By: John Harris

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Everything Wrong With America Can Be Blamed On The Couple Standing Behind Me In Line For Ice Cream This Past Saturday

Op-Ed Contributor John Harris

No one is going to deny it ‘ there are a lot of problems in this country. And while we can all agree that so much is wrong with America today, it is seemingly impossible to pinpoint the source of all these problems. That is, until now.

Ladies and gentleman, I have discovered the fount from which all the ills of our great nation spring forth. It is the awful, awful couple who were standing directly behind me in line for ice cream this past Saturday.

Before we go any further, I ‘d like to explain that everything I ‘m about to describe this couple having done is absolutely, 100% true.

To set the scene: It was around 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening and I was at Blue Marble Ice Cream in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn (I much prefer the high-quality simplicity of Blue Marble to the nearby Ample Hills, whose massive selection I find unnecessary and whose flavors I believe to be cloying and ‘too jazzy”). It being one of the first nice days of the year, the line for ice cream was quite long and slow, due in large part to children being involved, and because these children wished to sample flavors before selecting the ice cream they wanted. This was all very much to be expected, and while I was a bit impatient to get my pint of plain vanilla ice cream (seriously, Ample Hills, you can fuck right off with your ‘Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake”), I was perfectly content to wait my turn.*

However, seconds after I stepped in line, the couple in question got in line behind me. Since it is incumbent upon me to explain why this couple is ruining America, I will now present a point-by-point breakdown, illustrating each relevant issue with the thing the couple said that makes them completely responsible for this problem:

  • The Widening Wealth Gap: To understand why this couple is the root cause of this national malady, I must first explain that they cut the figure of the prototypical bourgeois mid-Brooklynites, with the man looking like a homelier version of a Trunk Club ad and the woman being a whiny pile of on-trend accoutrement, including a letterman jacket, Doc Martens, and a pom-pom topped winter hat. With complaints (which started quite literally the minute they got in line) that included, ‘I can ‘t believe it takes someone this long to scoop ice cream,” they betrayed the privilege of people who have never once worked a minimum wage job and simultaneously pushed us all one step closer to total class warfare.
  • Institutional Racism: At one point, the man asked in a sneering tone, ‘I wonder what kind of jimmies they have here,” to which the woman replied, laughingly, ‘You shouldn ‘t say jimmies!” to which he casually responded, ‘Well, I ‘m saying it.” To clarify, there is a misconception that referring to chocolate ice cream sprinkles as ‘jimmies” is a racist reference to Jim Crow laws from the first half of the 20th century. While there is no evidence to support the notion that the word jimmies is in fact racist, this couple obviously believed what they were saying was racist, making the non-racist thing they said actually racist. Compounding this was the fact that they believed themselves to be in possession of an advanced, edgy, ironic, and not-at-all racist sense of humor, which is way more tiresome than someone just being openly racist. But to get back to the point, all the racial tension and rampant inequality that still plagues America can be traced directly back to this man and woman who were ruining my day.
  • Climate Change: These people are alive and making carbon dioxide. Are they making all the carbon dioxide that ‘s heating our planet to a catastrophic degree? Yes. Without a doubt.
  • Our Failing Education System: In perhaps their most reprehensible act, the couple ridiculed an 11-year-old girl who mispronounced ‘sorbet,” with the man and woman sarcastically agreeing that ‘she ‘s old enough to know better.” Again, this clearly fell under that same ironic, wearisome brand of ‘I ‘m saying horrible things that I don ‘t actually believe because it ‘s shocking and funny” sense of humor, and it suddenly became very clear that these people were unable to relate to the world or to one another without the filter of detached, faux cruelty, which is actually very sad. However,though you may be tempted to feel sympathy for them because they ‘ll never really connect with each other or with another person in a meaningful way, just remember that by not giving the little girl the chance to learn and grow, and by blaming the child for her shortcomings instead of blaming the broken system, these two people are unequivocally the single factor responsible for standing in the way of real, comprehensive education reform.
  • Everything Else: Because fuck these people. Just fuck them.

*I did lose my patience at one point, because the man ahead of me asked the frazzled woman working the counter, ‘How big is a pint?” to which she replied, ‘It ‘s a pint.” This resulted in a weird mini Abbott & Costello routine, where he said, ‘Yeah, but how big is that?” and she kept saying, ‘It ‘s a pint. A pint is just a pint.” I mean, what did the guy want, for her to convert it to metric or something? It ‘s a pint ‘ a pint is a fucking pint.

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