We were peeling carrots, and putting them in a tall glass of water in the refrigerator to chill, which is something my mother used to do. The idea was that it was so hot, and it would be great to have something cool and crunchy to eat whenever you came out of your heat-induced torpor enough to be hungry. But here's the problem: as I put them in the refrigerator, I said, "And crispy, crunchy carrot sticks just about any time!"
Do you know why I said that? Because the Berenstain Bears have carved a rut into my brain.
It's a parental occupational hazard: you read the same books over. And over. And over. And then, like anything, they cut a groove in your brain just like pop songs from the year you were 13, or television commercials you consumed repeatedly. And you can't. Get them. OUT.
Whenever I see carrot sticks, that freaking sentence comes into my mouth AND MAKES ME SPEAK IT.
Every. Single. Time.
It's from The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, one of my most heartily detested chores. I don't know how many times I read it. I don't know how long it will take before it becomes expunged. If ever. Which is something I just have to deal with, you know? IT MAY NEVER BE EXPUNGED.
I will be 96 years old (if I'm lucky) and they'll walk by with carrot sticks (they won't offer them to me, because I won't have any teeth left), and I'll mumble "Crisp, crunchy carrots sticks just about any time!" And they'll think I'm mad. And maybe they'll be right.
Also, in a desperate attempt at journalistic integrity I just searched for the cursed book to see if I have altered the hated quote, and found that it has four stars on good reads. Which must be in some way significant, though I am too horrified to figure out why.
Anyway, I woke up at 5:55 a.m. thinking, "Literary deposits," and that's what I realized I meant: these things leave their traces in your brain, and you can't get them out, and then that IS your brain, all the literary deposits that have been left there.
If this has happened to you, if you are a helpless victim to some trigger phrase or another, tell me in the comments. Just don't come by with carrot sticks. You know what I'll say.