Of Destiny and Tater Tots

I have always held the believe that life works in mysterious ways. About a month ago, I began to feel a desire growing within me. A craving for something I had not experienced since the days of my youth.

Tater tots.

I had a serious hankering for some crispy, golden-brown tater tots.

The last time I had enjoyed some tots was elementary school, when they were served on an off-white plastic tray with cardboard pizza and a bag of milk. Now, over a decade later, I’m a semi-pescatarian who works out daily and tries to stay on the healthy side of eating. So tater-tots are usually not on the menu.

But the stomach wants what it wants. Luckily, my extreme aversion to grocery shopping prevented me from going to purchase tater-tots, and, surprisingly, tots are difficult to encounter anywhere other than the grocery store. Also, they pretty much have to be made in the oven. And I’m a microwave kind of gal.

I took it as a sign that it was not meant to be, and hoped that my hunger for tots would disappear with time and patience. I had survived over a decade without tots. I would persevere.

A week passed, the tots all but banished from my mind. And then I went to work one fine evening and noticed that the menu had been posted for my workplace’s monthly trip to make dinner for families of children who are receiving treatment at a hospital about an hour away from my place of employment. I usually attend and help cook, despite the fact that I am the chef of Gordon Ramsay’s nightmares, but if my schedule does not permit, I often sign up to bring an item from the menu list. So I grabbed a white-board marker to write my name beside an item to bring….and my heart stopped.

Because on that list, in big, capital red letters, was: TATER TOTS (LARGE BAGS).

A thousand thoughts converged upon me. Could it be fate? Just when I began to forget the intense hunger I felt for the tots, destiny throws me this curve-ball? Immediately, I scrawled my name on the white-board. This was a clear-cut sign from the potato gods. I was meant to have tots.

After work the following day, I made a trip to the much-abhorred grocery store. Side-note: Normally the tater tots are in these freezers in the back of the store, near the deli and the fish market, so that is where I headed. I literally made two laps of the back of the store (naturally refusing all help offered to me by the employees) before realizing that they were, in fact, not there. Then I went to the ‘potatoes’ section of the actual frozen food department, and it took me another five minutes to find them among the french fries. You could have given me a map and it still would have taken me twenty minutes.

I stood there, in front of the freezer, looking at the huge bags of tots, for what felt like an eternity. People passed, on their way to pick up ice cream and frozen dinners, or the occasional pizza. They were ignorant to the allure of the tots. I could hear the little potato bits of heaven calling to me, begging me to take them home.

It would be so easy. I needed two bags for the charity dinner, and could buy a third for myself. I mean, they were right in front of me. This was divine intervention. THIS was destiny.

And then I glanced at my shopping basket, and realized it could only fit two bags of tots. Also, my arms are spindly so I wouldn’t be able to carry a third without looking like a noodle-armed fool. A cold mist of devastation fell over me. But I held my head high, and accepted that, though the tots were so close, it was not meant to be. After all, did I really need a GIANT bag of tater-tots? No. Would it be a smart decision, food-wise? Probably not.

I grabbed my two bags of tots, and left. Well…. paid for them, then left.

The next day, I walked into work with the two bags of tots, and put them in our work freezer. I was working a late shift, so I was unable to attend the dinner, and told my coworker where they were, since she would be driving to the event. I thought that my duty was done, and all was well.

Then she came back, about four hours later. I asked her, “How did the dinner go?”

And she put her arm around me and said, “I’m so sorry… but we forgot to bring your tater tots. Luckily, they already had some in the kitchen.”

After her words finally processed, realization struck. I now had not one, but two giant bags of tater tots. So much had happened since my initial craving for them days before. Destiny had, yet again, meddled around in my dietary life, bringing tots to me when I tried so hard to resist. I was meant to have tots. So I brought them home with me that day, put some in the oven, and enjoyed their potatoey goodness. AND IT WAS MARVELOUS.

Life really does work in mysterious ways. Just when you think something is not meant to be, that something will always be standing in your way, destiny comes through, like the sun after a rainstorm. It may take the long road, sometimes, or it might never happen at all. Some things are meant to be, like me and tater tots, while other things are just not fated to happen, like Tron 3 (and yes, I’m bitter about that one.) I mean, I’m not going to make a habit of consuming tots, because my arteries would protest after a while. But that’s life, I guess. Life is full of surprises…crispy, golden, potatoey surprises.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have two bags of tots to eat, and a destiny to fulfill.

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