Giles: Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry. I don't really know what to say. Um . . . I understand this sort of thing requires ice cream of some kind?
Buffy: Ice cream will come.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As an adult, I possess a powerful combination of things:
1. A regular source of income.
2. A car.
3. A credit card.
When I put all these things together, I come to one earth-shattering conclusion:
I can have ice cream WHENEVER I WANT.
There is nothing stopping me, any minute of any day, from going and buying ice cream and eating it. No authority figure is controlling the finances or the access. I am tall enough to reach the freezer. And I'm only a ten-minute drive away from Market Square, that shopping wonderland where you can get just about anything dirt-cheap as long as you don't ask any questions about where it came from.
Market Square gives out ice cream like Santa handing out presents. 99-cent pints of Ben and Jerry's, Dryer's last month's flavor of the month at two for three dollars, bashed-up tubs of Kroeger's vanilla at 50% off nearly all the time. I can sit at my work desk for two hours and collect all the finances I need to pack my freezer to the gills. (Do freezers have gills? They have something gill-like. It gets dust caught in it and stuff.) Of course, most of this ice cream has passed its expiration date, but who cares? Have you ever put a spoonful of ice cream in your mouth, sucked on it thoughtfully, spat it out and announced, "I feel like this ice cream's gone a little off. Maybe it's about time to throw this away and get a fresh one." I suppose the FDA has to stamp an expiration date on it just to make people feel that their tax dollars are being well-spent, but honestly, ice cream's ice cream. It's frozen, for pete's sake. What's it going to do? I've eaten and thoroughly enjoyed ice cream that had to be dug out of the back of the freezer with several pens and a lot of honest labor. It had probably been back there for years. Tasted fine. Ice crystals on it, of course, but that's all part of the charm.
However, it has been brought to my attention that eating ice cream six times a day for the foreseeable future is bad for me. There's some nutrient or other (maybe Vitamin B12. Never did know what that one was for) that ice cream simply cannot supply. So I'm expected, as an adult, to eat other things before eating ice cream. Like vegetables. But while there are many delicious vegetables available in the world today, very few of them supply that on-top-of-the-world feeling that comes with a spoonful of ice cream. Ice cream is an experience, an indulgence. Vegetables are, by and large, just food.
So I'm working on a list of things that aren't ice cream that give me that same sort of thrill. That "the world is mine and I get to do whatever I want" sensation. Here's a brief sampling:
Things That Are Awesome Like Ice Cream
Taking a shower so long and hot that you drain the water heater
Exploring a market, festival, exhibit, or performance that you just happened to stumble upon
Getting someone to give you a back rub
Riding a water slide, a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round
Riding it again just because you can
Jumping on the bed
Jumping into a pool
Jumping into a lake
Any kind of jumping, really
Wearing fun, gaudy, dangly, sparkly earrings for no particular reason
Standing on your head (or trying to)
Dancing to a song you like, no matter where you happen to be when it comes on
Getting the Jeopardy! question right before the guy on tv answers
Re-watching your favorite movie, whether everyone else is sick of it or not
Of course, as awesome as all these things are, I don't mean to advocate an ice-cream-free life. That would just not be healthy. I'm saying that just because I can eat all the ice cream doesn't mean I have to. And there's a sense of power in that. I can walk down the freezer isle of the grocery store and let all of that ice cream know that it is mine. Just because I don't feel like eating it today, or even buying it, doesn't mean I don't own it. It is mine as surely as if I'd written "Property of RoseE Do Not Touch On Pain of Death Or Else!" on it. Whenever I feel like eating it, it's going to be there waiting for me, obedient and loyal. I don't have to eat the ice cream; I just have to know that it knows that I can. And that's one reason why adulthood is magnificent.