Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ice Cream Truck Days, No More!

[ICT #016 rounds third and heads for home]

The content at Words Matter, and before that, my blog at the original WriteforYou site (courtesy of my first web developer, Chris Dunn and Techmaster) has been a total Jim Baumer production, save for a very occasional "cut and paste" job from some other publication, or even rarer, a book excerpt. Actually, I included a very humorous email that my wife, Mary, wrote, once.

Of late, despite an earlier vow to get away from the ponderous, self-important essays and rants I find myself given to when I blog, I've found myself drifting toward the pull of political issues, once more. I guess we must be getting close to an election, eh?

As a way of providing some comic relief, I've decided to include an essay from a young writer I'm extremely proud of and have high hopes for. After having spent many afternoons and nights over the past 14 or so years exuding pride and admiration for my son's skills at both hitting and catching a baseball, I now turn my esteem towards another area of skill that he has--his writing.

Without any further ado, I give you, Mark Baumer.

The Ice Cream Truck Movie
by, Mark Baumer

The movie is called Ice Cream 6-28-2006. It is an Everyday Yeah Production in association with Baumerworld Projects. The official name for the movie is, Ice Cream Truck: signs of the time when tomorrow is a new day and the glory is ending.

The movie starts with a short monologue, “I am Mark Baumer and today is the last day of Ice Cream Truck.”

As you can guess the movie is about my last day driving an ice cream truck. I was saying goodbye. The movie documents the highlights of the day.

The footage then cuts to me on my way to work driving in my 1984 Pontiac Parisienne. It was an overcast day. It was tough knowing that today would be my last day and that I wouldn’t be coming back. I had already severed any ties I had left with the business after 1 ½ summers manning the wheel of the ice cream trucks. Just three days earlier I had broken the news that today would be my last day. The managers were upset that I had given them such short notice.

I was working in Brunswick, Maine that day. I wasn’t expecting big numbers, cash wise, because it was misting out, but I didn’t really care about the weather at that point. The ride from South Portland to Brunswick was usually a long one, 45 minutes to an hour. So I took the opportunity to grab a snow cone, kick back and enjoy the ride. The footage shown while I eat the snow cone is interesting because not only am I eating the snow cone, but I’m talking about the experience. On top of that I’m driving the ice cream truck which means I was handling four activities at once: I was driving, eating a snow cone, talking about eating a snow cone and filming myself as I talked about eating a snow cone.

About this time, I let the audience know that it was quarter to 11, that’s AM. I took a bite of the snow cone and you can hear the scrape and crunch as my teeth dig into the frozen flavored ice.

Flash to the next clip where I’m telling the audience that I’m finished with my snow cone.

Let’s take a little more time to talk about snow cones. The snow cone from the movie was very tasty. I was used to the kind of snow cone that is enjoyable to eat. I believe this snow cone was a Blue Bunny product, an American Ice Cream brand of the highest class. This snow cone was more than just lightly flavored ice. There was a spark of flavor in each bite.

The snow cone that I had during a recent visit to Minnesota, on the other hand, was very disappointing; I would venture to say that it was the biggest disappointment of my life. There was no taste to it. The flavor of frozen water overpowered the taste of artificial flavoring, if that’s possible. It was like eating ice cubes dipped in highly diluted kool-aid. I almost wonder if any artificial flavoring was even added. I wouldn’t be surprised if only artificial coloring was added. In any case, I recommend staying away from snow cones if you ever visit Minnesota.

Let’s get back to the movie. There is a nice scene where footage of me whistling runs into video and sounds of a guy weedwacking. We are still on the road to Brunswick. On this road to Brunswick we cross a giant wooden Indian located on the Freeport/Yarmouth border. Footage of this Indian is coupled with the following commentary, “Look at this giant Indian coming up. It’s so big. Big Indian. Imagine if all Indians were that big; we would have never conquered them. They would have just eaten us when we came to this country.” The movie isn’t lying. The Indian is very big. It stands over 30 feet tall; a force to be reckoned with for any pilgrim or conqueror.

