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I had once enjoyed eating Costco tortilla chips. The ground corn meal sparkled with fresh salt and the whole taste that flooded my tongue was filled with crunch—a perfect food to provide comfort whenever I was stressed. However, as all things pass with time, my world was cruelly destroyed when Costco decided to never restock their sold-out supply. The equilibrium that those chips had provided me was overturned, the balance of power slipped, and I fell into withdrawal. The next time that my need for brain food overpowered my refusal to replace my original comfort food, I turned to the first—and only—snack in my cabinet.

Creamy Skippy peanut butter. Words that sound as smooth as the viscous paste within the plastic container. A food filled with hydrogenated oil and added corn syrup. The conglomeration of 1% assorted nuts and 99% cholesterol that makes my mouth salivate and my stomach rumble with the happiness of a child. I had always enjoyed peanut butter sandwiches, but it wasn’t until Costco cut off my supply of contentedness that I realized that peanut butter isn’t a commodity to be taken for granted—it’s my soul mate.

At first thought, I would never conjecture that a brown substance that strongly resembles toothpaste would turn out as the sustenance of my life force. Our personalities are astronomically different; I spend my life on foot, fighting the wind and rain, while peanut butter likes to spend most of his time in a jar. However, in our relationship, you can see the evident truth of the cliché “opposites attract”. Behind the natural lure that its nutty taste poses comes deeper meaning of our relationship.

Despite the pleasure that I give peanut butter by making him feel loved, I feel that our relationship is an example of commensalism, in that peanut butter is left unaffected while I benefit from his generosity. Underneath the delicious flavor of peanuts comes the real reason for my craving—peanut butter makes me feel good about myself.

This food that I am discussing is not one to be taken lightly. A single jar of creamy Skippy peanut butter, no bigger than an abnormally shaped cantaloupe, weighs a jaw-dropping three pounds. It can lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, choking, and possibly death. I eat peanut butter not for the health benefits; I eat it because I can. All of those long miles and late nights that fill my life have added up to a stomach that can fit infinite matter into its volume without expanding an inch. I like to take advantage of my ability to eat peanut butter by, well, eating peanut butter.

My world is one that is utterly free, where the sky is where feet fly and the water is a glass surface with nothing but a single ripple where I took off long ago; my world is orchestrated by the rhythm of a runner and the rushing of red blood; it is where everything is in perfect harmony and anarchy has left its mark of absolutely nothing. Sometimes, the ground seems like it has drifted farther away than where it began, and there is nothing left to stand on. Peanuts remind me that the ground is still there. They taste like the earth, like processed society, of a place where all decisions are made and all that is left to do is eat peanuts. They taste of adulteration, of imperfection, and of home.

Perhaps they truly are just another food that my brain has acquired a chemical addiction for, and there really is no real meaning of our friendship. Our meeting could have been nothing but a thread of fate, a meeting of strangers at the crossroads. One day, we may even part ways and each climb our own stairway to heaven. However, I will never forget peanut butter—such a simple medley that strikes perfect chords in the diatonic song of my life. Peanut butter truly is the peanut to my butter.



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