You mean ice cream comes in flavors besides chocolate?

If you go for mint chocolate chip ice cream, should you marry someone who loves butter pecan or rocky road?

As further evidence that human beings have offically run out of things to do, executives at Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream have commissioned an actual honest-to-goodness scientific study into this very question.

The study was conducted by Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. (Note to self: send resume.)

The results of the study are shocking. You may think the most shocking thing about this study is that someone was actually paid money to do it.

But no.

Even more shocking is that even more people got paid to send out a press release on it. Environmentalists estimate that 3.2 million trees gave their lives so that editors across the land could have another piece of paper to wad up and throw away.

Fortunately, at least one copy escaped the circular file. My editor knows of my deep and abiding interest in ice cream. She quickly faxed me a study of the press release, knowing, just knowing, I'd have something to say about it.

Well, I do.

I find the whole thing very educational. The press release mentions at least 10 different flavors of ice cream. There are that many?

Amazing. I know some ice cream parlor boasts 48 flavors, but I figured they were referring to their cones.

I always thought ice cream only came in chocolate. I never even really thought of chocolate as a flavor, more like one of the four basic food groups (the other three being pizza, cheeseburger and Arby's).

Although I knew of the existence of vanilla, I figured it was created more or less as a mixer. Like vodka. Useless by itself, it existed primarily for sissies too squeamish to drink chocolate syrup straight from the can.

Turns out some people consider it an actual flavor. Go figure. The same goes for mint chocolate chip. Yuck. Too much mint and not enough chocolate.

I have a real problem with the whole chocolate "chip" concept. They ought to reverse it -- make purely chocolate ice cream with only flecks of vanilla.

Anyway, the study breaks all these strange flavors down as to what they say about people's personalities.

Mint chocolate chip lovers, for example, tend to be a bit on the skeptical side. They supposedly "look for the tarnish on any silver lining."

I could've told you that. The poor blighters aren't getting enough chocolate. The few teasing bits of chocolate they do get are hopelessly tainted with mint. If I want mint, I'll eat my toothpaste.

Here's something to make you gag. There are people out there who actually like coffee-flavored ice cream. Eeewww! I can barely stand coffee-flavored coffee, let alone letting that bitter taste ruin perfectly good ice cream.

Coffee lovers supposedly thrive on new and exciting adventures.

Of course they're always searching. Somewhere, deep inside, they must know there is more to life than ice cream that tastes like a mouth full of cigar ashes.

Coffee lovers, according to the study, are most compatible with strawberry lovers. The butter pecan people should hook up with the mint chocolate chip people who, in turn, should really only mate with their own kind.

No mention is made of us chocolate folk. Personally, I think we're safe hooking up with just about anyone. Unlike the people who fritter their lives away on butter pecan or pistachio, we're in tune with the great secret of the universe.

Namely, that all other "flavors" are mere illusion. There is only chocolate.

Comforted by the serenity that comes with true enlightenment, we can view the folly of others with compassion and a certain amount of amusement.

If our mate doesn't like chocolate, well, to each his or her own.

It just means more for us.


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