As the ice cream truck drives through the town of Freeport screams can be heard. The footage shows people startled as they see the passing ice cream truck and here the driver yell, “Just in case you do not know what I am doing; I am driving an ice cream truck!” I think these people like me. They like me a lot. People like ice cream. They must like me. Their expressions tell the whole story.

In the Brunswick area rain falls. Puddles are shown filling up and the windshield wipers whip back and forth on the truck’s windshield. It would be a short day. I would soon get a call from my manager to return to the office. A half day on my last day wouldn’t leave me complaining. I would only end up making $40 for the day, but it would be more than some drivers ended up pulling in.

As the rain fell, and before I got the call to come back to the office, I decided to pull over and do a little taste testing on camera. I started with the Strawberry Burst Big Dipper. 12 grams of fat, 230 calories, 37 grams of carbs, and three grams of protein. After one bite I turned away from the camera and claimed it tasted awful. That’s what you call acting. It actually didn’t taste that bad. I was playing it up for the camera and no one in the audience knew, until now. I drove home the point of the awful taste by spitting the mouthful of strawberry burst into the wrapper before throwing it away in a trash can located off camera.

Next was a little cotton candy action: The cotton candy bar. I expected this to be soft and fluffy like actual cotton candy, but as the footage shows I almost broke my tooth biting into the bar. I was disappointed that none of these ice creams allowed me to connect with my inner child.

Bugs bunny followed. I bit off the ears of the cartoon legend. Note about bugs: his gumball eyes make him look like an alien. “Are you from Mars?”

Bugs actually tasted good, a swirl of mixed berry and orange sherbet. The maximum number of these ice creams I could eat in ten minutes would be eight unless one-million dollars was riding on those ten minutes then I could eat 15.

Spongebob Squarepants the ice cream was the second biggest disappointment of my life next to the snow cones in Minnesota. His gumball eyes made him look scared. None of these ice creams look happy to be eaten. I think that’s why kids are so violent these days. Don’t ask me why I think this, it’s just a hunch. Spongebob, though, was the worst tasting ice cream by far. You can see this on the video as my eyes change from playful to disgust as I take my first bite. I find it hard to believe little kids would want to eat this bland flavored cartoon. Maybe the developing team was confused and didn’t realize Spongebob wasn’t suppose to taste like a sponge.

King Kong was last the last ice cream I tried. He was just a big blueberry tasting gorilla face and no more.

A quick note about these ice creams: none of them are garglable (if that’s a word). What I mean is, you can’t gargle with these ice creams. So it’s not worth trying to gargle with these ice creams after you brush your teeth.

The next section in the movie is a religious chant or trance of sorts as I find myself yelling, “Ice cream trucks go where they want,” a dozen or so times.

This leads to me telling the camera, “I’m furious right now because I don’t think you understand that ice cream trucks go where they want!”

This fades to a somber moment as the yelling runs into a Nelly Furtado song, “All Good Things” and the dedication of the movie is shown, “In memory to all ice cream trucks put to rest in fields around the world.”

A poorly constructed photo montage ends the movie as the music continues playing. Pictures of the ice cream truck are shown in various locations: in a graveyard, next to a giant American flag painted on a grocery store, on a baseball field, next to dump trucks and trains, in nature, and at a church among other things. These photos close out the movie.

Thank you ice cream truck # 016.

As the music fades and the last picture is shown the following words are spoken, “Ice cream trucks, they do what they want. They can be called people too.” And that’s the ice cream movie. Don’t expect a sequel.


The MIllers said...

It's nice to know that you are as crazy as ever. Don't ever change.
Michael says hello.

Jim said...

Still crazy....after all these years!

Greetings back at you, Millers.

Jonathan Braden said...

I finally got to watch Mark's film - a true triumph in the Ice Cream Truck Drama category! I laughed for at least 20% of the duration of the movie! Nice work Mark!

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