The Ice Cream Nazi


"Desserts" spelled backwards is "stressed." Want some?

The masses don’t usually have bad moods when they enter the pink and yellow sunshine of a Baskin-Robbins.  In the city of Shaker Heights where the streets are named Yorkshire and Berkshire, running along the edge of the city like a river lies Chagrin Boulevard.  An apt name, for within the walls of a certain Baskin-Robbins there sort of stands a miserable ogre, whose singular goal, in single scoops, is not to peddle ice cream dreams but 31 flavors of sadness.

For this reason, we shall deem him The Ice Cream Nazi.

The Ice Cream Nazi should not be confused with Seinfeld’s fictional character known as “The Soup Nazi.”  The Ice Cream Nazi is not German or European at all.  Au contraire, his dark complexion is no rival for the hue of his soul.  But most of all, this character, to the public’s misfortune, is real.

The Ice Cream Nazi’s uniform consists of a navy blue shirt buttoned up to his hairy Adam’s Apple and a pair of navy blue Dockers.  His mitts are massive and frightening like cartoon creatures in cartoon towns as a consequence of hand-packing Arctic-hardened Chocolate Sludge and Rocky Road into tiny cones ten times too small for his ogre hands for twenty long years.

The ogre works alone.  Because he is old, he needs help.  Because he detests children, he will never trust or hire teens.  So afraid of shoveling an ounce too much of his legal brand of crack cocaine, he turns his entire backside to the customer as he pretends to pack more of the stuff into a pink Berry plastic container when, in actuality, ever so carefully, tediously, he hangs over the ice cream weighing it.  So while he knows how much stuff he’s peddling, you, the customer (like a paranoid addict), is left wondering, “Am I paying by weight?  Am I paying by volume?  Am I being cheated?”

It’s an unsettling feeling, a Halloween feeling, one of being tricked out of your treats.  Though you might want to kick something, you and the blue-haired lady peering at you from the disgust at him in her eyes know that we’re much too old for angry foot stomping in what’s supposed to be Happy Towne.

Once, an older woman made the mistake of smiling and appearing too happy in the presence of The Ice Cream Nazi.  Admiring the Mint Chocolate Chip and the Cherries Jubilee behind their smudged glass cases, The Ice Cream Nazi jerked her from her food fantasies, pointing and yelling, “The line forms over there!”  When the woman tipped over beside me, she whispered: “There’s only three of us in here.  You think he might forget who’s next?”  We giggled—but quietly—to keep from “getting in trouble.”  I mumbled back, “Don’t take it personally.  He’s like this all the time.”  Because The Ice Cream Nazi is slow, the line multiplied from 3 to 6 to 12 customers.  So she chatted that my Lemon Custard selection seemed delicious, an excellent choice, and I agreed wholeheartedly that, in fact, it was.

Then, on this same occasion, I remembered I failed to tell The Ice Cream Nazi that I was fiending for two hand-packed quarts, the Lemon Custard and the Berry Passionate Frozen Yogurt.  By some slant of the eye, The Ice Cream Nazi seemed to take in—in one full sweep—the curve of my smiling cheeks, my bosom, and perhaps my thighs and retorted: “Two?”  In that moment, hotter heads might have longed for a shade tree to cool their shame.  Naww, not me.  I thought, what crazy brand of dope dealer shows you the stuff only to guilt you out of buying it?!!

What ultimately forced me into Lemon Custard Rehab was when I returned to store #342419 in late September for another hand-packed quart.  With much regret and an elevated heart rate, I informed The Ice Cream Nazi: “There’s a speck of something in the Lemon Custard.”

“What?!!” he replied.

Oliver Twist-like, I summoned the audacity to repeat myself.  Finally, The Ice Cream Nazi came over and inspected the Lemon Custard, saying, “That’s some other ice cream in it.”  When The Ice Cream Nazi scraped around the foreign ice cream, whilst I looked, to avoid mixing it with the Lemon Custard, of course, the moment I glanced out the window, the Mocha mess disappeared from sight (and very likely into my Berry plastic container).

How silly of me to expect an Ice Cream Nazi to spoon-lift debris to purify product for me, a worthless customer.  If the ogre were decent, he would neither be an ogre nor a Nazi.  This was my third trip.  When The Ice Cream Nazi showed me his full backside, weighed my ice cream and then, leaning on the register, handed it over with a nasty grin and a “Have a nice day,” I knew that my “How was your visit?” complaint prior to my second trip had backfired, so to speak.

On the second trip, The Ice Cream Nazi had made awkward attempts at politeness.  And, he had even hand-packed the Lemon Custard without weighing it!!  What joy his uprightness brought me!!

That a kid had crapped his pants in the store should have been an omen.  Only someone as gullible as I would believe that a man with a crook in his back (probably “friendly” fire) could stand upright for long.

On a crisp day in September, I vowed to never again behave like the 69th victim of Bill Cosby by repeatedly returning to my abuser for a fix.  There were other shinier Baskin-Robbinses with happy customers who were allowed to touch the glass and bask in their food fantasies.  There were Baskin-Robbinses where you could gaze at the frozen ice cream cakes without fear of someone melting your smile.  At other Baskin-Robbinses, Disney toys, Ariel and the Radiator Springs crew, having wrecked, did not collect dust.  And no chairs were scattered in disarray like soldiers in revolt.

“Nope, no need to give up my dope,” I said.  “I just need to find a new dealer.”

Comment (1)

  1. Oh, I forgot to tell you!!! It’s safe to go back to store #342419! The “Ice Cream Nazi” is gone!!!! G. O. N. E. GONE!! Hallelujah, it’s safe to eat ice cream again!!!

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