“It isn’t a pint.”
There are places where this phrase could be a matter of serious concern. In a hospital blood bank. In a bar. On a football field, if the referee judging the kicker’s performance has an inexplicable accent. But for my wife, it became drastically important in the grocery store freezer section.
“It isn’t a pint!” she repeated, vehemently. This was the most aggressive I’ve ever heard Erin act towards a pair of gentlemen she usually considers friends: Ben and Jerry. They’re an obscure couple, I know, so let me explain. Ben and Jerry are two hippies who started an ice cream company modeled after a pair of characters in Billy Crystal’s classic motion picture City Slickers. They make a good product, I must admit, but they’re not usually my first choice for ice cream because we live in Louisiana. Here, Blue Bell Ice Cream is readily available, and Blue Bell Ice Cream is, in the words of Sir Richard Attenborough, “Way the crap better than that other stuff.” If you live in one of those places in the world where there is no Blue Bell, allow me to explain how good it is this way: in 2015, the company temporarily stopped production and ordered a line-wide recall when a Listeria outbreak was discovered in some of its products. The vast majority of us would have been willing to risk it.
But back to Ben and Jerry — among their ice cream products is something called “Pint Slices.” These are essentially ice cream patties in hard chocolate shells, similar to Klondike bars, but without a marketing campaign that suggests someone might murder a Rabbi, for instance, to obtain one. Ben and Jerry’s marketing instead suggests that the “pint slices” are ostensibly created by “slicing up” their “pints” and dipping them in the “chocolate” shell. Now a “normal” person would assume that this is just a way to market their novelty treat and not meant to be taken literally. A normal person would point out that, were the ice cream in the pints actually sliced up, the slices from the bottom would be smaller than those cut from the top, and yet the three “slices” in the box are all clearly the same diameter. A normal person would not make a big deal out of this. A normal person would just eat them.
My beloved Erin is not normal. She is pregnant.
“IT IS NOT A PINT,” she insisted. “Look, I’ll prove it! How much does a pint weigh?”
“A pint is a measure of volume, not weight,” I said, after which she gave me a look that would make any reasonable bystander assume I had suggested she stuff her maternity pants with chicken fingers because nobody at that buffet is going to search the pregnant lady and I didn’t have anything to bring to work for lunch tomorrow. (This is not a mistake I would make twice.)
“Fine,” she said. “I’m going to melt these and then melt a pint and then I’m going to send the pictures to Ben and Jerry.”
“Okay,” I said, because I’m not an idiot.
Here’s the thing, guys: She’s probably right. Technically. If you measure the ice cream content of the three slices, it probably doesn’t add up to the same ice cream content as your usual pint of ice cream. However, that doesn’t mean this level of outrage is rational. Javert didn’t have this kind of dedication to bringing down Jean Valjean. I’m writing a musical based on this. The Phantom of the Creamery. Soft openings in April 2019.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter if she’s right or not. I’m going to just be grateful that what she herself refers to as her “pregnancy brain” has chosen this relatively harmless hill to die on, rather than joining a mob of pipeline protesters, demanding justice for the children of Thailand, or trying to bring back the McDLT. I’m not casting aspersions on any of those other causes. I’m just saying that if it came down to it and I had to defend her honor, I’m pretty sure I could take either Ben or Jerry.
In the meantime, I’m just going to eat my slice in peace.
POSTSCRIPT: After Erin read this, she rather emphatically informed me that the McDLT was STUPID because there was NO LOGICAL REASON WHY THE CHEESE SHOULD BE ON THE COLD SIDE, and that THIS is a hill she IS willing to die on.
I’m sorry I said anything.
You may have heard, Blake and Erin have a baby on the way, so he hopes you’ll allow him to remind you he’s got all these books and short stories for sale on Amazon, and suggest you follow his author’s page on Facebook.