Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," coming to you today with much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Well, not exactly. I don't know how to gnash my teeth. Do you know how to do it? Post a YouTube! It's a talent I wish I had.
Readers of yesteryear will remember that our local ice cream man was not, in fact, a man but a bored god related by blood ties to Adonis. At least it seemed that way. The dude was so doggone handsome that the stars in the sky developed a taste for soft serve. The very sound of his annoying truck ditty would bring every female on the block sprinting from her home, digging into the folds of her sweatpants for quarters while taming the wild wisps of her bangs with trembling fingers.
You think I'm kidding. I'm not. All three of us -- Heir, Spare, and me -- would fight to be the first one out the door to see the ice cream man. My sister came to visit for a day. She saw him. She's talked of nothing since. Pinky swear on my mama's grave amongst the Confederate Dead: That ice cream man was the best-looking male human on the planet.
I say was. I should say is. He hasn't died. He has just become the victim of modesty.
I'm trying to imagine how this individual could get up and look in the mirror every day and say, "Damn, I'm not a bad looking dude. Maybe that's why I sell so much ice cream in the summertime."
Instead, the guy quit his day job, bought five Mister Softee ice cream trucks, and is now managing them.
Spare and I found this out the hard way yesterday, when we heard the ice cream truck ditty and sprinted for the curb. We shaded our hands from the sun's glare ... was it our man? Slowly, slowly the truck advanced.
It wasn't our man. It was a different man. An ordinary mortal who wasn't even very good at dishing out ice cream. I bought one small, for the Spare. If it had been our former Adonis of the Ice Cream World, I would have bought one for Spare, one for myself, and tipped him a buck or two. (Yes, I did that. Many times. You had to be there to understand.)
Over the past few summers, I bought and drank quite a few milkshakes. These are not good for the waistline. But I never bought them because I like soft serve from an ice cream truck. I bought them for that moment when I could ogle the ice cream dude.
Now that the opportunity to ogle has passed, so has my taste for milkshakes. Heir and Spare feel the same way. I bet many of the dude's former customers have similar cases of Adonis withdrawal that they are not medicating with truck-dispensed soft serve.
The sad thing is that this promising young entrepreneur entered into a business venture without taking into consideration that it wasn't the product he was selling that was making him rich -- it was the seller. There are four ice cream parlors in Snobville, and all four of them have better ice cream than you get from a truck.
One man's lack of vanity has been his undoing. Damn! He should have handed out anonymous customer surveys before quitting a day job and buying into a subpar franchise!
Do you think, when the profits plunge and he's earning less from five trucks driven by others than he did from one he drove himself, he'll finally look in the mirror and say, "I'm not a bad-looking dude. Maybe people bought ice cream from me just to see me!"
Modesty: refreshing or ruinous? You make the call.