Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
You do? What is it? French Vanilla Bean? Wow, that's bland and uninteresting. What kind of useless Narrative Device are you?
Like many college students, I subsisted on a steady diet of orange juice, Stella D'Oro Swiss Fudge cookies, and dough of various kinds, from chocolate chip cookie to brownie. There was probably pizza and beer, too, but not in bulk like the others. Orange juice and Swiss Fudge cookies are easily explained to a spouse, but it's much more difficult stashing uncooked desserts around the house without arousing questions. As a result, for years I searched supermarkets and convenience stores for an adequate substitute. Ice cream had the best potential, with its chunks and balls and clusters of hidden goodness. But, despite having the choice of Cookie Dough, or even Chocolate Fudge Brownie Explosion of Sugary Death, the void inside remained unfulfilled. I still had fond memories of licking bowls clean, and celebrating when I made it through the next day without vomiting from salmonella.
Then, one day, I was walking in 7-11. I wasn't even thinking about ice cream; I was whining about the dearth of Sprite Slurpees in Boston, but that's another post. I happened to pass the Ben & Jerry's freezer when a new title jumped out at me, and metaphysically slapped me in the face: Brownie Batter. Could it be? After catering mostly to Dave Matthews fans and Phishheads, were they finally attempting to win me over? I grabbed several cartons and went home to gorge, and think.
Any one with a favorite ice cream can tell you how it was to have that first taste, to finish that first pint, to regurgitate that first gluttonously excessive helping. Even coming back up it tasted like something out of G-d's own E-Z Bake Oven. I was delirious, and bug-eyed from the sugar, and all that lactose.
For almost a year, I had the power to find Brownie Batter wherever it hid. If I walked into a store, and I needed a fix, if I looked with enough commitment and faith, a carton would be there for me, practically with my name on it. And when I finally switched tactics and started labeling the containers with my name and poison warnings, it was even easier.
And then, one awful day, it stopped. My flavor had vanished. I checked the B&J website for news of its demise, but there was nothing; that almost made it worse. I went to 7-11 and I begged them to order some more. They were friendly, and said they'd do it, but weeks went by, and I began to lose faith. The clerks started offering alternatives. "Hey, did you know that Brigham's makes a Choco-holic Overdose? How about Haagen-Dazs' new Drawing, Quartering, and Beheading by Chocolate?" But nothing would serve to replace my flavor.
The icy, unforgiving foot of winter dropped without warning. Bitter winds blew through my clothes, now tattered and worn from constantly rubbing against shelf after shelf of canned vegetables, snackfoods, and dirty magazines. I huddled in the back of the store, behind the stale sandwiches, when I noticed something in the freezer. There, right in the front, conveniently placed at eye-level, was my Brownie Batter. Tears of joy and relief at our reunion flowed unceasingly, and I carried all fifteen cartons to the cashier.
"Do you know, sir, how hard it is to find this flavor? It's my favorite."
"Yeah, we had a customer come in a couple of months ago to order it. I can't believe how long it took to get here."
That was me, you beautiful bastard! The brain freeze, it hurts so good.