The Chemist Con

Believe it or not, there used to be a time when young children were allowed to walk to school by themselves. Thank goodness all the parents of the world came to their senses and stopped this highly dangerous activity.

When I say ‘highly dangerous’, I’m not talking about the risk that a child might be snatched while dawdling through the local park. I’m not even talking about the fact the poor kid might be flattened by a semi-trailer. No, there is something far more sinister that lurks in the local community: it’s called the ice cream shop.

It’s not just any ice cream shop either. Just like a kidnapper pretends to be your friend before they club you over the head, this ice cream shop tricks you into thinking that it is good for you, that it is healthier than all the other ice cream sellers. It pretends to be a chemist.

When I was little, a chemist was the place I went to get well. It was the place where things were made better. Whether it was scratches, punches or a brother’s bite to the neck, the chemist was the wonderful giant medicine cabinet that made all those ouchies go away. So it was only natural that when feeling sad, I would stop there on my way to school and scoff a triple choc sundae.

The problem is that whilst vitamins, medicines and Band-Aids do help you feel better, daily ice creams make your teeth rot. But when you are seven-years-old and losing a tooth is a daily occurrence, the last thing you're worried about are cavities.

My poor mum probably thought she was doing me a favour by encouraging me to walk to school. “Go out into the sunshine, get some fresh air,” she’d say. Little did she know that once outside, I’d make a beeline straight for the cavernous chemist, which had poor ventilation and smelt of old hand cream.

I’m sure that if the health experts tracked the obesity epidemic on a chart, they would find a sharp increase in numbers around the time doctors were encouraging families to walk more for their hearts.

Luckily, society has gone into overprotective mode since then, so that children don’t stand a chance at making themselves ill, the way I did. But still, it’s important to know that just because a chemist sells ice cream, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.


Text © Jessica Rosman 2015


Would You Like Gagging With That?

Young people are drawn to fast food restaurants the way moths are attracted to light bulbs. The food is cheap, there are no parents to badger you and it’s usually full of the opposite sex.

Fast food chains spend a great portion of their advertising budgets attempting to draw in teenage boys because years of market research has told them the same thing: to a teenage boy, the fastest way to get to first base is by buying a girl some fries and Coke.

I know this because I was once that stereotypical teenager, who spent her first date in a smelly, grimy fast food restaurant.

A teenage boy took me there because 1) it was probably all he could afford 2) it was more private than his parent’s living room and 3) he wanted to get to first base.

Unfortunately, when you choose to dine on super-sized junk food that is loaded with preservatives and sugar, a normal kind of date is completely out of the question.

After ordering our food we squeezed ourselves into a booth, which had the kind of lighting that made my chin pimples look like a row of ice-capped volcanoes. I then told a joke that was not remotely funny to anyone but myself. Whilst caught in the grip of hysterical sugar-induced laughter, I took a slurp of my soft drink.

Two terrifying seconds later, my throat was constricting, my eyes were bulging and I knew at that moment I was choking, quite badly, and there was a strong chance I might not survive my first date.

There is no attractive way to choke; the gagging noises emitted from my throat that day were reminiscent of the alien sound effects used in Men in Black, which was ironic since we had only just watched that movie an hour before. I was unable to point out this amusing detail due to the fact I had no air supply but from the horrified look on my date’s face, it was clear he had made the connection.  

So in a last and desperate attempt to salvage some dignity, I threw myself sideways and ran for the bathroom. I felt it was much more gracious to slowly suffocate amongst female patrons queued for the toilet, than choke to death in front of a handsome French boy. But as I slumped to the floor of that seedy fast food bathroom I finally started to relax and the next thing I knew, the horrible gurgling and raspy breathing had stopped and … I was still alive!

The morals of the story:

  • If you laugh at your own jokes, stop.
  • And if you go on a first date, suggest a homemade picnic in the park.


Text © Jessica Rosman 2015

Donut Queen

When I was thirteen I wanted nothing more than to fit in and be accepted by my fellow peers. This proved kind of challenging, since I was a head taller than most of the girls in my grade. Luckily, there were other ways to fit in, like cramming my gob with junk food.

So given I had just changed homes, schools and friendship groups, I did what every teenager does when they need to buy a few friends: I took a job at Donut King.

It felt good to be the centre of attention. After school I would change into a bright pink hat and pink and white uniform and stand under hypnotic spotlights in the middle of the shopping mall, serving up processed snacks and deep-fried lard.

I made friends overnight.

Even my big brother paid more attention to me. Instead of looking at me like I was some kind of deformed kitten, he started to embrace my presence of an afternoon, especially when my schoolbag was loaded up with the day’s unsold donuts.

For once in my life I was popular and I didn’t care in the slightest that I had just sold my soul to the junk food devil.

Fortunately for my soul, I was completely inept at the job and it wasn’t long before the manager discovered I had no cashier skills whatsoever. The Donut Queen had no choice but to hand in her crown.

Funnily enough I didn’t care about the money or the job, I cared about losing friends because I was no longer ‘that girl with the free donuts’. I was just ‘that girl who used to have free donuts’.

When you are a teenager, there’s a lot of pressure to eat crap. Cooking up some mung beans and vegetables is not the way to improve your social status. Little do you know that by eating processed garbage in an attempt to make new friends, means you are inadvertently making enemies with your gut and by the time you reach ‘adulthood’ you will be forced to go on a decade long fast if you want any hope of making it up to your tired, swollen body.

The best thing you can do is take a leaf out of my book and quit while you are ahead.  There are worse problems in life than trying to find new friends - try and find a new pancreas for example.

Text © Jessica Rosman 2015