I’ve had a lot of weird jobs, but a terrible memory, so it’s tough sometimes to look back on my experiences and take amusing stories from them. But I decided to have a bowl of ice cream for breakfast today, and we had a banana sitting there so I was like, “You know what? Banana milkshake, bitch.” But then I didn’t do that because the blender was all the way in the closet and our milk was expired, so I just chopped the banana up on top of the ice cream and it was pretty good times.
And then the swirling nature of bananas, milk and ice cream caused my brain to dig up this old memory. Buckle in dudes, this is some straight-up Wonder Years shit here.
I wasn’t always the godless heathen I am now. Back in high school I was actually pretty involved with my church, and especially with the youth group. When I wasn’t in school or at church, I was working at a local ice cream store a couple miles from where I lived. This was before I had a car, so I used to rollerblade to work every day. One day, as I was sitting outside the church strapping on my skates, one of my youth group leaders came strolling up, with several of my church friends in tow. She asked if I wanted a ride.
I accepted, not only because it was really hot and I kind of didn’t want to skate anywhere, but also because I really liked this lady and very desperately wanted to impress her. I thought an excellent way to do this would be to show off how hard-working and responsible I was. I was very proud of myself. I was absolutely beaming when I climbed into the back of her van with the other kids, and she said, “Hey, maybe we’ll all get ice cream while we’re there.”
So we get to my work, and I zip in the back to clock in and affix my official ice cream store apron. I distinctly recall this part: the aprons only got laundered once a month or so, and I spent what seemed like way too much time very carefully selecting the cleanest one. I clocked in, went out to the lobby, made a big show of grabbing my ice cream scoops and said, in the most nonchalant-I-am-totally-just-doing-my-job-and-not-trying-to-impress-anybody voice I could muster: “Okay, what can I getcha?”
She said, “I’d like a banana, and a glass of milk.”
I was devastated. It’s like, we didn’t have milk, and we didn’t really have bananas. I mean, we had bananas, but they were for mixing into ice cream, not for just selling to people. And I had to explain this to the nice church lady, with everyone standing there watching me. I told her I could sell her a banana for forty-nine cents (which should only have gotten her half a banana, but I was feeling pretty bad about the whole thing), but milk was outside of the realm of possibility.
She said, very politely, “That’s okay, I don’t want the banana if I can’t have milk.”
Then she took the kids and left. They didn’t get ice cream either.
I was understandably bummed after that. I felt like I had let her down, and that in doing so I had embarrassed myself in front of my friends. I was really mad at my boss for not selling milk and bananas. It really seemed to me that milk was a thing we should be selling. Ice cream is made of milk. Milkshakes have milk right there in the title. You can flavor milk with chocolate or strawberry syrup, and probably a bunch of other things we had on hand.
Looking back, though, with some real adult life experience etc., I’m just really mad at that nice church lady. I didn’t think about it at the time, but why wouldn’t she at least buy ice cream for the other kids? Those kids didn’t leave the store thinking, “Wow, what kind of shitty ice cream place does Brick work at? They don’t even have milk. Let’s walk away from here, and laugh at him forever.” They left thinking, “Hey, wait — weren’t we supposed to get ice cream? What happened to our ice cream? We didn’t want bananamilk. We wanted ice cream. Ice cream? Ice cream!”
The least she could have done would have been to accept the forty-nine cent banana. That way we both could have saved face.