“Cone or cup?” the friendly ice cream girl asked my 7-year-old son.
It seemed like an innocent question at the time. We had just walked into the large metropolitan-area arena, excited because it was our first time to see our favorite Division I basketball team in person.
I shrugged, looked down at my son who shrugged in return and said, “Cone, I guess.”
The attendant’s lips eerily turned up at the corners as she slowly turned to grab a cone from the stack on the counter.
It was one of those “I know something you don’t know” kinda grins that horror movies start with.
An uneasy feeling began to slither through my mind. That’s when I noticed the people around us were eating their ice cream in cups with a spoon.
There wasn’t a cone in sight.
That uneasy feeling began to turn into a full-on “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” alert status.
I turned back to the counter just in time to see the attendant reach for the lever and begin filling the small cone with ice cream.
And she kept filling it until the ice cream towered at least 8 or 10 inches over the top of the cone. Kinda like a Leaning Tower of Pisa in dairy form.
Uh, earth to ice cream girl. I think we’re good. You can stop now.
She noticed my expression of horror and laughed, “You’re new here, right? This is how we serve them.” Then she turned to my son, handed him the dangerously lop-sided cone and chuckled, “Here you go.”
I didn’t know what to say. That thing was unbelievable. It was tall enough to ride the roller coaster at the nearby amusement park.
Was that even legal? Was she some kind of sugar pusher? Did I need to find security?
Before I could do anything but marvel at the frozen concoction, my son brought the cone to his mouth, took a big lick and - you guessed it.
The tower of ice cream teetered perilously close to the edge of the cone then began an all-out slide to the side.
And before I could think about what I was doing, before my mind could override my body, my hand shot out toward the falling stack of ice cream and - SQUISHHHHH.
I caught it just before it fell completely off the cone.
I tried not to squeeze...but...you know...I squeezed.
The ice cream oozed through my fingers in a cold, squishy, drippy, icky mess of goo.
I looked around in desperation for a trash can and NOTHING. Not a single trash can anywhere. IN. THE. WORLD.
You have got to be kidding me.
I yelled at my son, “Napkins! For the love of God, find me some napkins!”
He stood there in horror, cone still clutched in his hand while I held onto all his ice cream.
It was obvious I wasn’t getting any help from him. Nor from the chuckling bystanders who waltzed by with their ice cream safely ensconced in cups.
Therein lies the answer to the “Cone or cup?” question. Son-of-a-biscuit.
“Come with me!” I hollered at my son. I whirled and ran back to the ice cream stand, reached over and grabbed about 300 napkins from the small holder on the counter.
About 100 of them fluttered to the floor around me in my desperation to keep the mess in my hand from reaching the floor.
Crud. They were soooo gonna kick me outta here before the game even started.
I attempted to reattach the tower of ice cream to the cone. I slowly brought the ice cream back over the top of the cone then not-so-delicately smooshed it down. Problem solved.
Ice cream began dripping down the sides, and I ordered my son, “Quick! Start licking!”
His jaw dropped. “But, Mom, your hand was all over my ice cream,” he wailed. “What about germs? Shouldn’t we get a new cone?”
“Are you crazy?!” I answered. I waved a dairy-soaked hand toward his cone from hell, ice cream dripping down my arm in sticky rivulets. “I paid $7 for that thing. You’re gonna eat it.”
I wrapped my non-gooey arm around his shoulders and said, “Now, let’s go find a corn dog.”