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National Editorials & Columns

We all scream for ice cream

After a few unsuccessful attempts in the last week, I finally got a really good look at the ice cream truck man the other day. Maybe I am being extra precautious or hyper-vigilant, but I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’ll be asked to pick him out of a photo line-up someday.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the near future I am standing out in my front lawn being interviewed by a newswoman about the infamous Ice Cream Kid Murders, which is what I envision the national media would dub the unfortunate incident. There I would be, standing on the sidewalk, wearing pajama pants with a cigarette dangling from my lips like every other slack-jawed yokel on the news.

“Well, he mostly kept to himself, but he seemed like a nice enough guy,” I would say. “It’s a shame about all those kids though.”

Christine and I enjoy taking huge walks around our tiny village. We walk around and try not to make eye contact with anyone, and when we absolutely must, issue forced hellos to fellow town inhabitants.

We were engaged in such activities recently when the ice cream truck man started slowly driving about 20 feet behind us.

No, not driving — creeping.

I don’t know if he was trying to drum up extra sales and mistook us for a couple of easy marks or if he was trying to intimidate me because he knows I am suspicious of him.

This whole incident was especially unnerving because he was playing his ghastly ice cream truck melody the whole time. It was blaring out of his short-circuiting PA system.

I am not sure what song it actually was. I’ve asked a number of people and the general consensus seems to be it’s just a haunting series of tones, intermixed with a voice randomly crying out, “Hello!”

To me its sounds more like an eerie cacophony of tormented souls screaming from beyond the gates of Hades.

The ice cream truck man will sometimes spend more than an hour driving through the village, which is pretty incredible because we only have three streets.

Of course, the dogs around here hate him, too.
He is essentially driving around in an enormous dog whistle with a lawn mower engine under the hood.

I could be a jerk and lodge a complaint against him with local government for violating the noise ordinance. Or village code that forbids solicitation or peddlers within village limits; we even have signs posted about it.

Eventually, Christine and I ducked down an alley and I turned around and got a really good look at him. I was looking directly at him. He was looking directly at me. It was a goosebump-inducing stare down, but I got a really good look at the ice cream truck man.

It would do the ice cream truck man a great injustice and disservice for me to try and describe his physical appearance. Because I have never known any man who sold ice cream treats from a cab of a retired mail Jeep who actually looked normal. In fact, being or looking abnormal is the only prerequisite for actually being an ice cream truck man as far as I can tell.

But this ice cream truck man looked like he was specifically bred for only one thing in life.

And that one thing is to never be allowed to sell ice cream to children.

The kids don’t seem to mind though, nor do their parents, who are quite susceptible to the predatory tactics and artificially-sweetened charm that he is known to employ.

The children in town are like rats and the ice cream truck man is the Pied Piper. They encircle his busted ride as the music is playing, shaking wads of paper money and barking out orders for ice cream from Kool-Aid-stained lips.

The ice cream truck man is happy to oblige.

Deep down he knows resistance is futile.

He knows that we all scream for ice cream — just not me.

To contact Will E Sanders email him at

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