sprinklesI had an interesting experience with the nature of choice the other day.  I was driving along, and got a hankering for a milkshake, as one does when the weather is ludicrously, unreasonably hot.  I stopped at one of those roadside ice cream stands, and after a good long wait in line, ordered my shake.  While I waited for it to be shook (shaken?) I happened to hear the man behind me in line ask what sort of sprinkles they had.  Now, the person behind the counter answered, naturally enough, “chocolate and rainbow”, and the man decided that he didn’t want sprinkles on his ice cream after all.

So.  What did he expect his flavor options would be?  Given that chocolate and rainbow are the two, and only two, flavors that every single ice cream stand in the United States has.  Also, they both basically taste like corn syrup – chocolate sprinkles have just a hint of cocoa flavor to them, and the rainbow sort have just a bit of the flavor of visible light that has been refracted into its component wavelengths, but only a bit.  Oh, I suppose it is possible that ice cream sprinkles exist out there that are not chocolate or rainbow, and possibly even have a real flavor, but surely anyplace that sells them would advertise their dulce de leche or basil sprinkles with prominent signs, making a real selling point of it.

So, clearly, this man was not truly expecting some particular kind of gourmet sprinkles.  No, I think the whole exchange speaks to a deep yearning for that which is barely understood, that which can barely even be.  For how else to find this ineffable something, this  wondrous magic, than to ask after it whenever a choice presents itself?  So you keep asking, you magnificent bastard.  Keep looking for those sprinkles.

Now, that being said, what is up with the white sprinkles?  Clearly, white sprinkles are the precise opposite of rainbow sprinkles – rainbows are what happens when white light gets split.  So let’s have no more of that.


~ by smwilliams on July 16, 2013.

8 Responses to “Choices”

  1. Ah, my dear, but you are ignoring another aspect of every culinary experience – presentation! Some folks like blue sprinkles on their chocolate ice cream. Or they may want their sprinkles to match their ice cream. Or there really is a difference in taste and you can’t taste it. o_O

    • Okay, maybe this guy just wanted blue sprinkles on his chocolate ice cream, and he was too lazy to pick them out of the rainbow ones, but if so, did he really expect them to have that for sale? I doubt it. And anyway, I defy anyone to taste wavelengths much beyond 600 nanometers on rainbow sprinkles. Sure, you can taste 400-500 nanometers, and maybe a bit past, but not the whole visible spectrum.

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  3. I’m going with your theory. He is searching for something that cannot be found, and a quest for meaning that so many of us feel, and that most of us do assuage on a regular basis with ice cream and its limited toppings.
    I feel bad for him, because I imagine him going through the rest of his day with that disappointing feeling that he can’t quite place. He probably spent the night scoring Netflix and never finding the movie he wanted to watch.

    • Yes, you’d expect a trip to an ice cream stand on a hot July night to be fun, but when you factor in the existential angst it really is quite melancholic. He might have been better off buying a six-pack of ice cream sandwiches at a convenience store and eating them at home while sitting in a darkened room in his underwear, rather than confronting the nagging hole in the fabric of his life.

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