlike heroin, you don’t have to turn yourself into a human pin cushion.

The only bad thing is that it can make you fat. But lots of things can make you fat, and none of them tastes as good as chocolate. I have even heard a rumor, possibly started by the candy industry, that suggests chocolate is a surefire aphrodisiac.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised that I and several million other Americans don’t each weigh 700 pounds. Because I find chocolate so tempting, I rarely indulge. If I gave in, I’d simply have to stop writing. For one thing, I wouldn’t want to waste the time. For another, as short as my arms are, if I ever truly capitulated to my sweet tooth, I wouldn’t be able to reach past my stomach to reach the computer keyboard.

This confession shouldn’t be taken as a tribute to all forms of chocolate. I don’t like mousse, for instance. I barely recognize it as being related to the cocoa family.