Mister Softee had the brightest rainbow sprinkles in all of the land. You could always rely on the driver to expertly execute a flawless soft serve cone—not a sad one that leaned over or a drippy wet one. This wasn’t some kid with a weird haircut working the carnival booth. This was the class-act Mister Softee truck driver.
The Good Humor man only made it into our neighborhood about once a week, but my ears perked up excitedly when I heard the distinct ting-ling bell. Good Humor hails from Ohio, and was the company who came up with the idea to put ice cream on a wooden stick. Truly genius. But here’s more kudos: Good Humor also invented what I consider to be the greatest ice cream confection of all time.
I know. Some weird 1980s wrestling ice cream sandwich as the greatest ice cream of all time?
Yes. And I know some of you know, too. (Back me up here.)
I never gave a crap about wrestling, but one day I took a chance on a WWF ice cream because it came with a free trading card. Again, didn’t care about wrestling, but even I couldn’t turn down a trading card. Besides, mine could have totally come with the rare chaser card that was worth a million dollars. In other words, this wasn’t just ice cream anymore, it was an investment. And then there was still the ice cream: a slab of vanilla sandwiched between a layer of hard-shell chocolate and a cookie. This thing was incredible.
They still produced the bars featuring new wrestlers up until 2008. I wanted to see if I could still find some for this post. 2008 is not so long ago in ice cream-years, I figured. I did some research and found their distributor, Circus Ice Cream, who is actually located only an hour from where I live. And they still listed the WWF bars on a cached version of their site. I called, but they informed me that the WWF bars are discontinued and gone forever.
Yes, it’s that dramatic. All my life, I’ve remembered those WWF wrestling bars, thinking they were just too obscure—perhaps in the dusty corner of the odd ice cream truck, but most likely not—when all along they were at the distributor located just an hour away. It made me wonder what else is just within my reach. In some ways, this very thought is the entire purpose of my blog.
So I decided to venture out into the world, on a quest for an interesting ice cream. What was out there? What novelties were there to behold in the freezer section? I ended up at the Asian Super Market. I had a certain idea of what I wanted—to find a certain ice cream called Dinobite’s.
When I was a kid, there was an area dentist named Dr. Gallagher, who ran low-budget commercials on the local stations during after-school cartoons. The commercials featured a person in a cheap green T-Rex costume, wearing a spiffy red baseball cap and sporting a gigantic red toothbrush in his dinosaur paws. His name was Dinobite. Dinobite danced with his toothbrush and reminded kids to brush. Silly dinosaur. Children clapped and smiled and their teeth gleamed. The phone number for Dr. Gallagher’s Dentistry flashed across my teevee screen.
I, of course, was a savvy child-consumer. I could see right through this low-rent advertising scheme dressed up in a cheap dinosaur costume. Even that couldn’t get me to enjoy going to the dentist. No way. But then. Wait. What if? What if they let Dinobite perform the dental exam himself? I promptly ran into my mother’s room to beg her to let me go to Dinobite’s dentist. And Dr. Gallagher looked like a nice man, too! I wanted to! GO BAD.
Instead, we had to go to Dr. Bee. And he was not a man dressed in a fun bee costume. Dr. Bee was bald and had terrible breath—even with the face mask over his mouth. And Dr. Bee did nothing to make the place child-friendly besides keep a couple dog-eared copies of Highlights For Children in the waiting room. Dr. Bee used all sorts of torture devices to prod and poke at my mouth and gums. He didn’t even ask what flavor fluoride I wanted. He just started jamming it in, his silver blue eyes empty like a shark’s.
Meanwhile, Dinobite became a local celebrity. He even stood on street corners and waved to passing traffic with that oversized toothbrush in his hands. Sometimes I saw him from the backseat window, and I waved desperately, hoping my mother would notice my sincere, undying, interminable love for the dinosaur. Maybe she’d pull over and we could convince him to get in the car. We could get him to come home with us.
My waving was for naught. We never did get to go to Dr. Gallagher—something stupid about dental insurance—and soon I began a backseat-waving love affair with the person in the Little Caesar’s Pizza costume who stood at the intersection of Mountain Road and Edwin Raynor.
