And now for something completely different — and positive.
Yes, it took some doing, but I found something to talk about this week that is not only optimistic, but everyone can get behind it and it is, quite literally, potentially life-changing. I refer to none other than the one and only — ice cream sundae. I had no idea something so simple could bring so much enjoyment, and it’s been right there in front of me all the time.
You know what a sundae is, right? It’s ice cream, of whatever flavor floats your boat, covered in myriad toppings ranging from hot fudge and caramel to fruit sauces of all types, then capped off with whipped cream, nuts (for those of us not allergic), sprinkles, and an unnaturally bright red, candied, maraschino cherry, non-alcoholic of course. There are literally unlimited combinations, something for every taste.
I should preface all of this by informing you that during high school, I spent a year working at a local Dairy Queen store where I was charged with recreating all the pre-designed DQ-styled sundae treats. They had to appear exactly like the images on the posters and TV ads, and hopefully taste as good as they looked. No variations were permitted. Eventually, the popularity of adding some type of cake item, like a chocolate brownie, to the bottom of the sundae changed things a bit. But, somehow that seemed wrong to me.
Some three decades later, my most recent sundae, the one that elicited such an overwhelming response, was created with a few scoops of cookies ‘n cream ice cream, covered in a double layer of hot fudge and caramel sauce. All of that was smothered in a layer of whipped cream — from a spray can, not that ‘real’ stuff — and finally a scattering of crushed mixed nuts and sprinkles all topped with, not one, but five cherries. It was insane, at least for me. I don’t generally go for much more than a simple ice cream cone as a dessert if I have one at all.
But there was something about this particular combination of confectionery ingredients that went unappreciated by me previously. I’m not much of a “foodie.” You know, one of those people who constantly goes bananas over various foods or desserts and posts a nauseating volume of pictures on social media covering just about everything they eat.
I just don’t care that much about food. Yes, I need to like what I’m eating, but, in the end, it’s mostly just fuel to me. So why go bonkers over something so simple? Probably because it is exactly that, simple.
A distraction like this demonstrates how easily we get wrapped up in life and miss out on the most basic everyday pleasures that can actually reduce our stress, make us happier, and improve our health — though you’re taking a chance if you’re indulging in ice cream sundaes too often.
Twenty-first-century life can be complicated, and it takes a lot out of you just to keep your head above water. It’s often a daily battle of digital fatigue and political exhaustion, job stress, and family worries, financial concerns and personal demons. Sometimes it’s tough to get a break.
Given that, at least for the sake of your health, food shouldn’t be used too often for comfort or distraction, it’s fine to indulge on occasion. Plus, nothing says the diversion has to be food to derail your hustle-bustle routine. It could be exercise, going to a movie in the middle of the afternoon, taking a walk outside on your break, just about anything that gives you some positive change.
With all we have going on, it’s easy to get too wrapped up in things. When a simple ice cream sundae actually makes me feel more relaxed and happy, that’s a sign I really need to power down a bit. You can do the same thing, but less randomly. Choose to relax a bit, take time for yourself and, more importantly, try something you might not have otherwise.
I’m not usually a dessert person but it seemed a nice diversion from a rigorous week.
Maybe next time, pineapple.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at www.gerydeer.com.