As a kid, I always got excited for the first day of school. (Nerd alert!) As soon as I received that packet in the mail informing me of my new teacher and required materials, it was game on. First, the rush to pick up my Lisa Frank folders and pencils. Next, the selection of the perfect first-day-back-to-school outfit. Finally, the wait. As it turns out, it doesn’t take that long to grab a few pairs of jeans and some sweaters from Sears. I still had weeks to go before the day when those scholastic pearly gates would open once again. By the time I was less than twenty-four hours from that magnificent moment, I could barely lie still let alone sleep; therefore, in an ironic twist of fate, I usually fought to keep my eyes open the first day of school, as I was completely exhausted from weeks of expectation.
Still, it was awesome to have something to get that stoked about. Not so much anymore. Sure, there might be a season premiere or two that I anticipate each year, but usually I fall out of grace with said show around the third or fourth episode. Short attention span. And I can tell you right now that you will not see me getting in line days ahead of time this summer just to watch The Avengers on opening night. Oh, and Black Friday? Forget it. I would much rather extend my post-Thanksgiving food coma for as long as possible than drag my bloated self to the nearest Best Buy to get pepper-sprayed while wrestling for the last half-off HDTV in stock. But that’s just me.
With one exception.
Every year around this time, life gets a little more exciting. A little brighter. A little tastier. Why? Because it’s Shamrock Shake season, folks.
That’s right. I am an unabashed die-hard lover of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Some might say, “It just tastes like mint.” Others, “Why would you eat anything that unholy shade of green?” Still others, “Gross.” But to me, it’s like drinking rainbows and sunbeams and smiles all at once.
It may have something to do with my childhood. Some peeps are sentimental about their Cabbage Patch Kids or original Star Wars figurines; I happen to have fond memories of the Shamrock Shake. If you haven’t heard, Chicago is pretty big into the whole St. Patrick’s Day thing. In fact, we love it so much that we turn our river green to celebrate it. That, combined with McDonald’s being headquartered in the nearby suburbs, and you have an annual marketing blitz that encourages sucking down as much of that green yumminess as your stomach can handle. I remember many a trip to Mickey D’s for a Shamrock Shake or ten during the limited time they were offered. It was glorious.
Which is why I go into Shamrock Shake shock whenever I hear that someone I know has never experienced one. How can this be? What kind of deprived childhood did you have? It’s like growing up without sunlight or water. Only recently did I then learn that McDonald’s didn’t always have the Shamrock Shake available at all its locations. It’s taken forty-two years for them to finally see the error of their ways; you’ll be relieved to know as I was that as of 2012 the sublime Shamrock Shake is available nationwide.
Yet just the other day I was informed once again that someone dear had not yet tasted the sheer wonder that is the Shamrock Shake. I informed said individual that whether he liked it or not, he would be having one that weekend with me. How exciting to actually witness somebody’s baptism into the Shamrock Shake world!
Alas, it was not meant to be. Upon seeing him a few days later, he casually mentioned that he had tried one… without me… and it wasn’t that good. What?! Blasphemy! I was visibly crushed. In an effort to temper my quickly deflating good mood, he then offered to try another. Not all was lost; I was convinced I could convert him yet… We got our shakes. I took a sip. He took a sip. I waited eagerly for his next words.
“It tastes good. Better than last time.”
“Yeah, it’s good.” Okay, not exactly the ringing endorsement I was hoping to hear, but I suppose not everyone can feel the Shamrock Shake spirit. Oh well, just means more neon green yumminess for me.