When they find my body, index fingers pressed firmly into my ears, eyes spinning counter-clockwise, I want you all to stand, point resolutely toward the throngs of adorably grubby children running down the sidewalk, and lay the blame solidly at their tiny little feet.
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears, it’s a world of hope and a world of fears…
Someone has to say it, and as it appears I’m the only one on the block willing to say it aloud, I will do so, at great cost to my standing as an upright citizen.
It is time to kill the ice cream man.
Hear me out, good people! I’m not against treats! Particularly ice cream treats. Particularly if you’re buying. What I am against, however, is the systematic dismantling of my nervous system.
Not unlike the BOOM-BOOM-BOOM that will herald the arrival of the little tykes in ten years or so, the music of the ice cream man proceedeth them. Holy Hannah, here they come: first the ice cream truck, the amplified plink-plink-plink of child-like melodies spilling from its speakers, followed by bands of earnest, stampeding children clutching paper money.
The 16-bars-each musical line-up of the ice cream truck that was parked in front of my house for 30 minutes yesterday was as follows:
It’s a Small World, After All
Turkey in the Straw
Frosty the Snowman
And, I kid you not, Love Me Tender.
Love Me Tender?! The ears! The ears! They stagger like little drunken sailors as we go from “Easter Parade” to “Love Me Tender” and back again to “It’s a Small World”.
I eventually found myself lying, dizzy, on the porch floor - and not for any of the usual reasons.
I felt cold, sticky, and smelt vaguely of vanilla.
And so it’s come to this: the removal of the ice cream man.
When they catch me – and they will catch me – tell them I was driven to it. Tell them I was a good person, a disciplined writer and a lover of all things treat-ish. Tell them it was the “Love Me Tender” that drove me over the edge.
And tell my mother that I love her.