Gateway Ice Cream

woman-dropped-ice creamLike most addictions, mine started innocently, like a casual snort of coke at an Academy Awards party, but my drug of choice is more sly, more pernicious. I’m hooked on—ice cream snack cups. Those evil little cartons are the nickel bag of dairy products, what I call—Gateway Ice Cream. They are nothing short of an international junk-food marketing conspiracy designed to weaken and then bilk the public into gladly paying $1.25 for a product that should cost 10 cents.

The diminutive cup size made me feel virtuous. But after my first, ill-fated experiment with Cherry Garcia, my self-control melted, unlike my ice cream, which I ate in under a minute. Brain-freeze be damned.

The word addiction comes from the Latin “addictus” which in Roman law meant a debtor awarded as a slave to his creditor. And that’s what I became, a slave to those nefarious masters: Ben and Jerry.

Before long, one cup failed to elevate my endorphins to that same gastronomic high of the first 3.6 ounces, and my habit soon escalated to two cups a day and then three. At 250 calories each that meant six miles on the treadmill to work it off, but blisters and blown knees were a sacrifice I was willing to pay.

Searching for my next hit, I scoured newspaper ads for snack-cup sales. My insatiable cravings now required most of my food budget, forcing me to cut milk, meat, fruits and vegetables from my diet. My grocery list dwindled to just two items: cat food and snack cups. Strangely, I still needed a list because my sugar-ravaged brain had the retention of a stoned hamster.

I blame my problem on malicious marketers like Häagen Dazs, Dreyers, and the infamous Ben and Jerry, who cleverly disguise their entry-level drug in harmless-looking paper cups, and instead of costing hundreds, a fix can be bought for pocket change. No need to hock Grandma’s family jewels to sustain your habit, just look under her sofa cushions.

One night, though, I hit my low point. After surrendering to my 4th addictive cup, I still craved more. Buying a half-gallon carton seemed the next logical progression, but that escalation would prove I’d lost all self-control, and I’d sworn to never go down that dangerous, thigh-busting path. So in my drug-addled haze, I made an emergency procurement run and scored ten snack cups. And—I’m ashamed to admit—they weren’t even on sale!

At home, I grabbed a spoon, popped the first of many lids, turned the TV to MadMen—an ironic choice—and indulged in a sinful evening of binge viewing and binge eating. On the bright side, I didn’t have to wash a bowl.

But I can’t go on like this. My budget and my blue jeans can’t take the strain. Surely there’s a snack-cup 12-Step program. I’ll look into it on Thursday, because on Wednesday Stater Brothers has Ben and Jerry’s snack cups on sale for 99 cents.

With no limit.