Dr. Gallagher retired from dentistry. That was that.
Then, in 2007, Dr. Gallagher returned for the second act of his career. He opened an ice cream shop next to where his office used to be. God bless Dr. Gallagher.
Yeah, it was weird—a former dentist selling ice cream—but I loved everything about it. On top of the building, a shabbily-constructed, hand-painted volcano belched out thick white steam on hot summer nights.
But lately, the volcano has been dormant, and it appears as though Dinobite’s has closed, another victim of the recession. Gone forever.
I’m feeling dramatic tonight.
I have no idea how long it has been closed. Could be a few months, could have been two years already. But I knew the Asian Market had pints of Dinobite’s for sale. I assume they bought out the remaining inventory of the ice cream. And now I have procured one of the precious few remaining pints.
This would be exciting and bittersweet, but there are couple of things that scare me.
1) It doesn’t have an expiration date.
2) I have no idea how old it is.
3) It didn’t have a seal.
4) The address on the container is somebody’s house in the phone book.
5) http://www.dinobites.com doesn’t exist.
6) All of these things combined with the fact that I bought it at the Asian Market where they also sell jars of octopus suspended in a cherry-red liquid. I think it’s blood. Whatever. Don’t correct me. It’s totally blood.
But ice cream doesn’t go bad, does it? Well, it is made with lots of things that can get downright nasty like milk and eggs. And it didn’t have a seal—so anyone could have tampered with it. There could be razor blades in it. Shards of glass. Poison. The kind of poison that turns your eyes to X X.
And yet, there were a ton of these pints for sale at the market, and I’m sure other people have consumed them without doing a single bit of research on the subject. Who else knows that the owner of Dinobite’s is Brian Gallagher, son of Dr. Gallagher, who first drew Dinobite when he was just seven-years-old? Who else has followed the opening and demise of a local ice cream shop, and then tracked down the remaining inventory in a sketchy grocery market? Who else has done a whois on the owner of the Dinobite’s domain and emailed Dr. Gallagher’s son himself to find out if he thinks the ice cream is still safe to consume?
Jesus. I’m neurotic. And he didn’t write back. So I’m just going to have to taste it.
I didn’t find any razor blades, and it just tasted chocolate. It was pretty good, though the Reese Cup ratio could have been improved. But I’m not going to speak badly of a dead dinosaur’s ice cream. RIP, Dinobite. I’ll be looking up and waving from the backseat to you in heaven.
And while I was in the market, I decided to pick up one other thing that caught my eye:
Green Bean Ice Bar? That sounded fun. I thought it was the sort of green bean vegetable that I’m familiar with, but it is not. When I got home and read the box closer, I learned that the green bean is the mung bean.
What in the hell is a mung bean?
There is an old Saturday Night Live Halloween skit featuring Wayne’s World. They count down the top ten worst treats to get in your Halloween bag while trick-or-treating. It goes like this:
Top Ten Worst Halloween Treats:
10. Fruit- Nobody goes out on Halloween looking for fruit. Natural sugar just won’t do… We need the artificial stuff.
9. A Gun Rack – I don’t even own a gun, much less many guns that would necessitate the use of a gun rack. Are you mental?
8. Assorted Body Parts – There was once this guy, Mr. Manson I believe, who would give out things like feet and hands. I always found it strange.
7. Spam/Speef – Processed beef food, although nutritious and delicious just doesn’t satisfy the Halloween needs of trick-or-treaters.
6. Rocky Mountain Oysters – I always had a feeling they weren’t real seafood…
5. Pennies – There is nothing more worthless and annoying than having to lug around change, especially pennies.
4. Pop Rocks – Yes these are great. But one time this kid ate some Pop Rocks then drank coke and his head exploded.
3. Taffy Apples – Once there was this lady who owned a bunch of cats and always gave out taffy apples. One year, I got a taffy apple covered with cat hair, and it made me want to hurl.
2. Hurl – I think it speaks for itself.
And finally the number one worst Halloween treat is…
1. Mung – What in the hell is Mung? I’m not too sure; I just know it is the most vile, disgusting thing on the face of the planet.
The skit ends with them screaming.