Have a Desert for Dessert

Desserts in the Desert

A Desert for Dessert?

A common spelling mistake in the English language is to confuse the spelling of dessert with that of desert, and desert with that of dessert. For example, I once had a manufactured appliance whose label called it The Great American Desert Machine. I never could get that thing to make any hot, dry expanses of sand dunes, but it did make acceptable ice cream.1

So, if you are in the half of the population who can’t figure out how to spell desert and dessert, lend me your ears. Or eyes. Or, reading glasses. Or, web crawler algorithms.

If you spell your dessert with one ‘s’ only, and your desert with two ‘s’s,’ you may find that:

*Note: See alternate reading below for alternate reading.*

Your dessert tastes quite sweet, like sugar rather than sand. Your desert, on the other hand, looks like a wide expanse of sand dunes which is quite a challenge to cross, much less digest. It may now take you 40 days and 40 nights to get through a desert, which you used to do in a pleasant few minutes at the end of a meal.

You may find yourself wanting to eat the dessert—even becoming quite addicted to it. You may look forward to the dessert at the end of every meal, and it may really make your mouth water. You will no longer want to let your camel into the dessert, for fear it might start eating the entire thing and not leave you a bite. When you previously hallucinated about water holes and oases, now you find the entire dessert is filled with fruits, creams, and sugars, looking like a parfait2 or fruitcake.3 This might sound like a good thing, but wait until you try to eat the dessert. Since desserts are so enormous, you will be eating for days, weeks, months, perhaps even years, until your belly is filled with sugar and you start to waste away because you can barely move. Your friends will start to shun you, since they would never be caught eating a dessert and will think you quite insane. And in the end, you’ll be so mixed up, you won’t even know what you are eating. After all, it may look and taste like a desert, but it’s actually a dessert.

And your desert? That desert you used to look forward to so much in every meal has now become a pile of hot, dry, sand. And not just a pile, but miles of it, far and wide. You are now dreading that desert, as it could take months to cross. You find yourself alone in the desert, with no-one to be seen for miles around—lucky if you have a camel to help you through it. When you are staring at your desert, you think about all the beautiful places in the world where you could be. And about all the time you could be spending safe at home, but all you have is this desert. Your mouth begins to water, not like it used to when you longed for your desert, but as if you just want to get through this desert to find a single, cold glass of ice water waiting at your destination. You begin to hate deserts, you begin to fear deserts, all the enjoyment now gone, and you start spitting out your desert, which brings back terrible memories of your school days when some bully pushed your face in the sandbox. You now see every desert as the worst part of a meal, not the best, and you are happy if you get to skip the desert once in a while, and glad if you get a particularly small desert and someone else gets a bigger slice than you.

And all you wanted was to get through the desert and have a little dessert. Or was it, to get through the dessert to have a little desert?

(If you are not confused enough, keep reading. Otherwise, you may stop here.)

*Alternate reading (Note: This is the alternate reading)*

…you may find that…

Your desert tastes quite sweet, like sugar rather than sand. Your dessert, on the other hand, looks like a wide expanse of sand dunes which is quite a challenge to cross, much less digest. It may now take you 40 days and 40 nights to get through a dessert, which you used to do in a pleasant few minutes at the end of a meal.

You may find yourself wanting to eat the desert—even becoming quite addicted to it. You may look forward to the desert at the end of every meal, and it may really make your mouth water. You will no longer want to let your camel into the desert, for fear it might start eating the entire thing and not leave you a bite. When you previously hallucinated about water holes and oases, now you find the entire desert is filled with fruits, creams, and sugars, looking like a parfait or fruitcake. This might sound like a good thing, but wait until you try to eat the desert. Since deserts are so enormous, you will be eating for days, weeks, months, perhaps even years, until your belly is filled with sugar and you start to waste away because you can barely move. Your friends will start to shun you, since they would never be caught eating a desert and will think you quite insane. And in the end, you’ll be so mixed up, you won’t even know what you are eating. After all, it may look and taste like a dessert, but it’s actually a desert.

And your dessert? That dessert you used to look forward to so much in every meal has now become a pile of hot, dry, sand. And not just a pile, but miles of it, far and wide. You are now dreading that dessert, as it could take months to cross. You find yourself alone in the dessert, with no-one to be seen for miles around—lucky if you have a camel to help you through it. When you are staring at your dessert, you think about all the beautiful places in the world where you could be. And about all the time you could be spending safe at home, but all you have is this dessert. Your mouth begins to water, not like it used to when you longed for your dessert, but as if you just want to get through this dessert to find a single, cold glass of ice water waiting at your destination. You begin to hate desserts, you begin to fear desserts, all the enjoyment now gone, and you start spitting out your dessert, which brings back terrible memories of your school days when some bully pushed your face in the sandbox. You now see every dessert as the worst part of a meal, not the best, and you are happy if you get to skip the dessert once in a while, and glad if you get a particularly small dessert and someone else gets a bigger slice than you.

And all you wanted was to get through the dessert and have a little desert. Or was it, to get through the desert to have a little dessert?

  1. Of course, I did most of the work; it just churned.
  2. French for “parfait.”
  3. English for “fruitcake.”

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