5 Reasons Being an Ice Cream Man is Shockingly Hard Core
Whimsical music tinkling out of a shitty loudspeaker signals the arrival of both summer and the only stranger in a van we trust: the ice cream man. We all know the consumer experience of roadside ice cream procurement: you sprint out into the street entirely oblivious to traffic, pick a brick of cold sugar with a stupid name, then do some quick, terrible math and slap your allowance down on that sticky windowsill.
But we wanted the inside "scoop" (Editor's Note: The person who wrote that joke has been fired ... out of a cannon) on what life is like as the person inside that brightly colored van full of childhood obesity. So we sat down with two veteran ice cream men. Here's what they told us:
We Fuck in the Vans
Is there any vehicle more powerfully erotic than an ice cream truck?
Basically all of them.
"I don't look like much now, but I hosted the world's largest clown orgy back in '98."
And yet, we were assured that there are plenty of ice cream men (and women) constantly boning in those vans.
J: "I was young and kind of stupid at the time. ... We got up to crazy shit in the vans. It got as far as sex. We'd drive off into the country roads, to the side -- it was kind of nuts. You've got 20 to 30 young kids, and it's summer, and we're making good money, and we partied really hard. Frankly, it was a fun job, and I'd recommend it to anyone."
M: "I had relations in the truck. It was with an ice cream trainee -- she was looking for a job, and ... I pulled over to an area, knowing the neighborhood at that point ... y'know. You kinda just board up your ice cream window and hope no one thinks it's weird there's an ice cream truck near an abandoned cul-de-sac."
No woman can resist the exotic majesty of the ruins of South Riverbrook.
The man's logic is sound: If we came across an ice cream truck parked on a dead-end street, rocking from side to side and emitting occasional moans, consensual adult sex is the least weird thing we would assume.
"And that's why you never order the creamsicle."
We Also Pee in the Vans
We know it's a little disconcerting to think that the ice cream man might be slipping your mom the old rocket pop on his break. And doubly so when you consider that an ice cream truck doesn't typically have running water, so he can't even wash his hands after. Speaking of that:
J: "We would do things like go to fairs, events; there was a dog show I went to -- and I couldn't go to the bathroom all day. You're in this enclosed van in a field. There's a lineup of 50 to 100 people for hours on end on a hot day. You just have to hold it."
Which should explain why the guy scooping ice cream met you with a look
of grim, teeth-gritting determination.
Not everyone has a bladder of unyielding iron, though: M had co-workers who would store their extra pee in Gatorade bottles during the busiest parts of the day, including, he told us, one who left a bottle of urine in the freezer overnight.
Probably best to stay away from the lemon flavor, just in case.
We See a Lot of Kids Get Hit by Cars
We weren't kidding in the intro when we mentioned children sprinting into the street, too excited by the prospect of ice cream to consider the value of their own lives.
J: "I've seen a bunch of kids get hit by cars. You stop by the side of the road and kids start running ... two separate instances of kids smoked by cars. They got knocked down and both times keep running right to the van. I called the cops both times -- the person who hit them was freaked out. The kid seemed fine, but the owner required we file an incident report every time. But it was the damnedest thing -- neither kid was very hurt. They were just worried they wouldn't get ice cream."
"Bury me ... with ... a ChocoBomb ..."
You put ice cream on the line and kids stop giving a damn about traffic laws. Some children just can't let the magical moment go after the exchange of goods for currency, so they try to hitch rides on the ice cream truck. Presumably assuming the ice cream man drives back to Candy Land once his shift is done.
M: "A lot of kids thought it was cool to ride the bumper of your ice cream truck, and because it's like a huge UPS truck, you don't really see what's on the back. So what I'd do, usually as I'm pulling away, I hit the brakes as hard as I can to topple them off."
It's just not summer vacation until someone breaks an arm.
Yes, children are made of rubber and healing magic, but the elderly are made of the opposite of both of those things. Glass and gypsy curses, we suppose.
J: " actually backed into an old lady and killed her -- totally messed him up. When you drive 10 to 15 hours a day, you see stupid stuff."
Damn, you came here for cute ice cream stories and you're getting straight perversion and negligent homicide. And it somehow gets even more hardcore from here ...
