So a few weeks ago, Jay calls and he’s all, “Hey, why don’t you come over for dinner tonight. David is going to make a shepherd’s pie.” And I’m all over that because I love me a good home cooked meal and especially one filled with things like lamb and mashed potatoes. So Erik and I head over there with a bottle of wine, and it smells great and I’m all looking forward to dinner and a nice conversation and maybe even some good music because they’ve got so damn much of it in that house, but what I’m not realizing is that I’m about to have one of those life-altering moments where you suddenly realize where you developed one of your most deep seeded (or is it deep seated?) issues–in this case, my hatred for ice cream.
That’s right. Call me crazy. Tell me it’s sick and wrong. I hate ice cream. I’m like the narrator in Memoir from Antproof Case, well, except that I hate ice cream and he hates coffee, and I never go around taking out full page ads in The New York Times about how evil ice cream is (or about the evils of coffee for that matter, or really about the evils of anything else because I don’t have anything about which I am strongly opinioned that would inspire me to spend a month’s salary taking out a full page ad to opine on the topic), and I never go around knocking over ice cream displays, nor can I say that I’ve ever ended a relationship with anyone because they liked the horrid stuff; on the other hand, I do get a little queasy walking by a Ben and Jerry’s and inhaling the sugar-laden air surrounding the shop.
Right, so I don’t like ice cream. I don’t really know why. I mean, sure it makes me sick to my stomach, but that doesn’t stop me from eating a lot of other things, and the after effects of the levels of hot sauce and Thai chiles I regularly use to perk up my lunches are much more excruciating than the physical agony that any frozen treat can induce. I always sort of vaguely assumed that there was some childhood trauma that I had blocked out which led me to disdain the stuff so. Or maybe it was just because my dad never liked it. To be honest, I’ve never really given it all that much thought.
Well, anyway, so we get there, and I’m all relaxed and then Jay says that while he was in Oklahoma for Christmas he bought this b-movie horror flick from the ’80s and we’re going to watch it during dinner. It was one I realized I had, in fact, seen as a kid, The Stuff with decent and/or weird actors like Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, and Michael Moriarty, and it’s all about this frozen dessert treat that is both addictive and kills you.
Right. So the idea is that some guy is outside and he sees gooey white shit coming out of the ground, so he tastes it–seems like a perfectly reasonable course of action, I suppose–and likes it, so he decides to sell it. They get it approved by the FDA by turning everyone on the decision panel into “stuffies” and saturate the market with the stuff (or rather The Stuff), enslaving the American public with this addictive substance, and most likely putting the few remaining family farms out of business because it’s all anyone will eat now. (They don’t actually explore the economic impact on the agricultural industry, which to me seems like a pretty big plot hole, but I guess there is only so much you can fit into a 93 minute movie when you’ve also got to fit in plenty of mayhem, exploding heads, vomiting, political intrigue, and industrial espionage.) Then it starts killing people. Basically, it seems that you become hollow inside, your body merely a casing for Stuff, and then it leaves you, either the way it entered your body, or by blowing your head up.
So, they’ve got this whole mine where they’re getting this manna from hell out of the ground and pumping it into happy little containers where it can be shipped all over the country and take over supermarkets the way Wal-Mart is taking over small towns, tearing up families in the process. We know this because one of the heroes of the story is this kid whose family has been enslaved, and they try to force him to eat it, but he won’t because he figured out was evil after it moved in the fridge (oh, like just because something in the fridge has evolved to the point where it can get from point A to point B of its own volition, it’s bad?), and so he winds up running away and helping that weirdo Moriarty guy and some branding chick who is responsible for convincing everyone that they should pack their freezers with Stuff (ah, branding, that noble profession) to stop the mining operation and expose the dangers of indulgence.
Anyway, I’m figuring this kid is going to grow up with a lot of issues at this point, because, not only did Famous Amos try to kill him and then explode in front of the boy, but who really does get over having your older brother try to force you to put something icky in your mouth.
So that’s what I’m figuring happened here. My brother, who admittedly I did most of the torturing to as a child, must have put something icky in my mouth as a kid, and then I saw this movie which reminded me of that event, and of course since the Stuff is basically evil ice cream, it created this whole mental association with that as-yet-unremembered trauma and led me to develop my disdain for everyone’s favorite summertime treat.
I love when I can find something to blame on my brother.