Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
By Enrique Grijalva

It has come to my attention that over the last four years, New Yorkers have made over 7,000 complaints about what is being referred as “ice cream truck noise.” An apartment complex in the Bronx has filed the most complaints with 132 in total, according to the New York Post.

A 56-year-old grandmother, Cheryl Fergus, who lives in the apartment complex, was especially livid about the noise. She stated that the ice cream trucks routinely circle her residence between the hours of 9-10pm.

“I’m trying to get my grandkids ready for bed and that ice cream truck comes around. All I hear is, ‘Grandma, grandma, we want ice cream!’”

How tragic. I couldn’t imagine spending the twilight of my life, in a noisy city like New York, surrounded by my exuberant grandchildren, who just want to share some ice cream with their senile grandmother. You live in the Bronx and your major grievance is that your grandkids want ice cream? You’ve got other things to worry about, Ms. Fergus.  If anything, she should count her blessings. She’s closing in on 60 and her hearing hasn’t deteriorated yet. Meanwhile, I’m 30 years her junior and I’m slowly falling apart with each passing day, but I digress.

Still, I have this immense feeling in my Guatemalan gonads that most of the complaints made about the ice cream truck noise, outside of this apartment complex in the Bronx, aren’t coming from disgruntled old ladies. I believe they’re coming from transplants. And I understand. Some of you are weak individuals who are easily intimidated by the city’s loud noises. That’s too bad.

I fucking love Mister Softee’s jingle! It’s nostalgic. Mister Softee’s jingle is as soothing as the opulent sound of shit whistling out of a pigeon’s ass on a luminous afternoon. It lets me know that summer has arrived, or that it’s fast approaching. Most importantly, it’s the sound of New York. In my opinion, it’s not obnoxious at all. Do you want to know what is? Violently roaring jackhammers at seven in the morning!

Seeing Mister Softee’s face plastered all over those old, broken down trucks brings about a heartwarming twinkle in my eye. When that blue and white truck is driving around in the summertime it’s not only a reminder of the true essence of New York, but it’s inspiring to children. Think about it. It takes confidence for a person to walk the streets with a head shaped like a cone. And, who else but Mister Softee could pass off vanilla ice cream for hair? No one else could! Mister Softee represents comfort in one’s own skin.

Okay. I know that Mister Softee isn’t real, but neither is Mickey Mouse, and we celebrate that snooty rodent’s birthday every year. Where’s the love for Mister Softee? He’s an iconic New Yorker. If you grew up in the city, ask yourself whether or not he hasn’t had an impact on your life. I’m sure your drug-riddled mind has a few memories stored up there for him. Whether those memories are from your childhood, a first date, or a family outing, those memories are there.

I fondly reminisce on my own childhood any time I hear the jingle playing outside my window. As a chubby kid with a sweet tooth, and a future filled with diabetic medication, I’d anxiously wait to hear Mister Softee announce his last trip for the day. I knew that it would be the last opportunity to run downstairs, with my mother or my sister, to get some ice cream. There was something special about getting it from a Mister Softee truck, as opposed to just going to the corner bodega. I guess that’s why there was such an adrenaline rush whenever we’d race downstairs to catch the ice cream truck.

Nowadays, as a slightly sensible adult, I try to watch my girlish figure. I’ve told myself that I can’t eat too much ice cream because I’ll get pudgier. (This usually ends with me routinely running away from ice cream trucks, to the bewilderment of others. Hey, at least the running helps to burn calories.) However, it bothers me to see that children today may not be able to fully experience this longstanding New York tradition.

The steadily decreasing demand for these ice cream trucks, coupled with these 7,000 complaints might eventually send Mister Softee into retirement. I don’t care about the complaints. I just don’t want to see Mister Softee go away.

So what if grandmothers and out-of-towners find these trucks and their songs to be a nuisance? It’s the sound of my childhood. It’s the sound of the summer. And most importantly, like I said before, it’s the sound of New York.

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