The Sound of Failure

Sounds are the spice that makes the world more interesting. Consider the storm raging after dark. Watching the lightning illuminate the clouds can be beautiful and frightening. The bolts that slash through the darkness create the illusion of a crack in the atmosphere giving writers countless ideas about inter-dimensional beings slipping into our universe through the ionic fractures of the lightning. (Give me a minute while I make some notes about a new sci fi novel.) The lighting of the lightning is amazing to behold, but it’s the thunder than steals the show. Admit it. The thunder crashes, shaking the whole house, and you shoot up out of bed from deep REM sleep running around the room seven times before opening your eyes. Or maybe that’s just me.

There are many sounds that indicate epic failures are imminent. The sound of screeching tires is frequently followed by the thud and crunch of two luxurious autos becoming one bashed-up bundle of broken bits. Another auditory amusement comes when someone blasts a bottom burb in the hopes of making everyone cringe, followed by the gaseous guest to gasp, “Oh no.” That one makes me laugh every time… unless I’m the one saying, “Oh no.”

As a teenager, there was a sound which filled me with such dread that I shudder thinking about it decades later. (I hate writing “decades later” when I consider how long ago my teens were, but it’s better than the alternative.) That sound was a “whoosh” followed by a “plop”. No, it has nothing to do with the “Oh no” from the fart part earlier in the blog. Allow me to give some backstory.

At sixteen, I got my first job outside the home. I was the only guy working at Dairy Queen. In retrospect, Dairy Queen was not the most masculine sounding place to work. Who knew? Everyone else in that little town apparently. I learned how to make a banana split which would make the mouth water. My Peanut Buster Parfaits were top notch. There were people who would wait until I could help them because I had the ratio of ice cream to milk to flavorings perfected on my shakes and malts. (No, I am not exaggerating that part at all. Not that I would ever exaggerate a real-life situation for comical purposes no matter what my wife says.) The biggest problem I faced was the malt maker cutting through the paper cups if I wasn’t careful. Until that day…

I am old enough to remember Dairy Queen before the Blizzards arrived. We had heard rumors about a new ice cream thing that was slowly expanding toward us like a glacier. To be fair, it was more like a blizzard blowing in on the winds of change. The famous soft-serve Dairy Queen ice cream was to be combined with candy or cookies. Weird, right? Then we were trained on the glory of the Blizzard. They replaced our malt maker with a Blizzard Blaster. It could mix the ice cream without adding milk. Just add the Oreos or the M&M’s and the Blizzard was born.

Photo by Luis Cortes Martinez on Unsplash

The cool thing (pun intended) about the Blizzard is that we handed it to the person upside down. It was to prove how thick it was. It worked… usually. The viscosity of the frozen mass of milk and sweetener with the added sucrose of the flavorings within a narrow serving vessel created a friction sufficient to prevent the solidified mass of dairy delights from detaching from the aforementioned serving vessel. Or to put it simply, that shit was so thick it stuck to the cup.

As I said, it usually worked. Someone in the marketing department of the corporate offices of Dairy Queen, who had never actually worked in a store, came up with the brilliant idea of making a Heath Bar Blizzard. Heath has toffee and chocolate. What could go wrong? This marketing moron felt that it needed something extra. This Blizzard-brain figured instead of adding a dash of chocolate, wouldn’t hot fudge be better? You can see where this is going, can’t you? HOT FUDGE with ice cream has a tendency to cause melting. Not a problem unless you serve the cup upside down. The second time I made one, I walked up to the counter, smiled and said, “Here you go!” as I turned the cup upside down. The cup, not wanting me to have the last word, said, “Whoosh, plop,” as it deposited the entire contents of the cup onto the counter. Did I mention it was a large Blizzard?

Fortunately, the customer was one of my regulars. He laughed and said, “Can I get a straw with that?” The manager watched the whole show from the grill. She called out, “Doug, you may not want to hold the Heath Blizzards upside down. They melt too much.” I thanked her for the timely advice as I cleaned up my mess while someone else made the replacement Blizzard. From that day on, I broke the Blizzard Rules and made the Heath Blizzards with chocolate instead of hot fudge. Someday I’ll have to tell you about the dipped cone disaster. It involved the “whoosh, plop” of ice cream into the chocolate dipping sauce.


  1. I was a little leery of the alliteration early on, but loved the story. I wish I could have seen your face when the Heath Bar Blizzard escaped.

  2. Loved the Dairy Queen goodies! I’m the 70’s my Bunch would have starved sans DQ!!

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