As a few of you might know, I am pursuing better health, and you can read my first two stories about it here and here if you feel so inclined. With any journey toward better health comes a long, long story of how that person’s health declined. Part of the story of my health decline is my NEED FOR ICE CREAM WHEN I WANT SOME GODDAMNED ICE CREAM!
Lucky for people like me, modern science has provided us with companies like Halo Top, because who in the hell actually considers a half cup of ice cream a serving?
Anyhow, thanks to some sort of shit called monk fruit, Halo Top has produced an ice cream that is enjoyable and can be eaten as ice cream was meant to be eaten: by the pint. They have plenty of flavors, and the calorie count per pint is printed right on the outside, with the maximum being 360. Not bad, considering one of my favorite flavors of ice cream (the appropriately named “Chubby Hubby” by Ben and Jerry’s) is 1360 calories per pint.
And if you eat it all in one sitting (and…I might have done that before…maybe…yes, yes I’ve eaten plenty of pints of Chubby Hubby I’ll confess), you yourself could end up a chubby hubby…
But Halo Top has come to my rescue, perhaps. The only problem: it’s five bucks per pint…
Now that you understand the background, I can tell the actual story of how God his/her/itself chose me for a miracle tonight.
I just started a new job, received a grand assignment for the next phase of editing my book, and enjoyed an upper respiratory infection…all since Monday. I spent a lot of today with a raspy voice, cough, and sore throat. It was time for a good ‘ole pint of my main man, Halo Top, to soothe my blues.
But even with the low calorie count, I still approach buying ice cream with a heart weighted down by guilt. I’m trying to get healthy, after all. Shouldn’t I be having a salad in lieu of such sweet frivolities…or some shit like that?
Nope. I need a break every so often. Gimme the damned ice cream.
So, I went to the store. And although I was determined to get my fix, my heart still carried with it some guilt. There is something about being overweight and choosing something other than health food that feels wrong. It’s a failure somehow. I know, intellectually, that I am making a conscious decision to both satisfy my cravings as well as choose a more healthful option for doing so…yet, since I’ve made my pursuit of better health public, I feel strangely obligated to graze in a field among cattle until I’ve proven my commitment.
But, nah. Screw all of that. I’m also here to show everyone that I’m a human being with faults and the ability to adapt and/or learn from them. Long story short, I felt guilty getting the Halo Top, even though it was a major victory for me not to grab the chubby hubby. Thus, I entered the store with mixed confidence, knowing that I was consciously choosing not to get instant diabetes swirled with peanut butter-filled pretzels, but doing so while walking past all the fresh produce in pretend blissful ignorance.
Unfortunately, upon my arrival, tragedy struck. Every single flavor of Halo Top left was…
…not what I was craving. At all.
I know. Tragic. You are not weak for taking a break to cry right now.
So, I quickly got over it, picked s’mores, and went to the cashier, because s’mores sounded a’ight.
Now…this is where GOD APPEARED.
There were three checkout lanes open, and I could’ve picked any of them, but I picked the lane behind the man who would soon be manipulated by the almighty.
I waited like any other shopper: impatiently. And when his receipts and coupons printed out, I pushed my way toward the cashier, hoping proximity would somehow get me home and curled up with ice cream faster. The cashier was about to just hand the man his coupons and let him go on his way, but she looked down and her face lit up.
“You have a coupon for a free pint of ice cream!” she said.
The man’s face did not change. I believe my jaw dropped in disbelief, like one of the people next to Charlie Bucket when he opened the last golden ticket. On a strange, primal level, I needed that coupon. It was a sort of suburban fat guy need from deep within. Then, just before I could feel embarrassed by my animalistic reaction to ice cream coupons, the man said the unthinkable:
“I don’t really like ice cream.”
At this point, my jaw dropped so low it dislodged like a snake’s in preparation for eating an elephant. I wanted to punch this man, as I thought he was about to toss away the last golden ticket (Not that my ice cream-craving fist would make much of a difference in anyone’s day…). Then, the cashier spoke up.
“But it’s really good, expensive ice cream…like…” (she looked over at my single purchase) “…it’s THAT, actually! It’s the ice cream he’s getting.”
And this is when I knew God was real. I could’ve picked any lane of the three that were open. There was no chance that simple circumstance was involved. This was fate. This was divine intervention. I know this. I know this because the man said:
“Well, I don’t really like ice cream, and if this is a coupon for free ice cream for him, then he can have it. I don’t care.”
The Lord hath spoken.
I thanked the man as he walked away and looked at me over his shoulder, wondering why my eyes were full of thankful, ice cream-craving tears, and he was perhaps increasing his pace as I appeared maybe a bit too grateful.
I needed that ice cream. And he made it free. And to think I wanted to punch him mere seconds earlier.
But this is not how I knew God was involved. No, no…the Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.
I got my excited and chubby ass back home and popped open the top to my divine gift of low-calorie ice cream, ready to feel satisfied, ready to taste the graham cracker/chocolate/marshmallow goodness of perhaps what would’ve been my seventh or eighth choice in ice cream, and…
It tasted like coconut.
Not s’mores at all.
And I didn’t even want s’mores to begin with.
I looked at the label, and coconut isn’t even an ingredient. So…how in the hell did it taste like coconut?
I’ll admit, for a second I was irritated, but then I felt better as I finished the rest of the pint, because, well, it was still ice cream…
And as I swirled my spoon around the edges of the bottom of the empty container, trying to gather up the remnants of a failed version of my seventh or eighth choice in ice cream flavor, I realized something.
God didn’t mean for the ice cream to be free so I could enjoy it; he/she/it made the ice cream free because it is not right for anyone to purchase something and have it taste like coconut when coconut isn’t even an ingredient.
It’s been a rough patch these past couple months, and I appreciate your mysterious ways, even concerning something as small as overpriced ice cream.
I notice, God. I do. And I’m hanging in there.