“I have an ice cream and you can’t have one”

ice cream print

Click this image to see more fine art from Laura Row Studio.

“I have an ice cream and you can’t have one” Eddie Murphy chanted in a singsong voice. Decked out in a red leather suit in 1987.

Oh, we laughed at the ice cream skit, how manic the kids get when they hear the ice cream truck coming, telling everyone on the block “ice cream man is coming, ice cream man is coming!” — and how they lorded it over the other kids when they got their ice cream.

blue milk poster

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Do you remember the next line in Eddie’s song? “I have an ice cream, and you can’t have one, coz you’re on welfare.”  Yes.

And we laughed — little kids marching out someone else’s parents’ distress and gloating over junk food.  Would we laugh now?  Probably not.

Because it seems like now, the adults are saying it, and it’s serious. “Is junk food child abuse?”

Google called up over a million articles when I asked, and lots of people are saying yes. And they’re not on crazy hippie web sites; they’re in the UK’s Daily Mail, Huffington Post, TED talks….

I have scowled to myself at the playground, haven’t you?  But, our judgement gets in the way of solutions.

compassion

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Poor folks need knowledge, in their language, to help them make good choices. They need access, in urban centers AND in sad rural wandering roads, to grocery stores. Here in Pittsburgh, folks take several buses to get to an affordable grocery store. Growing up in rural Maine, it was a long haul to one. Folks need the means by which to purchase foods, or foods need to be affordably priced or grown at home — or all three.  I’ve written before on how folks also need time to cook at home.

So that trigger response of “what are they feeding these/those kids?” is a sign.  A sign that compassion and social action are called for. What to do? Go to a town meeting about public transit and make sure poor neighborhoods have access to grocery stores, vote in local elections about zoning laws, support your local WIC program (Women, Infants, Children – a nutrition program started by president Carter targeting at-risk kids), donate to a food bank.  Or start by exercising your compassion — on the playground. In the grocery checkout behind someone with food stamps. Or when you see kids of different sizes.

For more talk on food and kids, join in on Funnermother on Facebook.  We can make a change.

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6 thoughts on ““I have an ice cream and you can’t have one”

  1. I loved Eddie Murphy on SNL. This topic weighs on my heart. We cook at home yet my son, 6, still eats the junk whenever he goes somewhere, etc. It’s much harder now that he is older. There is a fine line between taking away their chocolate bunny and BAGS of candy for one day of holiday and allowing/teaching them to eat it in a way the respects their bodies.

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    • Right! Even when we have knowledge, means, and access…. my kids have gone from private to public school this year, and school lunches, with their upgrades, are a great bargain to us. BUT…. my son, 12, is free to pick whatever he wants. Which is usually starch. And he’s getting a little belly. Imagine if we didn’t have the knowledge, means, and access…I shudder to think! Haha. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. xx a

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  2. I feel ya, sister! In my small, rural town there is ONE grocery store. Granted, it’s a Safeway so it’s not like just a Circle K but choices are limited. And because it’s the only game in town, they price gouge. Badly.

    So many of us drive 35 minutes (1 way) to the Walmart for the same items for far less. I typically do one big shopping trip per month and fill my freezer. Then just hit the local grocery for eggs and produce. (I don’t eat bread; meat is in the freezer.)

    It can be a HUGE challenge.

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    • Ah, yeah, when I moved to Pittsburgh 20 years ago, there really was only ONE chain in the area. They’ve got a lot of competition now — high end and discount, and I’m so glad. 🙂 I’m keeping my eye on Amazon — pretty interesting concept, if they deliver to rural folks too. Thanks for chiming in! xx a

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