Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pained But Proud

So ladies and gentlemen. Our shop closes on Oct 15 (this Friday) and our last day at the Flea is Saturday, Oct 16. Here we finally are, six months later and 17 years older and — lo and behold—we still have all of our fingers and all of our toes.

Sadly, Joel no longer has any feeling in his fingers. The calluses that formed on his hands as a result of yanking thousands of pops out of their molds, one at a dang time, have become too thick for his nervous system to detect. The good thing about this is that he no longer feels pain, like Ronald Niedermann in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

For his part, David has lost all feeling in his toes, having deadened his feet from excessive jamming on ghost brakes as Joel performed death-defying deeds like merging and accelerating whilst driving Porky. He is now inured to fear, like Taylor Swift.

And I no longer have a soul. A few weeks ago, I moved to New Orleans to start business school at Tulane and now spend my time mastering the finer points of strategic douchebaggery.

Although the grind and minutiae of the day-to-day often obscured our progress, we really kicked it up a notch this year. Unlike 2008, when we only operated on the weekends and kept somewhat in touch with our day jobs, this year, we dropped everything to man our tiny 170-sq-foot shop for 186 days straight. We fed pops to Alton Brown, George Stephanopolous, Rachael Ray, Sandra Bernhard, Maria the “Money Honey,” Jennifer Garner, the duder from MGMT, and his mom. We led tours of our business for Whole Foods staff, Brigham Young business students and local elementary schools. We had much better weather than last year, when it rained for 28 days in June. We hired some really awesome people and managed to pay them in currency that looked like something other than frozen 3-oz chunks of fruit on a stick. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Working in pops this summer felt like training for a triathlon, only pops were the new world order. Every day we got up weary, prepared for another beat-down: another broken part of the van, another broken part of the freezer, another broken part of our backs. Our days began early and ended late and had far too little beer in them. But there was also an uncommon vigor, an unabashed willingness to get our hands dirty, attention paid to putting out a good product and treating people well, and a belief in all of this as a medium for social/environmental change as well as pleasure.

Ice pops effecting change? Yes, if you think about the tens of thousands of pounds of local fruit used, the tens of thousands of dollars that stayed inside the local economy, and the fact that we were able to employ tens of thousands of good people to further these ends. Ice pops as pleasure? Yes, and the other pleasure was you, popsifans: regular customers like the security guard at the Apple store, the pregnant women who visited daily and talked to her belly as she ate pops, the guy who works upstairs compiling statistics for Major League Baseball, the mysterious man who took 12 pops home in a bag with him almost daily, the trio of chemists from the DEA lab around the corner, the Brooklyn Flea contingent we saw every week, rain or shine.

This summer involved a lot of pain. But it’s been our pleasure. The season's not even over and we're already hatching plans for next year. Despite it all, we can't wait for spring.


Joel, David & Nathalie

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