Rant: The Ice Cream Man

When did the ice cream man become so creepy? Maybe I'm just getting old (40 in a couple days). Maybe I see more danger in the world than I did as a kid. But my memories of the ice cream man look very different than what I'm seeing today. I can think back to 1979, and recall us playing outside always keeping an ear out for the music or ringing bell of the ice cream truck. When we heard it we'd run home to ask mom for money, and often find the truck just in time. Back then the trucks were white, clean, and held frozen treasures for all who could find a few quarters. That's what I remember.

Today the ice cream man cometh, but always with a Christmas jingle. I can't wrap my mind around why they would choose Christmas jingles over, well anything else! An old-school bell is perfect. If a song is needed one could go with nursery rhymes. Even a nondescript upbeat jingle would be acceptable. But no, they are pulling music only heard in the winter months and dropping it on us all in the heat of the summer.

And when the ice cream man shows up, he comes in a busted van. A van. A van with pictures of the treats cut out from the boxes and taped to the side. I mean, it looks like someone is playing make-believe, or trying to trick people from a distance into thinking this is an ice cream truck. Seriously. Look at this. Those are two of my kids ordering ice cream from one of our local ice cream trucks. Seriously?

And when this sketchy van pulls into the neighborhood why does he come at 5:30pm? Isn't that when people eat dinner? 3pm-5pm makes sense, but we never hear "Deck the Halls" piped out of the creepy van during those hours. No, he shows up when we're sitting down for a meal the kids are already uninterested in. Once those holiday sounds hit our table dinner is a bust.

Maybe my memories have been processed with filters that make them appear better than reality. Maybe. And my kids don't seem to notice the weirdness. I'm grateful for that. All they see is a man in a magic truck that has an endless supply of ice cream. They wonder, like I used to, how does he keep it all cold? Now I wonder, how many bodies could he fit in that truck? Yeah, I think I'm getting old.