"You don't actually have a system for buying Easter eggs, do you," observed the Baron, as I spread out this year's array of chocolates on the day-bed*. I had begun to tentatively arrange them into groups to be apportioned out to members of the family, in order of merit and esteem. One loves all members of one's family equally, obviously, but when it comes to giving out chocolate, one has to be very particular: chocolate is just too important.
I cracked open a packet of eggs that looked like they might not be an important part of any particular group - or perhaps weren't a particular part of any important group - and took one out for myself and gave another to the Baron, and we continued to contemplate the task at hand.
She was wrong, of course. I actually do have a system for buying Easter eggs. Even better: I have several systems for buying Easter eggs. Each of these systems comes into operation at different parts of the year and/or day, depending on the proximity to Easter. The systems operate together in complex but predictable ways, just like Chaos theory, and in the end, chocolate is apportioned out fairly to all members of the family. Probably. Here is an approximate diagrammatical representation of the process. So you can clearly see that the Baron's observation, while shrewd, was unjust.
In February, for instance, I often think forward to Easter. My February system is called Thinking That It Might Be A Good Idea To Buy Chocolate For Everyone In Advance But Then Forgetting All About It. It's a good system, insofar as systems go, and it certainly takes very little trouble in its implementation and ordering. In March, a different system comes into operation. It's known as Hmmm, It's Easter Next Month, I'd Really Better Start Buying Something For Everyone. This system is a little different to the first, as it actually involves me going into the supermarket, looking at the options available, perhaps buying a little chocolate, but then deciding that that chocolate is not appropriate** for anyone in particular, and then eating it. By the time late March rolls around, a new system comes into operation, a particularly difficult one to implement and practice. It's called Denial, and involves doing several other complicated things in order to put out of one's mind the complicated task of buying chocolate for other members of the family.
Several other systems come into operation between Denial and the day on which I actually hop into the supermarket and start buying chocolate for others, too numerous to mention, so let's just skip right over them. Once I am actually in the supermarket, I begin a system of buying known as Buying Chocolate Fairly For Everyone, which lasts for an aisle or two. Then I segue smoothly to a purchasing system known as Buying Chocolate Fairly For Everyone Else Who I Forgot To Include In That Other Bit Of Buying Chocolate That I Just Did. This is closely followed by the system known Oh Crap Now Everyone's Getting Something Different And That's Just Not Fair, which is immediately followed by I'll Just Get a Bloody Big Bunch Of This Stuff Over Here And Fuss Over The Details Later, perhaps interrupted by an intermediate system which I like to call Ooh, That Chocolate-Thing Looks Pretty, or possibly CHOCOLATE! I MUST HAVE SOME! GIVE IT ME NOW! NONONO I WANTS IT FOR ME!. At this point, it all gets rather complicated (more complicated), with several sub-routines and supplementary systems and minor functions coming into play, including:
a) More Chocolate
b) If No-one Else Wants This I Suppose I Can Finish It Off For Them
c) What The Hell Is That? I Just Want Normal Old Easter Eggs.
d) More More Chocolate
e) Getting A Little Bit More Stuff Just In Case
f) More More Chocolate More
So you can see, it all works out in the end, more or less. Or at least, I end up with more chocolate rather than less chocolate, which is much the same thing.
So... what are your systems of buying chocolate?
*You may note that normally one spreads sheets on day-beds, but during Easter one spreads chocolate out on them instead. This is for religious reasons. I have no idea what those reasons are. Religion is mysterious that way.
** Although it's possible that the phrase 'chocolate is not appropriate' verges on the oxymoronical.
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