“Live a little.”
Dairy Queen’s slogan had been airing on TV for some time, but now it was our turn to experience it. Our town’s very own DQ opened along the drag.
It wasn’t like we didn’t have a drive-in.
My family had been going to Murrell’s after church every fourth Sunday for years. Not only was their food delicious, but the carport area was lined with faded billboard advertisements of speciality drinks: Pink Elephant, Red Rover, Silver Bullet. All had a particular appeal. I always wanted a Purple Cow, since that one seemed to have the most color left in the placard. Somehow, my mother never seemed to think that violet bovines were in our budget.
I always ordered a number four — a chili-cheese burger with lots of drippy deliciousness, which instantly ran down your chin and elbows the minute you bit into it. My mother always ordered that I drape an old bath towel in my lap — which she instantly ran to get out of the trunk for just such occasions.
But now, Dairy Queen had arrived. And my friend Martha and I were determined to try it.
Our choices seemed endless: the chili-cheese dog, a classic salad, a frozen chocolate banana. But (possibly because of all those number four’s at Murrell’s), Martha and I were on a diet. Actually, whether you needed it or not, dieting seemed a popular prerequisite in the ’70’s for entering your sophomore year in high school.
Susie had told us about her new trio diet, on which she swore we could loose ten pounds in four days. We figured that she was a reliable nutritionist since she weighed-in at a wispy 105 pounds. Her slenderizing secret was as follows:
Breakfast: 3 hard boiled eggs
Lunch: 3 hard boiled eggs
Dinner: 3 hard boiled eggs
Breakfast: 3 bananas
Lunch: 3 bananas
Dinner: 3 bananas
Breakfast: 3 hot dog wieners
Lunch: 3 hot dog wieners
Dinner: 3 hot dog wieners
If you could get through the day of nine radioactive frankfurters, the last day did offer some variety:
Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg, 1 banana, and 1 hot dog wiener
Lunch: 1 hard boiled egg, 1 banana, and 1 hot dog wiener
Dinner: 1 hard boiled egg, 1 banana, and 1 hot dog wiener
What Susie didn’t tell us about the plan was that it had a rebound effect. It made you want to run to the gym and chew the leather off a basketball.
And so, it was in this state of consciousness that Martha and I stood at the Dairy Queen counter.
“Let’s share something,” Martha suggested, remembering our diet.
We quickly ruled out the chocolate banana considering we had just consumed twelve bananas over the past few days. The chili-dog was also scratched as we decided that no amount of chili could cover the disgusting pink color of those wieners. Of course, the salad was also crossed out as it just might have sliced eggs on the side. We’d have to broaden our search, which would necessitate some calorie counting.
Mathematician that I was, I quickly tallied that two divided into any number is less than the original. And as deductions go, I figured with this drastic calorie slashing, we could probably split the butterscotch sundae everyone was talking about.
In no time, we were sliding opposite one another into a red booth with a single sundae placed strategically between the two of us. Eyeing the mound of soft-serve generously dripping with butterscotch syrup, Martha carefully scored down the middle of the dollop. With some reserve, we picked up our pink spoons and began the feast.
As we chatted about who was dating who and who wished they were, the sundae soon disappeared. When our spoons no longer had syrup to scrape, we fell into a silent reverie.
Then as if inspired by the DQ fairy herself, I had an idea.
“Let’s live a little,” I announced.
And with that, we split another.
Martha (leaning on desk) and I (standing) searching for efficient ways to divide calories in Mr. Boone’s math class.