Irony on the Rocks: A Retort

Source: Grillingwithrich.com
Source: Grillingwithrich.com

That wickedly funny and creative blogger at Aging Gracefully My Ass has written a most provocative post on the merits, or rather demerits, of ice consumption.  I say “provocative” because AGMA has broadcast her dislike for ice in direct and unambiguous language.  But for those of us who not only enjoy ice, yet also consider it to be part of the food pyramid, it is imperative to proclaim in a most royal manner that we are steadfastly not amused.  Your humble blogger is therefore put into a position of defending the honor of the now maligned ice cube.

My defense, however, is grounded in the somewhat ironic position of enjoying ice inside a glass only.  Like AGMA, I am a Yankee who long ago took refuge from the snowy and cold environs of the upper north.  My distaste for cold weather is only eclipsed by the thought of having to buy and wear heavy outer clothing because of it.  I furthermore find icy roads and sidewalks to be an example of all that is wrong with northern climates. Hockey is my least favorite spectator sport, and I join some in even questioning why ice skating competitions are considered a sport.  So I do therefore offer at least some personal bona fides to the ice haters out there.

When it comes to a beverage, however, I most definitely want my ice.  While the purest of whiskey connoisseurs drink neat only, I am happiest when I add a large ice cube to my Glenmorangie or Crown Royal.  And, please, can you imagine a perfectly mixed Gin and Tonic or Seabreeze without ice?  Utter blasphemy.  I have even been known to enjoy a morning orange juice with an ice cube or three in it (I can only imagine the shock and disgust in some quarters by reading that).

Still, AGMA’s news that Europe is now embracing the almighty ice cube is surprising.  I can recall with faint horror a trip that my ex-wife and I made to England back in the 1990’s. With diplomacy the last thing on her mind, she was bound and determined to shake ice loose from stingy British waiters.  Midway into our visit, she became gravely unhappy with the token ice fragments placed in her beverage at each of the eating establishments we patronized. She also assumed the very same “stink eye” expression likewise transmitted by our friend, AGMA.  I began that trip as my ex’s earnest and loving companion, morphed into Madeleine Albright to try to ameliorate the tepid iced teas she was given, and ended up becoming Ronnie Biggs as I did my best to eventually flee the country in embarrassment.

I learned fairly soon after meeting my former in-laws that there doesn’t appear to be any genetic predisposition with regard to one’s approach to ice.  Where my ex demanded lots of it, her father was ferociously anti-ice to the point of arguing with restaurant help if any appeared in his beverage. In his case, it had less to do with taste and temperature and everything with simple economics: the more ice put in a glass or pitcher, the less of his soft drink he would receive. To further ingratiate himself with the wait staff, he would demand a separate glass filled with ice so that he could then add the “correct” amount to his drink. Watching this, I would slowly morph into one of the Borrowers, hoping that no one would notice me sitting very low in my seat.

Nevertheless, ice can be enjoyed in venues other than restaurants and bars.

I still find staying in hotels to be the highlight of any trip I make for the simple reason that it’s almost always the amenities that make it interesting for me.  For instance, even though I rarely buy anything from the in-room mini-bar offerings, my head is almost always inside that little fridge within ten minutes of walking in the room.  I carefully consider the morality of the $4.50 Snickers bar, while at the same time rationalize that $11.95 for Toblerone is entirely appropriate if paired with the tiny bottle of $23.00 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon.  

In spite of the enjoyment brought on by such gluttonous mental masturbations, I also cannot ignore the ice machine just outside that room.  The grown man I am might be eying the minibar’s Johnny Walker Red, but the little boy in me is itchin’ to get to that ice machine.  Hotel ice machines evoke fun and frivolity.

I don’t wish to generalize or appear as anything resembling a chauvinist, but it’s my considered opinion that AGMA doesn’t appreciate the playful nature of boys.  Ice machines are fun!  With one press of a button, a tremendous crash of ice falls down from the reservoir and into a waiting ice bucket.  And just like instant replay, you can press it again and again.  Just ask the person unlucky enough to have their room located right across from it.  There may be notes to go over for tomorrow morning’s meeting, or perhaps a spouse is patiently waiting to go down for dinner.  But for ten seconds there is this opportunity for light mischief and enjoyment.

