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a cautionary tale. and on how exactly it was that i came to see the face of God in a packet of giant-chewey-sweet tarts.

i have this thing. for dying breeds of candy.

i love them. all of them.

nerds. check. (might not be dying completely, but certainly on the endangered list.)

giant chewy sweet tarts. yes please. pass them this-a-way.

new york city is the place to live when you have penchant for long-ago-passed-over-sweets. (scorekeeper, a point to the city, please).

you see, whereas many a drugstore stopped carrying these throwbacks to the good ole days, we here in manhattan have bodegas and subway stands galore. and these little, movable candy stands never fail to impress.

so that's where i go in search of my now and laters. and my giant chewy sweet tarts. and while they're always a little stale and i find myself yearning for the halloweens of my childhood, i succumb to the call of the sweets, stale or not. beggars, as it turns out, cannot be choosers.

it was thursday night. and i was in the 59th street station. waiting for the A, my chariot of choice. and sometimes, after work, i feel like i deserve those giant chewy sweet tarts. well, as it turns out, i now know to run in the opposite direction as soon as i think i deserve anything. this feeling of entitlement is the kiss of death. in this case, literally.

but back to the chewy sweet tarts. there are four in a pack. and they take some time to eat. and paired with a good book, they make the subway right home almost tolerable. ( oh, yes, long subway rides home; scorekeeper please remove the aforementioned point).

so i pulled out the first one.


or grape, i suppose.

and there i am sitting and waiting for the train as this older african american gentleman croons away next to me (he was quite good, by the way). and i'm sucking on the grape. and it's producing a sweet juice in my mouth and i turn my head to look for the train and boom. the sweet juice (probably more phlegm than anything) slips down the wrong pipe. which if i remember correctly from freshman biology, means the epiglottis didn't close in time and pain was-a-my-way-coming.

so i start coughing. little hiccups of coughs.

and then i stand and start to walk, totally embarrassed that i'm starting to choke to death on the subway platform. because that's what's happening. i am actually starting to choke to death. right there. on the platform.

and here's the thing, my little hiccups of coughs aren't helping. and i can't get a good cough out. and i can't breath. oh, God, i can't breathe.

and there overlooking the tracks i will myself to throw-up. but throw-up what, i think? i'm not actually choking on the piece of the candy--this is just my own body voodoo juice slipped to the wrong place.

so i take in some breaths. and i am aware of the air entering the body and doing nothing. and i become acutely aware that choking to death feels nothing, not-at-all, like i expect. it doesn't feel like it looks (in movies and such).

and there in the 59th street station, standing on the edge of the platform. waiting for the A, listening to the man revisiting marvin gaye's greatest hits, God takes pity on me and grants a burp. a stomach rattling movement of air upward and out.

and it feels like almost nothing. it is far from satisfying. but it grants me life. for another day, at least.

and this burp is followed by another burp. and another. and my panicked shaking slowly subsides.

and i look at the other three giant chewy sweet tarts nestled in the package i still clutch in my left hand, and i think (very seriously, mind you) about whether to save them for later, or dig right in.

and then some wiser power (probably the aforementioned, no?) provides me with one of those rare, lucid moments. and the giant chewy sweet tarts, all three of them, find their way into the garbage can.

the train finally comes. and as i take my seat i flash on all those iconic scenes of new york city single gals coming oh-so-close to meeting their maker. miranda choking on chinese food. or liz lemon nearly done in just hours after jack's warning, "i would think that biggest thing a single woman has to worry about would be choking to death alone in her apartment."


here's what i think:

turns out it can happen on a subway platform too.

and it's high time to find myself a man. or an insurance policy inclusive of such an end.


Ruth said...

Haha I love your stories! Glad to hear your life was spared, though :)

Also: Now & Laters are a dying breed?? Can it be??

Anna said...

waaaa just thinking about sour candies always makes my mouth literally water. Not because I crave them, but because that's how it reacts when I eat them.
that must have been SO SCARY!!! I'm glad you didn't panic and it turned out ok :)

Signorina Svizzera said...

