People ask me how I manage to get a column in every week. The cheeky answer is that I use e-mail. But truth be told, it is simply discipline reinforced with the real motivational force: panic. If a deadline is missed, the authorities will sweep in and deport me to Writer’s Block Island.

Let’s look at the column due today as a typical example. As I sat down last evening to research, write and edit, my wife informed me that we were going out to dinner with neighbors which, after the alcohol starts flowing, occupies the better part of a night. That’s a night where a lot of good writing can get done but doesn’t. This is Stage 1 panic.

So after dinner the crazy idea hits: let’s drive into the next town to that little stand and get ice cream. (Stage 2) Magically it seems like a capital idea; we are all trying to eat healthy food and I have been scrupulously staying away from sugar for a long time. What could possibly go wrong?

We looked at the menu. It appears what you can order is basically sugar in four different sizes: medium, large, extra large and lethal. As adults, we occasionally make bad choices. Well, all of these choices are bad — and yet strangely attractive as they come in so many different flavors.

Summer is drawing to an end and we learn that the ice cream stand will be closing for the season. Even though we don’t visit more than twice a year, we are suddenly overtaken by the impending loss of this frozen caramel carbohydrate dispensary. We simply must celebrate the season’s end with something that will tide us over for the next eight months.

I ordered a bowl of synthetic ice cream swirl with only enough sugar to kill a very small horse. Then, acting as if they were teenagers, the neighbor couple and my wife opted for various suicidal hot fudge concoctions with nuts, extra fat, fillers, adulterants, chemically preserved and colored cherries and more sugar than was allotted to entire Roman legions when preparing for battle. Everyone giggles.

We ordered quickly, expecting the Food and Drug Administration to appear at any moment with a court order stopping the distribution of deadly desserts for the safety of the American Public. But the legislature was too busy bickering and the president too preoccupied on Twitter to be concerned about public well-being. Is our entire government on a sugar-induced psychotic episode? That would explain a lot of things.

Our order arrived. I was taken aback that one person could lift and deliver so many carbohydrates. I immediately felt guilty as somewhere in Puerto Rico people are still struggling without power after the last hurricane and here we were ready to consume and generate at least a megawatt of food energy that will have to be dissipated through chatting, social interactions, rowdy behavior, the possibility of arrest and, who knows, maybe writing a column into the wee hours of the morning (Full-stage panic).

Ice cream must be the devil’s dessert. There really is no way to stop eating it unless you run out. That’s why it must be dispensed into a small dessert dish and why it’s illegal to sit down in front of the TV with a half-gallon of Rocky Road and a spoon.

Just like the Coneheads, we consumed mass quantities. As I finished my dish, my wife pushed a pound or two of chocolate fudge and caramel onto my plate. She is always ready to share. Like a fool, I polished off what was given me without thinking about blood pressure, target weight, Puerto Rico or the afterlife.

I can’t remember what happened after that, how my shoelaces got tied together or how we got home. But here I am and, well, just look at the time!

The sun should be coming up soon and I bet I could be halfway to Boston before breakfast.

No. I should get on my bike and pedal off those extra calories. Forty or 50 miles should do the trick.

I better check on my wife. I hear her howling from the other side of the house.

The neighbors just zoomed past. Maybe they’re headed for Boston.

You can get a great breakfast in Boston.

No. Can’t go. I have a column due. I just need a topic and time. I already have the panic.