Freedom of choice is a tricky subject, if you choose to think about it long enough.
I found myself doing just that the other day – in front of a two-for-the-price-of-one biscuit promotion at the supermarket.
Talk about: ‘‘Get back Satan!’’
So much freedom.
So many choices.
So much paralysis.
A good thing really, having recently vowed to never buy chocolate biscuits ever again.
They’d been deemed ‘‘impulse purchase non gratus’’ for fear of ‘‘saddle baggus permatatus’’.
In fact, I’d chosen to not to even put chocolate biscuits on the shopping list any more.
Can’t buy what you can’t remember.
If only it was that simple.
Actually, the choice to strike them from the shopping list had been made for me.
I’d simply chosen not to kick up a stink any more.
Deep down I know chocolate biscuit bingeing is wrong.
But when the Tams are slammin’, it feels so right.
I’d even devised a method to avoid putting these agents of evil into my shopping trolley.
Every time I came up to the biscuit aisle, I’d place a hood over my head, hunch down like a vampire exposed to the sun and push on to the next aisle where hopefully I’d face less stimulating items, like flour or rice or de-gassing products.
But the powers that be at the supermarket must not have been happy with this choice.
Rather than allow me to abide by my lamentably flaky conscience, they flooded me with more freedom.
When I ripped the hood off the other day, near the olive oil row, way away from the biscuit aisle, there towering before me stood a cunningly placed three-metre-high monument to cocoa powder and food preservatives.
A monolith of temptation advertising at least four different delectables at a once-in-a-lifetime, or at least fortnight, price.
If I let this opportunity slip, I may rue the decision for the rest of my life/fortnight.
All I had to do was choose.
And to think I thought I’d chosen not to.
Suddenly I realised what George W. Bush had had us fighting for in Iraq.
And it had nothing to do with keeping the price of petrol down after all.
It had been about freedom.
To choose what big brother wanted, and get blown up at the same time, in this case, around the waist.
This wasn’t comforting and I had a Gruen Transfer moment.
Had I chosen to think about chocolate biscuits, or had the choice been made for me?
In whose interests were these decisions being made?
And could I get my hands on a cuppa, pronto?
In a world brimming with important choices involving life and death, action or inaction, the Swans v GWS, here I was fixating on biscuits I wasn’t originally going to buy, kidding myself that if I caved in, I was saving money.
It caused me to reflect that I am, essentially, a despicably shallow individual.
In an effort to elevate my flagging self-esteem, I asked myself: What would Aung San Suu Kyi choose?
Tim Tam or Crown?
Yeah, that didn’t help.
So I slipped the hood back on and rushed to the next aisle where I found myself surrounded by, you wouldn’t believe it ...three-for-the-price-of-two potato chips.