Oh my gosh, you made my mouth water thinking about giant chewy sweet tarts
(though I agree that like commentor Anna that is because my mouth waters when I eat them) !! Even after your story I still want some (but alas, they don't sell anything like that here!).
Glad you survived the incident and I hope you find a handsome insurance policy in the very near future!!
good luck!

Meg Fee said...

interesting fact: your mouth waters because the body is literally preparing to eat the food your thinking about!

and anna, id did panic! but it passed quickly!

Jalene said...

what a great story,
except for you choking. how scary.

one time i was driving and some apple juice went down the wrong tube. i also experienced those lovely burps. it was so attractive. haha.

chelsea rebecca said...

i so enjoy reading your stories!
now and laters can never become extinct! i'm gonna have to go buy out the supply from the closet gas station because they are my favorite candy!!!
glad you ended up being okay! congrats on being among the ranks of miranda and liz!!

Marci Darling said...

Such a hilarious post!

Anonymous said...

That's the WORST when something goes down the wrong way! Especially in public, and then you can't stop choking ahh! Glad you're ok!

olivia rae said...

omg! how awful! little things like that can be so scary! i'm glad you're ok!! haha. and i love dying candy too. sour starburst are my favorite in the world, and it's hard to find them anywhere!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

i sincerely hope that the experience hasn't forever ruined chewy sweet tarts for you, because those things are truly wonderful.

Courtney said...

Oh goodness, my mouth is watering for now and laters. I can almost taste them! Haven't had those in for-ev-er.

And you know, this post got me to thinking. Burping can save lives. Just think of Charlie and his grandfather when they drank the fizzy stuff and started floating up into Willy Wonka's giant fan. Thank God for life saving burps!

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iheartkiwi said...

oh meg, i'm sorry about your brush with death! that would have been an interesting obituary... death by chewy sweet tart! you crack me up.

p.s. i just posted the first round of our wedding photos if you'd like to take a look! i know you had mentioned you wanted to see them!

Alexa Mae said...

hahaha i just almost choked on my gum. this was hilarious. i mean, im glad you're okay, but it makes for a good story.

love your blog!

~~~ said...

I'm really glad you're alive... And chewy sweet tarts are delicious (I also really enjoy Rolos)

Natalie said...

you have a storytelling gift. i feel like i was right there with you. hahahaha.

Krissa said...

haha...okay...not supposed to be funny....sorry....I so hate it when that happens...it happens to me at work and i am choking sitting in my cubicle...trying to get it up or down or whatever...my eyes are watering...and im trying not to bring attention to myself...ugh...such a pain...i am glad you are okay...and even stronger that you threw those suckers away! you rock!!!

Sara said...

That 30 Rock episode (and now YOUR episode) makes me somewhat terrified to live alone.

I'm terribly grateful for gas and I will say an extra little prayer tonight in appreciation for that burp.

HillTopStar said...

red hots. mars bars. nerds.

i'm glad you survived the not-so-great subway choking episode.

btw, if you find yourself choking while alone in your apartment, you can self-administer the heimlich with a chair. see the link here: http://health.allrefer.com/health/heimlich-maneuver-on-self-heimlich-maneuver-on-oneself.html

Karina said...

haha glad you survived! BTW i tagged you in a post!

~*"*Dia*"*~ said...

You're so hilarious! A friend of mine who lives alone in another city, just like you, has recently told me that she choked with biscuits and almost suffocated. There must be a trend :))

Jayne said...

Hahaha, I love your little anecdotes, Meg!

Also - I rejoice inwardly that Razzles still exist in certain novelty candy stores. Mmmmmm!

Brittan said...

oh god i hate that feeling! i am a fast eater and have one too many times had a similar choking (despite the fact that no food is lodged anywhere) experience.

on a lighter note, guess what i found in this here great city? candy buttons! that's, like, our grandma's candy. talk about extinct.

Anonymous said...

Meg, check this out?! I just googled the liz lemon thing because I remember the quote, but can't remember what movie it was from -- and this came up?


Meg Fee said...

dear anonymous,

thank you. thank you. that was...enlightening to say the least.


Hanako66 said...


i share your love of outdated candy:)