The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown of 2013

I like to think I've earned my place at Ackerman McQueen as a capable, intelligent member of the team. But for a time there, I was definitely known by 95 percent of the people I worked with as "the girl who lost it over cookies."

I've been known to lash out irrationally where baked goods are involved. Not just once, but multiple times. Some of my girlfriends still talk about one incident when I lost it while trying to dye icing orange. Then there was that time my best friend and I got into an argument over whether we should use a wooden or rubber spoon to mix a batch of brownies. We chased each other through the house wielding kitchen utensils.

Happier baking times.
What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic. But nothing will ever compare to The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown of 2013.

The root of this meltdown isn't actually the cookies in question. It's really about a boy, of course. I don't recall exactly what leads to our argumentative state that night. I'm on the defensive because he seems to be critiquing everything I do, and he probably thinks I'm doing the same. The result: we're both in moods. You know, those moods where it doesn't take much to set you off. My tipping point? He says the batch of cookies I spent five hours baking the night before are mediocre at best. Aaaaaaand I'm crying.

I storm off to take a shower and cool off. When I surface, I hope to extend an olive branch and watch some House of Cards. Instead he informs me that he's typed out a note on his iPhone detailing everything I've been doing wrong during our 11-month relationship. Well that sounds FUN. I guess Frank and Clare Underwood will have to wait.

Sorry guys, BRB. Gonna cry it out.
He reads the painfully long tirade without even pausing to look up, and I fall apart. The only positive words I remember are "I love you." However, those words are immediately followed by the word "but," which pretty much eclipses that ounce of silver I-Love-You lining.

Full-on ugly girl cry status has been reached. Once he finally wraps it up, I mutter something like, "Ok...I'll try to stop doing those million things that I'm apparently doing wrong." I don't know what else to say, so I roll over and cry myself to sleep. Clearly our communication skills are top notch and we handle conflict really well.

The next morning, I show up late to work with four dozen cookies that are now 48 hours old, partially burned and symbolic of a still unresolved argument and my crumbling (pun intended) relationship. My puffy, crying eyes are hidden behind my glasses. My hair is lazily pulled into an I-don't-care-bun. I'm wearing a thin layer of waterproof mascara. Basically, I'm giving off that "don't screw with me" vibe. Unfortunately, Darren isn't catching on to said vibe.

Darren is the local forever bachelor in the office. He's hilarious, charming and an excellent story-teller. However, you would not pin him for a fantastic baker. If, for example, he challenged you to a bake-off, you would gladly accept and laugh him off as zero competition. You'd spend an entire month trash-talking and sending office-wide emails touting your impending victory. You wouldn't be even slightly concerned that your latest batch of cookies wasn't your best, because there's no way this guy can bake half as well as you -- even when you're at your worst. No way.

Except he can. He can bake better than you. Better than me. Better than all of us. By a lot. I walk into the conference room that morning and see Darren's perfect cookies, which were apparently just removed from the oven mere hours before. My cookies look wimpy. They have half the amount of chocolate. They're losing their fluff. They are, as I had already been told, mediocre at best. Help.

Poor, sad B cookies.
The fateful hour finally arrives, and the entire office shuffles into the conference room. There's a massive smorgasbord of food to choose from, but to my surprise (and concern), our trash-talking apparently did a fair amount of PR for the Cookie Challenge. Everyone goes straight for the cookie table to taste test and cast their vote.

And before I know it, the time has come. My friend Jen takes the ballot box to the front of the room to a riveted audience and begins to read each vote one by one. It feels very Survivor-esque, like Jeff Probst is delivering my doomed fate. And it's one of those unanimous tribal councils where one person gets bowled over by an alliance. Except in this instance, 38 people voted for Darren, and my only two votes came from Jen and myself.

The tribe has spoken.
Jen is now sensing that I'm teetering the line between being under control and completely falling apart, so she cuts the vote counting short and crowns Darren the victor. Still not sensing my emotional unraveling, Darren immediately launches into an "I won, you're the loser" rant, and all the interactive guys (super smart tech guys that I've never spoken to before) cackle alongside him. The entire office is now laughing at me; there's even some finger pointing straight out of 5th grade. I feel like I didn't get picked for the kickball team or something. Under normal circumstances I could take this kind of heat, but not today. The floodgates are about to open. I need an exit strategy--fast.

I don't find a strategy; I just get up and leave. And by leave, I mean literally run away.

The receptionist finds me in the bathroom, sobbing and wailing about some boy. She does what the girl code says you do under such circumstances: reassures me that he's an absolute dweeb. I protest that I love him, and cry some more. She tells me he's a dweeb again, and the cycle continues. The tears finally subside after 15 minutes or so, and I disappear to the parking garage to retrieve a stick of Burt's Bees from my car. I return feeling somewhat composed to discover that all hell has broken loose in my absence. One of the art directors left me a voicemail because he thought I'd fled the scene, too beside myself to face the world. Darren wrote me an extensive apology email, taking full blame for the situation. And then throughout the remainder of the day, strangers from interactive cautiously approach my desk to tell me how delicious my sugary failures are. Some of them even bring along extra cookies as props to further demonstrate how much they enjoyed my baking.

Let me just reiterate: All of these people think that I literally just had an emotional breakdown over losing an office-wide baking competition. For a moment, I consider taking a tour through the office to repeat this speech to every single one of my coworkers:

"Hi, I know you don't know me, and I know you don't care. But I just wanted to clarify: my boyfriend and I got into a huge fight last night, and I was a ticking time bomb today. Pretty much anything would have led me to tears. For example, if you so much as mentioned that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan, I definitely would have started sobbing. Glad we cleared that up. OK, bye!"

Then I realize these people already think I'm a complete basket case, so it's probably best I just leave this situation as-is. And anyway, if I tried to say something along those lines, I probably would have started crying in the process. So instead, the entire office carries on under the impression that they're sharing airspace with Betty Crocker's less talented and far more emotional stepsister.

You know what they say... If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Can I keep this breakdown on the DL? Maybe hope that my superiors who were out of town won't catch word of the incident? No. Within a week's time, my meltdown has achieved infamy status and becomes a topic of conversation on a conference call with my boss. Retelling the saga is now considered my party trick at work gatherings.

Yes, I am the girl in the office who cried over cookies. There are worse things to be known for, I suppose. Although, I can't think of any right now...


  1. I love love love your writing and stories!!! Keep them coming!!

  2. You have such a fun and relate-able writing style! Love love love this story!! :))

  3. I won! You lost! My stomach hurts right now...and I can't blame that on your baking skill. It's from your writing skills. Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!
    P.S. Your cookies are damn good.