Against the wall of my residence hall a young mother stood her four year old daughter and three year old son last evening and spanked them soundly. They yelped like puppies as she alternately spanked them with practised art. In their grubby hands, the kids clutched ice-cream sticks; no doubt they had just finished a treat before fury was let loose upon them.
The ice cream sticks reminded me of an incident a week ago at Brighton, where a woman was wheeling a perambulator that contained her two year old darling boy. He had just been bought an ice cream cone, and was in the process of enjoying it, when suddenly, the cone slipped a bit and some ice cream smudged onto his right hand. I am sure it felt nice and cold, and the little fellow's reaction to the accident was most amusing. He decided to investigate the matter of the dirty right hand, and to lick it clean. For this purpose, he carefully set down his ice cream cone on his left thigh, the ice cream dribbling all over his pants, while he held his right hand in his left and licked it clean. The mother did not notice this activity. Reminded me of the problem solving methods of my erstwhile corporate life.
Another ice cream incident that it bought to mind is from my childhood, when we saw a man bring his little daughter to the grocery store and buy her an orange bar. She was tiny, and unable to manoeuvre the thing correctly (I know many grown-ups who still cannot). In about two minutes, the orange bar fell to the ground. The man slapped her soundly in public and dragged her away. My Dad murmured something about cruelty, and the shopkeeper replied that the man did so every day! Some training that little girl was receiving.
And the last child-and-ice-cream story of all: when I was young enough to forget most details of my life beyond the preceding three months or so, I once said in righteous indignation to my bemused father: "Yesterday I did not have an ice cream and none today either?" He replied that it was not compulsory to have an ice cream everyday. My poor little heart could not take the shock! He actually implied that my existence did not automatically qualify me for an ice cream every day! How unfair is that!!!!!
Ok enough nonsense. Now everyone dig your nose into a tub of Ben and Jerry's. Dublin Mudslide for me please!