GateHouse – If you have anyone in your circle of friends who’s particularly susceptible to advertising, peer pressure or trends, if you know anyone who routinely does or purchases ridiculous things strictly because other people are doing so — such as wear Hypercolor T-shirts, watch the Grammy Awards or vote for Mike Huckabee — let me warn you of a new potential development you may have to shield them from: snackable ice.
Oh, sure, you might be snorting through that quarter-cup of coffee you just globbed up through your sinus cavity in disbelief (don’t laugh, it happens, and it feels extremely weird), what sort of mop-water-brained dimwit must you have to be to plink down hard-earned bills for a cup of ice, a material I currently possess in great abundance in my freezer next to the pizza rolls and that chicken I should totally throw out? Well, good question. First of all, you’re extremely wordy, and second of all, pretty much everyone around here just spent 20 years buying bottled water and not feeling ridiculous about it, so let’s just say that some things you don’t joke about and leave it at that.
According to a piece by a reporter in the Wall Street Journal who probably didn’t imagine this was the job he was signing up for, a number of companies are currently competing in the lucrative ice ice baby market, selling products with names like Chewblet (who was Han Solo’s co-pilot), Nugget Ice (which has several connotations, none of them pleasing) and Pearl Ice, who recorded the hits “Alive” and “Jeremy.” The article says that one company refers to the South, where such products are popular, as the “Chew Belt,” insinuating that all Southerners are silly yokels who slurp ice in the rare instances they’re not trying to get rid of John McCain. At any rate, things are apparently very feisty in the world of snack-ice consumption companies; it helps to think of them settling their grievances with snowball fights.
The story goes on to say that more ice is sold during the summer, which is one of the fierce revelations for which the print media is known, but also that the sales of machines that make ice that’s easier to chew jumped about 23 – all right, you know what? Let’s just hold on right here and think about this: We live in a grand, vast country in which at this very minute, people are making what one imagines is a very decent living involving themselves with machines and expense forms and business decisions about ice that is easier to chew, as though the population is currently being shoveled under by an epidemic of kids whose fragile teeth are being ripped to shreds by ice cubes with the consistency of sedimentary rock. Listen, I like ice, I’ve chewed ice, and sometimes my teeth get cold, but I don’t believe once in my life have I thought, “Son of a marmoset, can’t SOMEBODY do something about the difficult-to-break molecular bonding here? Who will save the ice-chewers? WHO?” and then broken down in tears.
All right, sorry, that was a very lengthy mid-sentence tangent. What I was saying is that apparently machines that make this joyous-to-chew ice have increased 23 percent between 2003 and 2006, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, which is where I wanted to go to college, but my dad said it was too expensive.
Anyway, I’ve done a little reporting here, and by reporting I mean I typed “ice chewing” into Google and then went and got some wine, and I’ll be dipped if there’s not a real live Icechewing.com, a message board in which 3,288 registered users write about chewing ice with their brittle, shivering fingers. Over in the Stories forum, you can “Share your ice chewing stories.” The Recipes section tells you, “What makes the best ice?” (Hint: it involves oxygen and hydrogen). And in the Anything department, you can read about “Anything and everything about ice chewing!” Turns out it’s mostly about moving your teeth around.