(WARNING: THIS WAS WRITTEN ON A PLANE, SO IT WILL BE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOEY. READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE. DEAL WITH IT)
Why do I love ice cream? Why should you care? It used to be because it is so smooth and cold and sugary and tasty- very satisfying to the carnal man. It can also serve as the seed of nonchalant romance, the currency of conversation that can curiously lead to more eternal joys. How many unsuspecting independent BYU coeds have been lured into a more serious relationship pointing towards a husband, a home, and a house by a seemingly innocent, non-threatening invitation for assistance in consuming a small frozen confection?
I have a new, more memorable reason to love ice cream- it redeemed me. However, in the immortal phraseology of that master storyteller and second-class superhero, Captain Underpants, before I tell you that story, I need to tell you this story.
In my Modern Mormon world, I am constrained by my faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to not participate in what the majority of the free and the enslaved world consider to be exciting- drinking, smoking, carousing out with manly man-friends doing supposedly manly things that threaten my salvation in the kingdom of God etc. I am forced to be more creative in my quest for a thrill. So, for the past 29+ years of matrimony with my sweet wife, I have been teasing her innate sense of common sense with a clever game of “responsibility poker” that goes something like this- I try to drive as long and as far as I can without running out of gas. By doing so, I’m playing a game of chicken with myself- Will I squeeze that last drop of gas out the engine and run dry before I reach the next oasis of gas pumps? Will I make it? I don’t know! The thrill is in not knowing.
For the past 29+ years I have been playing this game with my sweet wife. Many times I have come dangerously close to failure, yet found great pride in my ability to live life on the edge. For the past few years, it has not been an uncommon experience for me to literally coast into that last gas station, put 12.5 gallons of gas into a 12 gallon tank, and brag to the rest of my driving family the amazing immortal feat I had just achieved- running on fumes. For 29+ years my sweet wife has been waiting at home, dreading that call that I was stranded on a busy freeway somewhere because of my stupid preoccupation with testing the limits of my gas gauge, and that she needed to come rescue me. She promised me that when that day came, it would not be pretty for me.
And she was right. It all ended one evening last week, on a busy section of a feeder freeway off of the Baltimore beltway. I had lost. My tank was empty and I had to pull over. I made the call I had successfully avoided for the past almost three decades- “Honey, I’ve run out of gas and I need you to come rescue me.”
Never in the history of the world has one woman come so close to actually recreating intense cartoon anger, with fire shooting out of her ears, and numberless invisible streams of heat waves distorting the air above her head. The roadside rescue eventually occurred enclosed in an eerie silence of withheld words- she wanted to do something that would help me permanently remember my thoughtless stupidity, and I knew I was better off not saying anything at all.
No more than a few hours later, as we were recovering from this disaster safely ensconced in front of a warm crackling flat screen TV in the family room, my sweet wife broke the silence with a tender, clever request. “Honey….” she pleaded with a fake falsetto whine, “I know how you can make up for the incredibly stupid thing you did this evening. Do you mind running down to the store and picking up some of my favorite Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream?
I quickly jumped off the couch, traded my pajamas for Levis, and made a quick trip to the corner supermarket to bring home her favorite treat. Cold ice cream cooled her down and redeemed me.
The awesome power of ice cream… What can it do for you?