A few years ago, my Budget Vogue column was about summer jobs. Many readers responded, telling me about their own factory work, their lifeguarding, their waitressing.
I wrote about my position at Donut Dip in East Longmeadow, Mass., where I sported a white polyester uniform and where I learned not only how to make a mean regular coffee but how to fold dozens of doughnut boxes at a speed that was entirely spectacular.
Last week, my nieces, daughters and I lazed around the pool and they spoke of their summer jobs.
One of my daughters is selling shoes and now is familiar with terms such as “bunions” and “hammertoes.” She can size a child’s foot and knows the popularity of Birkenstocks.
My other daughter works as a barista and can not only design a heart with froth but a tulip as well. She’s surrounded by coffee beans, high-end espresso machines, customers who request “flat whites” or “extra hot cappuccinos.”
But it was my ice-cream-serving niece who really made me sit up from my towel and, truly, have the most glorious summer laugh, when she provided insight into a seemingly benign summer job.
My niece scoops ice cream and mentioned nonchalantly that there’s an “OPC” at her shop. When I asked her what that meant, she explained, “Oh, it’s the Old People Cooler.”
“Really?” I asked. “What’s in it?”
Now, dear Budget Vogue readers, before you read on, I ask you to pause here and imagine what flavors of ice cream are in the “Old People Cooler.”
Really. Close your eyes. Think.
This has been a wonderful question I’ve asked “seasoned” friends on the beach — those over 50, that is. Most have been spot on and, on occasion, a little miffed that their go-to ice cream flavor can be found in the “OPC.” Can yours?
If you are a fan of Rum Raisin, you’re in the OPC. Pistachio? Yup. Maple Walnut? Butter Pecan? You’re in the OPC.
Grapenut Custard? Orange Pineapple? Butter Crunch? Sugar Free Coffee? All in the OPC.
Love your Sugar Free Black Raspberry? Yup, consider yourself seasoned, marvelously well-lived.
My own go-to flavor is chocolate chip, which, to my dismay, is located very near the OPC. I know it’s now often mixed with chocolate chip cookie dough, but, frankly, I’m a purist. I do not want any dough with my chocolate chip. And, I think I may have outed my age by using “frankly.” Oh, these kids.
So, dear Budget Vogue fashionistas, if you (or your ice cream) are in the OPC, not only are you cool, you are vintage. You are in a club these summer job employees will one day be in. And their OPC will undoubtedly have flavors with “Vegan” and “Gluten Free” and “Free range” in the title.
Enjoy your Budget Vogue summer — Maple Walnut, bunions, hammertoes and all.