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July 3, 2022 | Rome, Italy

The frosting first manifesto

By | 2022-01-03T17:22:55+01:00 December 24th, 2021|"Free-Range Kid"|
From now on, the icing comes first...
T

o: Eat the Cake First and Save the Frosting, the Best, for Last, to the attention of the party chairperson

Good day:

It is with no small measure of sadness, but also with deep personal conviction, that I inform you of my resignation from the Party of Eat the Cake First and Save the Frosting, the Best, for Last.

I must be honest: I did not anticipate ever having to write these words, especially after such a long affiliation with the Party. My loyalty to its ideal of tireless self-sacrifice, putting duty ahead of personal gratification has been total.

Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine the day would come when I would need to announce a change in course. But alas, here we are.

When I told fellow Party members — now fellow ex-members — of my intention to leave the rank and file, they found it difficult to take my choice seriously, dismissing me as frivolous. Why would someone so practiced in putting myself second to the needs of others give the slightest thought to betraying those values? When they discovered I was serious, that I wanted some pleasure from life, they quickly assumed some momentous event had pushed me into drastic, ill-advised action.

The time has come to set the record straight once and for all. Nothing momentous played a role in my decision. Instead, it was a series of small events over the years that, one piled atop another, changed my outlook toward the Party. Life details, you might say, conspired to produce a new way of looking at things.

I just knew, thanks to my Party training, that allowing myself to relax and enjoy was not an acceptable option.

If it’s examples you speak, here are a few of those little details. There was the day I chose to take the dog out just one more time so I could feel truly free of any lingering obligations before beginning my day. As it turned out, those extra twenty minutes caused me to miss the glitch in the parking lot computer system that gave the less diligent a day of free parking.

And how about the time I decided to save the precious leftovers from the fancy restaurant I waited six months to eat at, only to have my visiting sister eat the dish in one sitting. Patience rewarded? I think not.

Or the time I tried to be a good citizen on a snowy day and make sure to take the used batteries to their special dump site. I did this while on my way to catch my plane for Christmas holidays. The result? I hit road work, was delayed, and missed my flight, which as it turns out was the last one before a record-breaking blizzard hit.

There were no highly significant reasons behind my wish to complete all the little tasks I set myself to doing. I just knew, thanks to my Party training, that allowing myself to relax and enjoy was not an acceptable option. Over time, I was burdened by what I might call a disproportionate sense of duty, since I never once put myself first and completed every task I set for myself. What did I discover? That my life’s been poorer as a result.

If you want the truth, by wasting time eating the cake, you might never get the chance to taste the frosting at all. God, how the members of Eat the Frosting First Because You Might Be Struck By Lighting must all be laughing at the cake-firsters. And they’re right to laugh!

How much frosting, real and metaphorical, have I missed out on in life, I wonder. How many times has preferring the feeling of superiority I got from doing my duty ruined any chance at joy? And that superior feeling never lasted very long anyway. So why, I decided, should I continue to waste energy on duty and obligation?

God, how the members of Eat the Frosting First Because You Might Be Struck By Lighting must all be laughing at the cake-firsters.

I don’t mean to sound harsh. I simply decided I could not spend any more of my life playing by Party rules and putting off the things I really want just to feel moral and virtuous. Self-righteous sentiments aside, I want to remember myself as someone who enjoyed life.

You will therefore understand why I cannot, in good conscience, remain a Party member; I no longer believe in its fundamental ideals.

I have been a lifelong member and a loyal one. But I will not ignore my new sense of self-awareness. In that spirit, I will also be leaving the I’ll Wait and Have Two Marshmallows Later organization. After all, while you wait for the marshmallows, you might get run over by a car or eaten by a tiger, and then you’ll have had no marshmallows at all.

If I believed in heaven things might be better. I might say, “the frosting will come later.” Who knows, there may really be a heaven, but I don’t want to risk it, not after all the slights I’ve endured. I’m just not up to missing another flight.

You can probably see that I’m already thinking like a Frosting First believer. I want my reward in this life, where I know I can guarantee my enjoyment of it.

If it’s Free Parking or Pure Pleasure, I want it now. My choice is made. I wish you all the best, and if you wouldn’t mind posting this letter so the Two Marshmallows fellows can see it, I’d really appreciate it as I’m headed out to a bakery that has a lovely quantity of  fresh pastry, and I don’t want to be late and miss out on the flaky pistachio croissant.

Sincerely,

A born-again Frosting First Believer  

About the Author:

Manhattan-based Eleonora was born in Milan. She studied at schools in Italy, England, and the U.S. before earning her degree at Brown. When Eleonora is not acting, writing, or watching comedy, she spends her time drinking tea, worrying too much about everything, and spouting spoonerisms.

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