It started, as most things do, innocently enough. I was a child, propped up on the plush carpet, unaware that the commercial I was about to see would alter the course of my life forever. It’s hard to say why exactly this ad, this jingle, lodged in my brain where it lives today as a haunting echo. “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” the commercial asked as it displayed a small block of dessert encased in a silver sleeve. A tempting talisman. It turns out the first thing I would do for a Klondike bar is to ask my mother, Cheryl, for one. But, the real question, it turns out, is what wouldn’t I do for a Klondike Bar?
Perhaps my obsession began because Cheryl was so dismissive, adding another stubbed-out cigarette to her ashtray and replying, “Kid, you get your Klondike Bar when I get a red Camaro and a man who can keep his foot on the gas.” Perhaps it was later, in seventh grade, when the slack-jawed drugstore clerk did nothing despite seeing me walk out with a Klondike Bar hidden under my shirt, it’s cold aluminum foil making contact with my body which, for the first time, felt the thrill of danger. But maybe the prosecution was right, these types of theories, these conjectures don’t really matter and bring no peace to the countless victims, but as a man trying to make sense of his life I have to ask.
What I do know is that the reward was just as sweet as the chase. When you take a first bite of a Klondike, you experience the crack of the chocolate hard shell at the same time as the velvet ice cream center. When you rob your first supermarket you experience the thrill of being handed both the contents of their cash register and their entire inventory of Klondike treats. When you emerge from a black market trade having lost a first born child but gained a crate of Klondike’s limited edition Heath Crunch Bars, you feel like a true winner. And when you drive down the 305 interstate going 95 miles per hour, trailed by the majority of the Los Angeles police department, you laugh out loud at the realization that this is truly the only way to eat a Klondike Bar. You don’t even get upset, like you used to, when a bit of it melts onto the steering wheel, now slick with sweat and sugar. Were you laughing when, weeks later, you asked yourself the same question as you rappelled from the roof of the National Treasury, balancing the rope and sack of 100 dollars bills in one hand with a Klondike Bar in the other? Was that when you realized that you’re chasing a rush that exceeds the sugar content of a standard Klondike?
I know this is an odd way to address you, the employees of Klondike, on the first day I assume the position of CEO of this beautiful, dangerous company. I suppose I just wanted you all to know how passionate I am about the product, how significant an impact it has had on my life. Some of you would assume I’m just trying to justify usurping the position, and you may be right. Some of you may assume I’m going to reveal what I did with your old CEO, the beloved Dr. Klondike, and you would be wrong. I believe the only thing I can plead guilty of is dreaming too big. My stomach was bigger than the eyes of the law. This company taunted me as a child with a faceless voice calling to me through the television. Me standing here, with blood on my hands and chocolate stains on my lips is the answer to the question, “What would I do for ALL the Klondike Bars?”
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Rodney Uhler is a writer in New York who’s work has appeared in McSweeneys, GQ, Paper Magazine, Slackjaw and others. He is of average height.