What Forrest Gump said.

Life is like a box of chocolates.

Did you read that with Tom Hanks’s perfect, slow, southern drawl? Such a good actor!! Maybe you even prefaced it with “mama always said…”

It’s just such a classic line. We’ve all heard it. We all know it. I think most of us agree that it is true.

You never know what you’re gonna get.

This Christmas season, my office was spoiled rotten with chocolates. SPOILED, I tell you! Completely rotten. It was so delicious.

One of the boxes was particularly fascinating. It came from Vosges Haut-Chocolat (fancy pants chocolates!) and had some of the most unique (that’s the nice way of saying weird) truffle flavors I had ever encountered– things I never would have even dreamed up! But man, did they ever WORK.

I didn’t sample them all, of course. Some were simply too unique and I was too chicken to try it. And sometimes I just couldn’t justify taking another lactaid. (And I remembered right away how important it is to take a lactaid with chocolate. Lactase?! Lactase?! Why have you forsaken me?!)

(Are you Catholic?… Yes, I did just replace the phrase “My God” with “Lactase” in a classic Easter-time responsorial psalm… probably blasphemy. I’m kind of known for that around here.)

Sometimes I just remembered that the box wasn’t entirely for me and the respect I have for my colleagues (where respect = fear of judgement) prevented me from eating any more.

Regardless, those that I did try, even the really weird ones, were absolutely phenomenal. So amazing that I even emailed my Aunt Susan and Uncle Ed to apologize for my previously very cavalier attitude toward good chocolate. I had laughed at Ed’s use of the word divine, which sounds super serious with a Scottish accent, but now I get it. And I owed them an apology.

So if life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get…

I posit that PEOPLE are like this divine box of chocolates. Even the weird ones just seem to WORK. For someone, at least.

I did not expect to looooove a dark chocolate truffle sprinkled with paprika. But I did.

And there are a whole lot of people that I would consider dark chocolate truffles sprinkled with paprika or creamy plum-powder caramels covered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt (oddly specific, right? so delicious though– who comes up with these things?!)… odd, intriguing, unique… amazing.

Of course, not every taste suits every palate, but when I saw all of those descriptions laid out before me on the fancy truffle map (I love those guides to the box!), I could certainly appreciate the uniqueness and interest of every last one.

It was easy to do when it was chocolate.

I want it to be easier to do with people, too.

Even a box of Russell Stover can taste amazing. A delicious molasses chew for me, a chocolate covered cherry for my Seth. A truffle for everyone and for everyone a truffle!!

I think the trick is appreciating it for what it is– a unique combination. Something different. Maybe it’s not your taste, but it’s still special and delicious to someone. I may not get why you love it, but that doesn’t make you love it any less.

And in the above paragraph, the “it” can be a chocolate or a person. Same, same.

 

My friend Jess once told me that my palate was likely to change as I got older. I wanted to believe her, but honestly didn’t… I’ve just had such strong aversions to certain textures and flavors and tastes and smells my whole life. I couldn’t imagine anything else.

Yet here I am today, eating zucchini and adding (pureed) onions to my soup. (Yes, I just pretend that I’m my own toddler and get myself to eat healthy things by hiding them. Works quite well, actually.) These aren’t just baby steps– these things are enormous for me!

The fancy truffles, and my attraction to all sorts of different folks, are my grown up palate. The one Jess promised me several years ago. The chocolate is delicious. And the people? All of their unique and unexpected qualities– absolutely the best!

3 thoughts on “What Forrest Gump said.

  1. I wonder what description you would write about yourself – Just label me “a nut who thinks her niecelings and nephlings are interesting people who are worth listening to.” Or maybe “covered in curiosity, sprinkled with wiffle dust.” Or maybe “stays up too late. And knows better.” The possibilities are endless. I’m guessing this is why people aren’t as easy as a box of chocolates… still, I’d like that paprika one you speak of… thanks for the thought provoking entry.

  2. I can’t imagine what kind of chocolate you’d label me, but I hope it won’t be one of the fancy ones…chocolates that, after I found out how much they cost, I found too indulgent to even try (hence, my only eating two of them…before I knew that for the cost of that box of chocolates, I could have fed a meal to 60 people!) Although, I love dark, milk, and white chocolate!

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