My old friend Mel had said he was so decrepit that he can barely get out of the house, but he’d held out on me. The main problem is that the old fart has totally let himself go and has gone from fat to just plain obese. Hell, no wonder he has trouble walking and taking care of himself. I’d have trouble, too, if I had to heave 300 pounds around… OK, 250.

And yes, I can understand letting oneself go and giving up. I’m sick with shame over my having given up when faced with problems mere shadows of his. Through blind luck I’ve managed to get myself into a better frame of mind and then be blessed with a medical miracle that has me able to walk properly again. (Well, not really a miracle, but it was definitely some very creative stentery.)

But consider Mel’s situation: You’re a very gregarious, family-oriented person, and your wife dies fifteen years ago, your only child – a son a year younger than me – dies last summer, the last of your siblings dies last fall, and your best friend dies last spring. Why not eat yourself to death?

To do my part, I brought a large selection of chocolates. An assortment of the very finest I could find in San Francisco. To drop some names: Recchiuti, Schmidt, Scharffen Berger, Guittard…and then a stack of imports, mostly single bean Venezuelan criollos, etc.

This is rather like bringing a selection of fine liqueurs to an alcoholic. Contributing to the delinquency of others has always been my forte.

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