Twisted spring fever

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I won’t do it. I won’t. I cannot be coaxed into writing about a topic I’ve covered at least thrice in recent years. You people are sick of it, and I respect your feelings.

At least a half-dozen times in recent weeks, I’ve been asked when I’ll write again about ice cream trucks. This happens as the days grow longer, the air gets warmer and people start popping windows with BB guns. It’s spring, people reason, and time for my perennial, paranoid rant about the chilling allure of the Good Humor man.

But I won’t. I can’t. Because after earlier tirades about the deviant, devilish nature of the ice cream trucks, there have been incidents. There have been haunting melodies outside my windows late, late at night. Melodies like “The Entertainer” and the Sesame Street theme. As means of intimidation, the menacing notes of an ice cream truck beats the hell out of a horse head in your bed. I’m shaken. I’m appropriately intimidated.

Because when you get right down to it, few things mark the insidious side of spring like a small army of clown-topped trucks, rolling down city streets and enticing children from their play. The high, tinkling music and the promise of cool sweets can empty entire playgrounds and what, except a form of evil, could accomplish such a feat?

So, I’ll entirely skip the yearly yap about ice cream trucks (I call them ding-dings and have so forever) out of fear and out of courtesy of those vendors. Please don’t snatch me from my sleep, stick me in a freezer and sell me as a giant LaFlamsickle.

Also this year, I will refrain from making frequent and involved references to naked people. I’ve also been doing this every year, and it has become tiresome. So what if free-spirited men and women want to check their mail, hang their wash, sweep their porches or just laze on front stoops in the nude? So what if several of them routinely engage police in hysterical foot chases through the downtown? This is none of my concern, and I will cease writing about them as they enjoy their denuded activities.

Another topic you will not hear from me on is prostitutes. Because each year I publicly anticipate the first sight of a streetwalker the way most of you look for the first robin. Hookers, to me, have always been the surest sign that spring has sprung. I get giddy with delight and run up to hug them, and they end up charging me forty bucks. So, I’m off the subject. If you want information about where and when to find ladies of the night, you will have to buy the Official City Guide to Prostitutes. Or I’ll loan you one of my copies.

But while I’m putting those tired old topics away, I have to say something to mark the season because nobody appreciates the arrival of spring more than I do. And before you get around to proclaiming, “You can’t really complain about winter after the mild one we just had,” bear in mind that I can complain, and I’ve been complaining all along.

Winter is long, whether there’s 1 inch of snow or 40. It’s long and dark and bleak, and the coming of spring is better than any drug. And so while I’ll keep brooding thoughts about ice cream trucks, hookers and naked people on a leash, I can’t restrain my enthusiasm for the season.

And anyway, one day, there will be reports of a nude ding-ding driver selling sex on the first day of spring. And then, won’t you be sorry you made me shut up?

Mark LaFlamme is the Sun Journal crime reporter. He does not eat ice cream on a stick.

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