Don't Cry Over Broken Biscuits

by - May 17, 2018

I was standing in the kitchen. A deep sigh escaped my mouth as I eagerly tried to open a biscuit package. As I was struggling to defy the powers of the cookie container -ya know, thousands of layers of plastic 'cause environment who?- I angrily murmured to myself "of course it won't f*cking open". I, now agressively, tried in an animalistic manner to tear the layers of plastic from my biscuit delight. As I put pressure on the surface, a piece of plastic suddenly rips off and in slow-motion I can see all my hopes and dreams crush on the floor.

I pick up the package, with an insignificant amount of plastic still clutched in my hand (because of f*cking course it didn't actually rip it open) and inhale all the air around me in preparation for the most magnificent scream the neighbours must have heard in years. Too dramatic? Well, tell that to me seconds later as I suddenly, effortlessly lay open the thousands of layers of plastic and am eagerly munching on crumbs trying to hold back tears.

The broken biscuit syndrome

This emotional outburst is naturally not a stand-alone case. Not being able to open a package doesn't normally make me that eyes-wide-open screaming-on-top-of-my-lungs. It's an accumulation of things that are going wrong or aren't what I expected them to be that makes me almost burst into tears when defeated by a lump of plastic keeping me from that one thing that might sooth the pain. This sudden misplaced feeling all the feels is called 'the broken biscuit syndrome'.

The broken biscuit syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in children (and I like to argue adults) where the setback of, say, a biscuit that breaks, can be the last straw that makes you momentarily loose all sense. This is because 'we' long for control over our environment and a broken biscuit portrays the somanieth lack of this control. Another way the biscuit syndrome works, when looking specifically at the biscuit-breaking-based part of it, is the idea of wholeness that matters to the crumbled victim. Which is something you can find in perfectionists or those who find comfort in repetitiveness or rituals. *raise your hand if you've been personally victimised by a broken biscuit*

Beating the biscuit

My great great grandmother, grandma Gouwerok, owned a biscuit factory (producing among other things spiced biscuits for famous Dutch company Verkade). When my grandmother was about 14 or 15 years old she was sent to work there with the logic that when she knew how biscuits were made or was surrounded by biscuits all day, she would finally stop snacking 24/7. Grandma was put on plate duty, removing the biscuits from the plate through beating with a hammer on it so the biscuits come loose. Grandma Gouwerok told my grandmother that she was allowed to eat every broken biscuit along the way. Do you see where this story is going?

Grandma, not satisfied with the ratio biscuits and broken biscuits, decided to take matters into her own hands and purposefully smash any biscuit that came her way. This lasted less than a week and before grandma Gouwerok was robbed of all her biscuits grandma was 'fired'. The moral of the story, besides that my grandmother had a black hole in her stomach, is that a broken biscuit stand for loosing control, however when breaking a biscuit you take matters into your own hands. Naturally we can't always go through life swinging a hammer in front of us. Sometimes the overwhelming randomness of existence happily swoops the hammer from your grasp and break the biscuit for you. But, after shedding some tears, taking that what's broken and turn it into our own advances is something perhaps 'we' biscuit mourners should take more often into account when licking our crumbs. Because even though it feels like it, a broken biscuit isn't the end of the world.

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  1. Sometimes you just need to cry over a broken biscuit!

    Kay xx