Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Turns Out There Are Stupid Questions

Who knew there would come a day when I'd get an idea for an entry from a piece of spam from someone known as Ice Cream Survey? Subject: Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs? The spam's timing was perfect, as I've been wracking my brain all weekend trying to come up with something to write about. By Sunday night, I had not a clue and was officially beginning to panic.

So. Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs? Is this spammer crazy?

Ben & Jerry's is the only answer. Who would pick Haagen Dazs? I don't even know anyone who eats Haagen Dazs unless it's on sale or the only thing left of Ben & Jerry's is a stale pint of Chunky Monkey at the back of the freezer.

I don't remember when Ben & Jerry's came into my life. I don't remember Starbucks, either. It seems like they've both always been there for me when I needed them, be it after an all-nighter, suffering a bad bout of PMS or being dumped. The destruction of many an ex-boyfriend has been plotted over a pint.

I do remember the first Ben & Jerry's store I ever saw: downtown San Jose, August 1993. It was just before the fall semester had started, and Trish and I were out driving. When we saw the store under construction, we both screamed with joy. Our priorities were clearly straight. Since it was right near campus, we checked daily until it opened. When it finally did, we went constantly. For my birthday that year, she and George gave me a Cherry Garcia cake, which to this very day is still the best damn cake I have ever had. You just try and top ice cream, tons of frosting and a brownie base. Just try.

Eventually we scaled back on our visits when we realized that we could get an entire pint for the cost of a measly little scoop at the store. It was less fun, but definitely the better deal. There was a 7-Eleven right around the corner from our apartment. It wouldn't be exaggerating at all to say we walked over there an average of five times a week. It's a wonder we were able to pay our rent, let alone continue to fit in our clothes. The cashier called Kim "Nacho Girl," because that's almost all she ever ate. Ice cream for Trish and I, nachos for Kim. I'm relieved to have not ever gotten a nickname, because that would have meant that I was hardcore, that maybe I was eating just a little too much Ben & Jerry's. As long as cashiers weren't calling me out about my ice cream habit, it wasn't so bad. I could stop anytime. I had it under control. I don't have a problem, man. You're the one with the problem.

Ice cream in hand, we'd walk home. Trish could wait to eat her ice cream. I couldn't. I'd peel off the top and sink my teeth right into the pint. I'd eat all around the edges and what I could grab of the middle, without resorting to sticking my entire face in the container, until we got home and I could get a spoon.

My all-time favorite flavors are a three-way tie: Cherry Garcia, Phish Food and Wavy Gravy. Wavy Gravy was discontinued several years ago, and I swear I found the last pint in existence about three years ago at a local grocery store. I grabbed it, valiantly resisted biting it in the car on the way home, got it in the freezer and waited. And waited. What if it's the last pint? Maybe I should save it? My will didn't hold out. I devoured it that evening and that's the last I saw of the damn thing.

Cherry Garcia is my default choice, especially if I'm feeling a little guilt about eating ice cream. Hey, cherries. They're good for you. If you see me with Phish Food, look the hell out. If you see me with Phish Food and a bottle of chocolate syrup, take cover immediately.

There you have it, Mr. Survey. Ben & Jerry's. Every freaking time.