August 19, 2009

The Ice Cream Menace

The NY Times article on the annoyances of the ice cream man cracks me up like five different ways:

  • First there's the whole premise of the predatory ice cream man, whether he's an unlicensed immigrant sneaking into the playground, a secret sideline drug dealer [!], a diesel-belching polluter, a dinner hour interloper, an insane jingler, a processed corn-syrup peddler, or a skeevy bum.

  • Then there's the guy who started a motorcycle ice cream business who gets to slag unchallenged on the fat, hairy, belching creeps in the trucks.

  • Then there are the fantastical names of the brands--Coolhaus, Van Leeuwen Artisanal--and nearly every person quoted: Chris Giunchigliani, Lori Bukiewicz, Joel Semanko, Crispin Heidel-Habluetzel, and Hilary Guishard ["known as Doc"].

  • But wait, there's the passive aggressive dick from Mister Softee who said the only people who hate the ice cream man are "New Age parents whose kids can't seem to do anything without them."

  • And then there's the sheer number of dads mentioned in the story: ze-ro. Who knew that ice cream was one of those lady problems?

Original headline: "Soft Serve and Jingles Jangle Moms": When Parents Scream Against Ice Cream [nyt]


Another Times micro-trend story. I wonder how many of these quotes are from moms in Helene Stapinski's kids' playgroup? A quick trip to Lexis/Nexis, a call to some college roommates who live in other cities and voila!
Jeez, if you can't stand your kids asking for ice cream a hundred times in a row, you shouldn't be parents. Sometimes you say yes to things they want, sometimes you say no, get over it.
If you want to totally control your children's auditory/nutritional input, maybe you should move to some gated cul-de-sac in the suburbs. Or maybe a Skinner box will work.

Wow, the psychology in that article is amazing. Irate at the ice cream man? Really? Mayhaps channeling some feelings of powerlessness from elsewhere in your life?

I would love to know how one lives in a world where the ice cream man is the only thing your kid pesters you about. My daughter sees at least 3 a day (quite a few live in our neighborhood) and it's never been an issue.

When I was a kid, my brother and I went down to the ice cream truck once. They had a hole in the side of the truck that had jagged teeth painted around it and you were supposed to put your trash through it.

I stuck my hand through to throw away the wrapper from my frozen treat and the man who was with the driver grabbed my wrist and wouldn't let go. My little brother started freaking out and screaming because he saw how scared I was. A neighbor came out on her porch to see what was going on and the man let go.

I think that was the last time I ever bought ice cream from a truck.

Normally a story like this would induce major eye rolling from me (and living in Carroll Gardens I delight in making fun of Park Slope), but these parents aren't upset about your run-of-the-mill ice cream trucks on the street. They're upset about ice cream vendors camping out inside of small playgrounds. If you don't live in Brooklyn it might be hard to picture the size of these and why this would be a huge annoyance. So in this case I think you have to cut these parents some slack.

There is something strange about getting so het up about an ice cream vendor. If these guys are unlicensed in Park Slope (where I used to live), the park should get them out. After all, unlicensed vendors of any kind aren't allowed. But the mom who's upset that the ice cream parks outside her child's window at naptime? Well, has she asked the ice cream van to move down the block a little? Our kids constantly bug us for ice cream from vans that are parked around every park in London. Sometimes we say yes, sometimes we say no. Just like my mom did when I was a kid...

I'm guilty of being a complainer about the ice cream man.

I cringe whenever Mr Softee rolls up my street, with his stupid jingle blaring so loudly that I heard him coming four blocks away. When I ask him to turn it down because he woke the baby, he looks at his watch as if to say, "Why is a baby sleeping at 3pm?"

Mr Softee also parks right in front of my house and the fire hydrant, or in my neighbor's on-street handicap spot, We also have a local idling bylaw, which he disregards.

As far as complaining about the product or its lure, I could care less. I've been known to line up for a soft serve from time-to-time.

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