There is one thing that has always confused me and caused me to question our commitment to the true values of the United States of America: vanilla ice cream.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t like vanilla ice cream. It’s a perfectly fine treat by itself. What makes it so baffling, though, is that other flavors of ice cream exist.
No one’s favorite flavor is vanilla. We all agree on this. When you describe something as “vanilla,” you’re calling it conventional and ordinary — bland, really. It’s not really even a flavor. It’s just the default option — the blank template — before you come up with something more interesting.
Yet there it sits in the frozen aisle, right next to all the other flavors of ice cream — which would almost be understandable if it were a quarter of the price of chocolate, strawberry, or buttered pecan. But no, it’s the same price. It’s competing on equal footing with cookies and cream. Presumably, people walk past cookie dough and rocky road and point to vanilla and say, “There. That’s the one I want. I want the one that’s just barely showing up as an ice cream flavor.”
And no, this isn’t some sting operation by the FBI to root out soulless psychopaths in our midst. This is an ordinary thing that happens every day. And no one stops them. The cashier doesn’t say, “Hey, this isn’t the Soviet Union. You have other options.” No, we act like it’s normal.
And it makes me wonder: Can the United States of America survive?
Some days I’m not sure. Like the other day, I saw on the chip aisle “Toasted Corn Doritos.” They’re Doritos without any flavoring on them. And once again, they’re the same price as the other Doritos. They’re Doritos for people who don’t get the concept of Doritos. I about had a mental breakdown when I saw them. And can you blame me?
We’re supposed to be a country of exceptional people doing extraordinary things. People bled and died so we’d have opportunities unlike any other country out there. We’re supposed to make giant cars and fast computers and moon rockets. But instead people are taking all the advantages they’ve been given and choosing to buy vanilla ice cream and unflavored Doritos. Thus, I think I can say without hyperbole that when someone buys vanilla ice cream, he’s basically right there with John Wilkes Booth, helping him steady his aim at Abraham Lincoln’s head.
Why do we put up with this? If I owned a supermarket and someone came up to me and asked, “Where’s the vanilla ice cream?” I would say, “You want to buy vanilla ice cream? There’s the door.” And then I would point to the northern border, where I’ve always argued we should build a big door (so we can show people to it). If you want to buy vanilla ice cream, go to Canada — land of bland people. If you won’t take advantage of the opportunities we have here in the U.S., then you might as well just hang out in America Lite and stay out of our way.
We should not enable people being ordinary in America. Being ordinary is far worse than flag desecration or uppercutting a bald eagle. That’s why we shouldn’t even have vanilla as an option. We need to make it clear that if you want to be bland, you’re not wanted here. In fact, kids shouldn’t be kicked out of school for getting F’s but instead for getting C’s. Either succeed or fail spectacularly, but don’t just show up. That’s not what this country is about.
America is a land of freedom, a place where the individual can choose whatever he wants. And that includes leaving, which is the choice you make if you want vanilla ice cream. Because when you choose vanilla ice cream — when you choose to be less than extraordinary — you need to go through that door. You can’t see me right now, but I’m pointing north. I’m pointing north to the spot where I think we should build the door.