This summer, I had the opportunity of working at a local ice cream establishment, which not only provided a salary and a large dose of stress, but also taught me many memorable lessons, and gave me a true appreciation for this wonderful frozen confection.
I believe in the power of ice cream. I believe that endless possibilities exist every time you go out for ice cream (and no, I’m not just talking about the choice between hard-serve and soft-serve); ice cream opens doors for us in ways we never dreamt were possible.
First, ice cream allows us to truly be ourselves without fear. The first time I realized this fact took place one hot afternoon: I was waiting at the counter when I noticed a tall man in a leather jacket dismounting his massive motorcycle. As he sauntered up to the counter, I wondered what he would order: a giant diet coke? Perhaps a triple Chocolate Monster? After considering the menu for a moment, he ordered a small Lemon Chiffon. I was genuinely surprised at this man’s order, because it didn’t seem to fit his appearance. I thought little of this event until, a few weeks later, I experienced similar situation. This time, it involved a sturdy football player ordering Superman ice cream. As I pondered these events, I realized that these people were able to express themselves through their ice cream choices in a way that no other medium allowed them to. Honestly, no one is going to tease you for the rest of your life just because you ordered an odd flavor of ice cream. It’s a small, easy way to show your true self, which could, in turn lead to bigger and bigger steps of self expression.
Second, ice cream brings people together. Most of the people who purchased ice cream were either with old friends, or were there to meet new ones. Often, groups waiting in line were there to celebrate something: a birthday, a softball victory, a wonderful evening, etc. Although the arrival of large groups caused a genuine panic among the ice cream staff, it supplied everyone involved with fun and satisfaction. Going out for ice cream provides the ideal environment for a group event because it involves a treat that most people enjoy. In addition, it also has the perfect combination of eating and talking. When a lull in conversation occurs, everyone can focus on the consumption of their ice cream, rather than the awkward silence.
I believe that, if we use ice cream’s power correctly, great things can be accomplished: people can learn to express themselves, and new friendships can be made. Who knows? You may meet the love of your life the next time you go out for ice cream.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.