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The reality of Arkansas winters is they're dreary affairs. What isn't grey is brown, what isn't cold is wet, what isn't dark is darker.

Spring bursts with green and life. Summer drifts lazily through a warm haze. Fall is a final explosion of color and activity. But winter ... winter is a mash-up of oatmeal brown and battleship grey, with all the magic those names imply.

And as it wears on, it brings with it a malaise that permeates the soul and compels us to give thought to our darkest self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy. All is grey. All is cold. The sun does not shine and we are left, alone, staring into the gloom of our foibles and imperfections until, finally, we give them voice.

I don't know how to eat a cupcake.

I mean, yeah, technically I know how to eat a cupcake in the sense that I know how to consume a small, hand-held dessert. The concept isn't hard and it doesn't even require the dexterity of, say, using chopsticks. Which I can do. Most of the time. Except for those occasions when I go straight-up Chevy Chase and the sticks slip and violently cross, then whatever I was about to eat goes flying across the room and I'm sitting there, open-mouthed, trying to figure out what happened and hoping no one noticed or no one slips on that dim sum.

But I digress. Winter will do that to you.

Anyway, after hours of contemplation (or some period of time. Probably just minutes. Winter. It drags), I finally realized that I don't know how to gracefully, or, I'm sure, correctly, eat a cupcake.

I would interject that it's possible my technique is just fine and the issue is that my mouth isn't big enough to accomplish biting into a cupcake without making a mess. In which case I'm actually the victim here. A fitting thought for a time of year when we're all the victims, we just aren't quite sure what of.

So whether it's a matter of flawed process or a flaw of nature, the bottom line is I have yet to figure out how to eat a cupcake without replicating one of those terrible wedding-cake scenes where people celebrate their undying love for each other jam food into each other's faces.

Except, I'm solo. Which is how you figure most of the folks who start their wedded bliss with a slow-motion, limited-scale food fight are going to find themselves. Another wintry digression.

Now, I can hear you out there, pooh pooh-ing my lament. Some of you will go so far as to offer up suggestions like, "cut the cupcake in half and make a sandwich out of it." Which still doesn't explain how I'm supposed to fit something the size of a boxing glove in my mouth. I mean, you're just re-arranging the deck chairs on the dessert Titanic.

Others will, with the tone reserved for instructing the very young, tell me I should use a fork. Well, thanks, Miss Manners, but they don't serve cupcakes with a fork, do they? No, at the office or the birthday party or the general celebration of whatever they're celebrating that they chose not to bring real baked goods to, they say, "look, here are cupcakes!"

Then they sit back like those people who put candles you can't blow out on your birthday cake, prepared to snicker at your misfortune. And then wonder why you get all red in the face and glare at them and the wax drips down on the cake and ruins it and everyone is mad.

So, basically, cupcakes are the practical joke of desserts. You think people want you to be happy, when in reality they just want to see you make a fool of yourself.

Of course, there could be another alternative. It's possible that not being able to go outside or enjoy the weather compels some of us (not saying who) to get kind of, well, whiny.

And, potentially, blow things out of proportion or look for rather minor inconveniences and make them into major challenges and promptly ascribe sinister motives to others.

The sorts of people who, when the weather turns, will forget all about their issues -- cupcakes or otherwise. Or will come to realize that doughnuts are also kind of tough to eat. But who is that stopping?

Until the change, the gloom of the season pervades all. And brings with it ... cupcakes.

Commentary on 02/22/2019

Print Headline: Winter is no cupcake

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