DAILY BRIEFING
Ice-Cream Man

Oct. 6 - An older gentleman of Trine's acquaintance was talking about his grandchildren.

He'd been babysitting them recently—two young children, four- and six-years-old—and, like most grandparents, had taken advantage of his time alone with them to spoil them rotten.

Toward the end of a day that had been highly enjoyable for everyone, they were relaxing in the living room watching cartoons on television when suddenly the air was split by the insistent bell of the Hjem-Is Bil—the ice-cream truck.

With a grandfatherly twinkle in his eye, he asked the children if they knew what the sound signified.

"Yes," they said, with surprising disinterest. "It's the ice-cream car."

"Should we step outside, then?" their grandfather asked.

"No," the children said. "There's no point."

The grandfather was at a loss. He'd never seen his grandchildren demonstrate this kind of stoicism about ice-cream; by his recollection, they'd always been ice-cream junkies. The moment passed, the dinging of the ice-cream truck faded away, and the afternoon expired into evening.

After his son came home and put the children to bed, the grandfather asked what had turned the children against their favorite treat.

"Nothing," the father replied, a little surprised that his own father could even ask such a question. "They're the same little ice-cream whores they've always been. It's all they ever want to eat. They'd have it for breakfast, if they could."

"Strange," the grandfather observed. "The ice-cream truck came along this afternoon and they weren't even interested. I asked them point-blank if they wanted to go out to the truck and they said there wasn't any point."

The father blushed. "Oh," he stammered, "well, er... no, they wouldn't think so. I told them that when the ice-cream man rings his bell, that means he's sold out."

True story.

Great Moments in Lit Crit

October 6 is the anniversary of one of the greatest moments in the history of literary criticism. It was on that date in 1536 that William Tyndale was recognized for his important contribution to world literature—the first translation of the New Testament into English—by being strangled and burned at the stake.

Today is Armed Forces Day in Egypt and Ivy Day in Ireland. (Ivy Day is not a horticultural celebration. The date marks the anniversary of the 1891 death of Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell; Irish favoring home rule traditionally pin a bit of ivy to their lapels in his honor. Ivy Day should not be confused with I.V. Day, celebrated only by drips.)

Elisabeth Shue turns 40 today. She shares her birthday with Britt Ekland (1942), Thor Heyerdahl (1914), Carole Lombard (1908), Le Corbusier (1887), and George Westinghouse (1846).

Happy Monday.

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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