Don’t want politics? How about ice cream?

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

by Eric Sorensen

This is the conversation I imagine having with my boy, who doesn’t much care for Canadian politics, but has a big interest in ice cream.

Dad (Eric): Here it is, Son, the ice cream cafeteria I wanted to show you. A hundred people in here, and all they serve is ice cream.

Son: Fantastic, Dad. What flavours?

D: Several. But it works this way. Once a year, everyone in the cafeteria votes for their favorite flavor. And only the flavor that gets the most votes is served.

S: For the whole year?

D: Yup. All butterscotch, all the time.

S: Oh man, what a drag.

D: You think? They’ve been eating butterscotch ripple for five years now.

S: But why – there are lots of people here who prefer chocolate and strawberry. Together, more people like chocolate and strawberry than butterscotch!

D: Well, sure, if they all voted ‘strawcolate.’ But you know chocolate lovers. They can’t believe everyone doesn’t love chocolate. Once upon a time, they had the whole room eating chocolate, year after year. They’re kind of waiting for everybody to come to their senses and vote for chocolate again.

S: What about strawberry?

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D: Well, you gotta admire how much they believe in strawberry ice cream. But it drives the chocolate guys crazy – you hear them telling the strawberry gang, “Look, there’s little more than a dozen of you in here. This cafeteria has never voted for strawberry. Can’t you take a hint? Most people don’t like strawberry ice cream.”

S: So we get butterscotch, year after year.

D: Yup. The thing is, people who like strawberry detest butterscotch. But they can’t bring themselves to vote for chocolate – even if they like chocolate a little bit. They find the whole “chocolate-is-the-best-flavor-ever” just so irritating.

S: Wait a second, Dad. What about that group over in the corner by itself?

D: Ahh, the vanilla lovers.

S: Vanilla? Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate!

D: Not so fast, son. I know where you’re going with this.

S: Neapolitan! Why can’t they vote for neapolitan?

D: Because…

S: Because they’d easily be the majority in here…way more than butterscotch.

D: I’m sorry, Son. It’s just not that simple. You see, it’s not ordinary vanilla. It’s…French vanilla.

S: Say what?

D: French vanilla. They’re very particular about that. In fact, they’re so sure the cafeteria will never accommodate French vanilla, they’re planning to leave and build their own cafeteria.

S: Ha! Good luck with that.

D: Hey kid, don’t make light of that. If you don’t take people’s passion for French vanilla seriously, one day we’ll wake up and all the French vanilla lovers will be gone.

S: I just saw some of the butterscotch guys throwing plastic spoons at them, telling them to stay or go, but make up their mind, for cryin’ out loud.

D: Well, you know, there’s a little vanilla in a lot of flavours, so not everyone here understands why having their own ice cream in their own ice cream parlour is soooo important.

S: Hmmmm… It would be weird if not one person in here liked vanilla.

D: No question. And part of the charm of this place is when the plastic spoons start flying. “I don’t want vanilla ice cream shoved down my throat!” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

Photos by Frank Gunn, Andrew Vaughan and Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press.

S: You know, Dad, I did a rough count, and there aren’t quite a hundred people in here.

D: Good eye, son. About half a dozen decided none of these flavours was good enough. They’ve pushed all in on kiwi-flavored ice cream.

S: Are you putting me on? You mean that green ice cream?

D: Yup. It’s full of ingredients that are good for you. And they may be onto something, but honestly, who wants ice cream that’s healthy? I mean they just don’t get it.

S: And what about strawberry ice cream? Strawberries are good for you.

D: Yes, strawberry ice cream lovers make that very point. Over and over. And over.

S: What about in Europe. I hear they have ice cream parlours that serve all kinds of flavors.

D: Yes, they have P.I.R. Proportional ice cream representation. We’re not ready for that. The butterscotch and chocolate eaters have no interest in letting fringe flavors horn in on their alternating ice cream monopoly.

S: So butterscotch is going to win again this year?

D: Looks that way. And they’re coaxing a few chocolate fans to give butterscotch a try. If they end up with more than half the votes in here, guess what, they can start adding toppings.

S: Toppings? What kind of topping would they put on butterscotch ripple?

D: Tons more butterscotch. And everyone has to eat it.

Eric is Global National’s Washington bureau chief, and spent years covering Canadian politics. His son is 20-year-old Dana. Dana’s ice cream of choice is Rocky Road. Eric adds, “Of course, he wasn’t allowed to choose his own ice cream ’til he turned 18.”

Follow Eric on Twitter: @EricSorensenDC.

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