Hull is a quiet little farming community nestled in the fertile farmland of northwestern Iowa. Some of Hull’s leading businesses include a firm that specializes in manure equipment sales and a company that makes cattle chutes.
    Beneath this pastoral facade lurks an astonishing fact: Hull is home to a major purveyor of mood-altering substances.
    The community makes no bones about it. In fact, a billboard on the outskirts of town proudly trumpets the business that peddles these nefarious substances. I don’t know why such a thing is tolerated. Perhaps it’s because many who live in the area are descended from a certain western European country that is home to the city of Amsterdam.
    I, like many Baby Boomers, experimented with mood-altering substances during my wasted youth – especially the particular substance the establishment in Hull is best known for. Temptation got the better of me on a recent swing through Hull, so I stopped in at the business to conduct some hard-nosed investigative journalism.
    I was greeted cheerfully at the door by a conservatively dressed middle-aged lady. She politely asked what my favorite substance might be. The mind-boggling quantities of product that were on display instantly sent my brain into sensory overload. I murmured that it had been some time since I had partaken and that I didn’t know quite what to think.
    The lady mentioned that they obtain their mood-altering substances from a wide variety of sources.
    “Have you ever tried the kind that comes from France?” she asked helpfully.
    “Aha,” I thought. “They must be hooked up to the so-called French connection. I’ve heard about that.”
    “We also have product that comes from Germany, Belgium and of course, Switzerland. A person needn’t say another word when you mention the Swiss.”
    “Of course not,” I mumbled, feeling somewhat befuddled.
    The lady seemed to sense my bewilderment and graciously offered a free sample. She had me at free.
    I did as she instructed. I put the small sample of the substance on my tongue and let it slowly dissolve. My reaction was similar to that of a dog who is receiving a tummy rub. My eyes rolled back, my body went limp, and a moan of pleasure welled up from deep within me. I don’t recall, but it’s quite possible one of my back legs twitched involuntarily.
    Good chocolate can have that kind of effect on me.
    But this wasn’t just your ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill milk chocolate. This stuff was silky, exquisitely flavorful and extremely potent. Brown gold. Swiss bliss.
    My taste buds whispered that the milk that went into this chocolate was produced by plump, auburn-hued cows who had grazed on sun-drenched mountain meadows under the doting gaze of tall, blonde Swiss milkmaids. The fetching maidens had serenaded the cows with their pure, sweet voices as the bovines leisurely noshed on the emerald grass and kept time to the music with their tails.
    The cocoa had come from a tree that had been lovingly tended by wizened old man who was a direct descendant of an Aztec king. The man had lived a monk-like life, devoting his entire existence to the care and feeding of that one particular cocoa tree.
    I knew a good thing when I tasted it. Using all the cash I had on me – one doesn’t want to leave a paper trail when conducting such transactions – I bought as much chocolate as I could from the Foreign Candy Company. I took the stuff home and squirreled it away for future use.
    Why did I need so much chocolate? Because I’m a guy, and I am married.
    Here’s a universal truth about guys: Inside the brains of each of us is a clueless junior high school boy who’s frantically pulling the control levers and randomly spinning the tuning knobs. If you want to understand the behavior of a guy at 40, look at how he acted as a boy of 14.
    Within every guy is a zit-faced, insecure, gawky goofball whose favorite form of entertainment is making armpit noises. When – not if – a guy commits a serious marital misstep, it’s not actually his fault but that of his dummkopf inner teenager.
    Because domestic blunders are all but inevitable, the wise husband always has an ample supply of chocolate that can be deployed at a moment’s notice. I have learned that few things are more effective at altering a wife’s mood than a chunk of rich, creamy, high-octane chocolate.
    And the best part is, you and your wife can enjoy it together. Just make sure you don’t accidentally kick her in the shins with an involuntary leg twitch.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, South Dakota. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.