The XX Factor

Sugar Is Probably Not Crack

Jessica , what I found so odd about the Mister Softee article was the language used to describe the allure of the ice cream man. Vicki Sell prays that her daughter doesn’t have a Pavlovian response to a fruit ice vendor’s bell. Rachael Reiley’s son practically jumps out the window, piggy bank in hand, at the sound of “The Entertainer.” From the descriptions, the ice cream man may as well be the Pied Piper, leading streams of hypnotized kids off a cliff, or selling them Choco Tacos laced with heroin.

But is keeping the truck out of sight really going to make these kids healthy eaters? After all, banishing the ice cream man from parks won’t keep him away for good. He can always set up shop where the adults don’t see him, like he did outside my school as soon as the weather turned warm. I generally bought my ice cream after school and ate it before I got home, possibly unbeknownst to my mother (who might have gotten mad that I didn’t bring a treat home for her). Occasionally, I’m sure, I ruined my appetite for dinner. But I didn’t become some sort of crazed ice-cream addict or sugar fiend. Sugar, though addictive, as it turns out, is not crack .

Photograph by Getty Images.