Two Cents Plain

Ahh.... the "two cents plain" of my childhood....nothing could be less mundane as I approach the half-century milestone. This is a time in life when one reflects on the opportunities, missed or seized, that define and demark life. A "two cents plain" actually figures in one of mine.

When I was a stripling of eleven or twelve, I had the most marvelous prepubescent crush on one Doreen K. One day after school, I asked her to go to the neighborhood soda fountain. She agreed. (Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!) When I got there, I discovered that I was a bit poorer than I had thought. She ordered an ice cream soda (25 cents) so I settled for a "two cents plain," explaining that I had a dentist appointment and didn't want to have chocolate all over my teeth. (Ever the glib one, eh?)

Halfway through the huge glass of seltzer, I let out the loudest belch ever recorded in North America. Doreen, who had a mouthful of ice cream, burst out laughing and spewed her ice cream all over her blouse. She jumped up, ran out of the store crying and didn't speak to me for weeks. I was crushed.

To this day, I cannot drink seltzer without thinking of Doreen.

© copyright, 1997, Peter Prunka
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