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Support Your Local Ice Cream Truck!

These days, if you hear the telltale tinkling of calliope music as you stroll down the street you should feel morally obligated to run – <em>run</em> – until you spot your local ice cream truck and overpay for that delicious push-pop, because this sweet summertime service is dying out and needs our help. To better stoke the coals of empathy, we thought it best to explain why this beautiful and iconic flavor wagon is going the way of the dinosaur. Internalize the pain, and then shake out a few bucks to keep the Drumstick dream alive. <strong>Reason #1. Kids don’t play outside anymore. </strong> We checked the data, and it appears that kids today are 84 times more likely to buy virtual ice cream with digital currency in a game on their smartphones than from a live person selling it on the street. Heartbreaking. <strong>Reason #2. Ice cream treats are cheaper pretty much everywhere else.</strong> Why pay two bucks for an ice cream sandwich when you can get a whole box for four? This is the kind of logic that is driving ice cream trucks straight into the dustbin of history. And, that’s valid. Times are tough and frozen goody delivery is often the first thing to be trimmed from the budget, if it was ever even part of it. But, it also seems a small price to pay for having someone bring an ice-cold Klondike Bar to the end of your drive. <strong>Reason #3. Ice cream trucks (and their drivers) get a really, really bad rap.</strong> Setting aside the <a title="NPR" href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/05/11/310708342/recall-that-ice-cream-truck-song-we-have-unpleasant-news-for-you" target="_blank">nefarious origins</a> of the music that once defined the fondest of childhood memories, ice cream trucks have been thoroughly pilloried by pop culture and the media. Just a short list of films that have featured ice cream trucks in the most awful light ever include: <em>The Iceman</em> (vehicle and “storage unit” for a hitman), <em>Killer Clowns from Outer Space</em> (vehicle of choice for the title characters), <em>Friday</em> (front for a drug dealer), <em>Chill Factor</em> (<em>Speed</em> in an ice cream truck) and, the absolute worst of all, <em>Act of Valor</em> – a jingoistic nightmare in which a terrorist blows up an … well, we don’t even want to say it. <strong>Reason #4. Parents are pretty much okay with Reason #1 thanks in large part to Reasons #2 and #3.</strong> Given the added expense and negative press, it’s not surprising that parents are of the take-it-or-leave-it attitude when it comes to frozen novelty items hawked out of a van. In fact, suffering through just one of the above films would be enough to send both parent <em>and</em> child fleeing in the other direction at the mere sight of an ice cream truck on approach. But, it’s time to debunk the myths and enjoy the nostalgia while it lasts. A lot of us thought that things like drive-ins and books would be around forever, and look what happened to them. Go out and enjoy that Bomb Pop while you still can – it’s summertime!
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