Be honest: who among you has an ice bucket at home and actually uses it?  Most people get one as a wedding gift from clueless relatives, store it in the guest bedroom closet, and it stays there for the next six years until the first garage sale.  The hotel room ice bucket, on the other hand, is an object of adolescent amusement for audacious males of any age. That the ice might not be used during a hotel night is beside the point.  The delight is in the journey not the destination.

Girls, hrrumph.  They’ll just never get it.

I can still recall back in junior high when it was decided by an august panel of our peers that ice crunching was indicative of someone being sexually deprived.  Except for the fact that to my knowledge nearly all of my immediate cohorts remained virgins though high school, none of us ever wanted to be identified in that way.  So I would always make sure to swallow the ice cubes in my Coke lest anyone look at me in a knowing manner.  Later in life I actually looked it up in the DSM for fun — it was just as I thought all along. Those tricksters made it all up.  Crunch away, folks.  It has nothing to do with your libido.

Ultimately I guess ice really doesn’t need me to defend its worthy place in our glasses, goblets, or steins.  An otherwise witty and engaging blogger, I am going to have to accept the fact that on this topic AGMA and I will stay in our neutral corners of opinion.  My only bone to pick with her is that she found a way to slip in a decent Donald Trump reference into her post, and as hard as I tried I could not.  Therefore, she wins.

Until next time, I’ll take mine on the rocks please.

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13 thoughts on “Irony on the Rocks: A Retort

  1. Count me firmly in the anti-ice camp. I felt quite at home while traveling through Europe. I’ve even learned how to say “no ice, please” in Spanish so I can order my drink correctly while in Mexico. I have to agree about the hotel ice machine, though. There is something magical about it (even though I’m a girl).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love ice, ice machines and cold drinks! Not crazy about the stuff on the sidewalks or bitter cold but love cold things. I just started really enjoying hot coffee for the first time a scant few years ago; just always liked cold drinks all my life. Grew up preferring cold cocoa versus hot, for instance, and cold tea versus hot. On a trip to London in 1995, we ended up visiting during a record heat wave in England. No air conditioning in the hotel where we stayed and no ice for drinks. Just miserable. We survived on Magnum ice cream bars which they ‘had’ to store at a cold temp. The worst was when we were riding the tube – not air conditioned at the time – and saw one of those underground mini-marts down in the subway, spying bottles of Cokes in coke refrigerated displays. I was rejoicing until I reached in and felt that the Coke was being stored at about 70-80 degrees. Why even bother putting them in the case? The insanity of it all!!!

    Whiskey on the rocks with an ice cold beer chaser, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you pumped up the heat in your home when you had the slides developed of your trip and invited the extended family over to view them. Nothing like re-creating the experience for everyone to get the right “feel” of the moment!

      I had a similar adventure when I went to San Francisco in August of 2005 for a three night stay. I purposely chose a boutique hotel, which also had no air conditioning. It’s cool San Francisco, so it doesn’t matter, right? Wrong! It did matter because like your trip to England this was during a record, state-wide heat wave for all of California. Whenever I see a California wine with a vintage year of 2005 I laugh. Unless it’s the hearty Zinfandel grape, which holds up quite well in the heat, I’m not willing to take a risk on it. Hold those memories dear!

      Like

  3. Fabulous post!! Found myself chuckling out loud several times… A bit scary for my current AirB&B hosts (I’m in Richmond, VA now.) They might be really concerned if they knew more about me… Thankfully, they don’t have an ice machine – think that’s why I did AirB&B amd not a hotel

    Funny, funny stuff! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Count me in the pro-ice camp. I always have ice in my orange juice or grapefruit juice in the AM. Also I am in the camp of those who like a tall glass filled with ice and lemonade.

    So what is all the fuss about ice in a glass. Better it be in a glass than underfoot. At minimum ice in a glass is under my control. Even if that control is limited to a short period of time. The same cannot be said for external ice covering the sidewalks and roads at times in the northern climates.

    Which is why I am living in Sarasota, FL – where the likelihood of ice underfoot, or worse – lurking on a road, is not really going to occur. Unless of course we suddenly get hit by a rogue Ice Age.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good one! Ice almost got my sister and a stewardess on Ryanair into a full-blown girl fight because they both copped an attitude on a “More ice please” vs “No, that’s all you get issue”. My sister ultimately won, as she always does.

    Liked by 1 person

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