Some of Us Sell Drugs out of the Van
We're going to assume that the vast majority of ice cream men and women are perfectly decent, reasonably law-abiding people who only occasionally short-brake children into the street. But a sizable minority of the profession have no qualms about selling drugs on the side:
J: "A bunch of people asked if I bought and sold drugs. There was one particular route where I'd sell ice cream to drug dealers, street-level. I got pulled over by the cops one time because they thought I was doing drug-running. They impounded my van for the afternoon. Searched it, searched me. And apparently that's a thing. From what I gather from the questions, it's a thing ... and it makes sense. You can drive around whenever you want as an ice cream man."
Needless to say, none of the Drumsticks ever made it out of impound.
We weren't able to dig up any broad longitudinal studies on the frequency of drug-dealing among purveyors of frosted treats. Plus the guy who understands statistics is on vacation this week and also never existed in the first place. But a few seconds on Google was enough to confirm that some Good Humor men have a little too much good humor:
But not one result for "drug dealer caught selling ice cream"? That's a downer.
M: "I was approached several times. 'I know you've got ice cream, but do you have anything else?' I knew people who did sell illicit drugs out of their trucks. As long as you keep it well hidden, no one's going to stop you."
Yes, apparently ice cream is a gateway treat. When Choco Tacos no longer make the world a brighter place, you find the only dealer you know -- the ice cream man -- and you ask him for a little something stronger.
We Are Under Constant Threat of Violence
All cash-in-hand businesses (like ice cream salesmen) are magnets for crime:
M: "I was robbed fairly often.
"It's most commonly a group of teens ordering something, then ditching without payment. ... The register is by the serving window. So, often, while you're getting their food, they grab the money from the register and just bolt. I tried to confront them once, which is bad because then you're in an IC truck chasing teenagers, which does not look good. My truck was bombarded with water balloons the next day."
Not the best strategy against a guy who may be packing a bottle of frozen urine.
So, the next time you see an ice cream van weaving erratically across your street, desperately trying to run down some children, don't call the cops; he may just be trying to distribute some vigilante justice.
Wait, scratch that. Absolutely do call the cops: that's still super messed up.
"Yes, officer -- a killer ice cream van! Does he have any Rocket Pops?
If I could be eating a Rocket Pop right now, would I be talking to you?"
But the ice cream man's worst enemy isn't teenagers, or even early-onset diabetes. It's other ice cream men.
J: "When you have drivers in the same territory, it gets nasty. There was one guy, we kept bumping into each other. This guy owned his van, it was his territory, and he'd threaten me. I tried to laugh it off, until one day him and one of his friends parked near me, pulled a shotgun on me, and threatened to kill me if I came back. That was a bit shocking and scary to me.
"I worked in the U.K., and in Glasgow in the '80s, people were killed. They'd have Molotovs thrown in their van. A lot of money is at stake."
Presumably while shouting some kind of "Baked Alaska"-themed one-liner.
Wait, what? When we first asked ice cream men about the dark side of their business, we thought, at worst, we'd learn all the terrible things people will do for a Klondike Bar. We never imagined one of those things was "burn another human being alive." But it's true: The Ice Cream Wars were a reality. And yes, that is the official name for the bout of violence that erupted in Glasgow in the early 1980s. It had more to do with that whole "ice cream as drug-running" thing than man's insatiable appetite for Otter Pops. But still, the main players in a violent conflict that lasted years and led to the deaths of six innocent people (all of whom were burned to death) were all motherfucking ice cream men.
"Underneath that, I want it to say 'Chocolate or Vanilla: Born Killa.'"
But while the violence in Glasgow died out by the mid-'80s, tensions between rival ice cream men can still get violently high:
"If someone pulls you over on a countryside road, beats the shit out of you, burns your van -- you're on your own."
So, there you go. The next time you hear that sweet jingle rolling down your street, maybe you'll just lock your doors and hide behind the couch.
Haha, no you won't!
Dude's got ice cream. Bring a helmet.
Robert Evans has a Twitter, for some reason. Follow him here.
For more insider perspectives, check out 6 Realities of the Secret World of Paid TV Audience Members and 6 Ways You See the World Differently When You Can Hear Color.
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