Life Lessons

Katie Johnson

I have been a proud employee of an ice cream shop for seven months now. (We actually sell gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, but the owners were afraid that putting two foreign words in a row on the sign would confuse rather than entice potential customers.) As a member of the coalition of teenage ice cream scoopers, I have learned many valuable skills. For one, I now know exactly how to present a perfectly sculpted cup of Birthday Cake gelato. I have also improved my dexterity—I can scoop a cup in five seconds flat. A cheetah can run 155 meters in the time I can scoop a cup of gelato. My skill is obviously more impressive.

 I have also gained technical experience—I know the proper procedure for lubricating a gelato machine (where else could one pick up such indispensable information?).  I can make Coffee Toffee Crunch gelato like nobody’s business; I can stock cones like no other; I can chop pecans with the best of them. Working in an ice cream shop has truly changed my life. Just think—if I never took this job, I would still be taking an unruly nine seconds to scoop a cup of ice cream.

Perhaps the most important skill I have picked up in the past few months entails effectively dealing with people in the workplace. The old me would have been incredibly annoyed when asked by my boss to get up on top of the counters and dust the half inch edges of several posters, all hanging about six to seven feet above the ground and in no way visible to any customer. But the new me understands that my boss is simply a very organized person and is not at all uptight.

Thank God the new me is much more understanding, or I might have been upset when a customer asked me to read every single flavor aloud while simultaneously providing him with a sample of each gelato. Thank God the new me is much more patient, or I might have been aggravated when a customer asked me to give him ten dollars’ change in only state quarters. Thank God the new me didn’t mind shifting through coins again after the customer informed me he had already collected several of the quarters I had presented him with and would just adore if I could maybe find Michigan and Alaska for him. Thank God the new me is sensitive to people’s feelings, or I might have offended a customer by gawking at his gigantic—no, seriously, gargantuan—nose. Thank God the new me is kind hearted, or I might have been troubled when a little girl in her mom’s oversized high heels dumped a cup of lemon sorbet on my jeans and proceeded to inform me that she had “pooped.” Thank God the new me thinks children are such lovely, adorable specimens that they deserve to be as spoiled as their parents allow. Thank God.

Working at an ice cream shop has truly molded me into a new person—turned over a new leaf. I feel as if I jumped into a large vat of gelato and emerged, baptized and renewed, privy to all the secrets of the world. The ice cream industry is booming, and so are its employees, so watch out everyone. Watch out you mechanical engineers; watch out computer scientists; watch out biochemists and brain surgeons all: there’s a new breed of professionals emerging—a new level of innovation to live up to. Watch out world! We are the ice cream servers of America, proud and powerful beyond your wildest imagination, and we come brandishing ice cream scoops.