The Ice Cream Man: A Quick Study

As I stood in my yard this week, I heard Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer echoing through the neighborhood. At Christmas time, this would not be a problem, however this was a couple of nights ago around 8:30. The music was coming from a decorated white van. It was the ice cream man.

This got me thinking that ice cream men are pretty creepy, and in some cases evil. I asked a few family members and friends about their ice cream-man experiences, and everyone had a story…

Here are the top reasons people think they are creepy:

1. The van. In some places ice cream men drive trucks, but in my neighborhood, it’s a white van that resembles a kidnapper’s van. They’re huge, drive really slow, and all the windows are whited or blacked out. We teach our kids to avoid vehicles such as these, but the ice cream man is okay and kids trust him unconditionally.
2. The music. Before ours played Christmas tunes, I always heard Pop Goes the Weasel, which is an odd choice because of the lyrics and meaning. The last couple years ours play Christmas music year round – Rudolph, Santa’s Coming to Town, Jingle Bells – five or six times a day any day the weather is above 40 degrees. This winter they would cruise through at dusk, hours after school dismissed.
3. Appearance. I’ve never seen an attractive ice cream man. They usually are a little to very overweight (they probably do eat ice cream all day) and pretty sweaty and unshaven, especially in the summer. There’s this guy too!

Sweet Tooth
Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal. Photo by:

4. Solitary lifestyle. They drive around all day alone, listening to peppy, children’s music, waiting for children to come out. You never see two people in a van.
5. Magnetism. This isn’t always a good thing. As my RevPub partner eloquently said, “[they have] a fairytale, witch-like ability to tempt small children.” Little kids can’t help but drop what they are doing the second they hear him coming. He does have sweet delicious treats! The ice cream man may be responsible for beginning addictive behaviors in children.

Here are some stories I gathered:

1. My niece claims the ice cream man stole her friend’s wallet right out of her back pocket.
2. My RevPub partner recalls a time he and his sister went out for ice cream, and the man took off down the street. They chased after him with money, and he never turned around.
3. My hubby remembers going up to the van, and there was a gorgeous girl, not a man. He was so stunned he forgot what he was doing there (see previous number 3).

Of course, we still support the ice cream man and welcome him into our neighborhoods. Here’s to lots of cool treats in the summer, and feel free to share your ice cream man stories in the comments below!

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