Dangerous Hiring Practices

A glittering jewel of perfection. (This definition can apply to the snack, the jewelry, or Erin, depending on who's asking)I love Snowballs.

For those of you who don’t live in New Orleans and think I’ve finally flipped my gourd, allow me to explain.

A “Snowball” is a frozen treat made of very finely shaved ice topped with flavored syrup. Now, those of you who live in the north are probably saying, “Oh, he means a Sno-Cone.” No, my friends. No. A Sno-Cone, with all due respect, is not fit to melt at the foot of a New Orleans-style Snowball Stand. The ice is shaved much finer, the syrup filtering down into every nook and cranny, and if you add a bonus topping such as condensed milk… this is the frozen snack food of the gods. (Literally. It’s not a coincidence that every Snowball Stand in Louisiana offers “nectar” as a standard flavor option.) It’s a treat so emblematic of our region that local jeweler Mignon Faget created a line of pendants based on the Snowball, and I gave one to Erin for her birthday, and her niece tried to eat it.

That’s how good they are.

I could easily devour these things every day, but in an act of extreme self-control and denial, I typically manage to restrict my intake to one every week or two. The issue, therefore, is that since I don’t get them as often as I would like, there are a great many flavors that don’t quite make my rotation. That becomes even more complicated by the fact that the best Snowball Stand on my route home from work happens to employ a very large, bemuscled gentleman with a beard that makes mine feel bad about itself. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very friendly chap and highly competent at his job. But when I step up to the stand to order from this guy who looks like he may have taken my lunch money in high school, I look at the menu of nearly thirty delectable flavors and find myself incapable of ordering anything that would make me sound too much like a wuss.

You can’t go up to a dude this size and order a “Margarita” flavored Snowball. Or a “Pina Colada.” Or, god forbid, “Passion Fruit.” You have to stay with very basic flavors. “Grape” is safe, or “Orange,” or “Lemon.” You can get away with “Green Apple,” since there’s an implied sourness to the flavor, but for the most part, you’re restricted to the flavors you would get if you bought a pack of eight scented markers, because if you look a dude like this in the eye and ordered a “Strawberry Cheesecake” flavored Snowball, you just freaking know you’d be walking away from that stand with a wedgie.

So on behalf of other insecure males everywhere, I have a request to make of the Snowball Stand operators of New Orleans: stop hiring people tougher than us. The following are acceptable concession workers, because they are in no way threatening and therefore safe to order a Dreamsicle Snowball from:

  • Young mothers whose only reaction to any given flavor will be to tell you how their 14-month-old reacted when they let them try it.
  • Teenagers who are still immature enough that you suspect they’re pouring the syrup on the counter and trying to conjure up ant races when business is slow.
  • Somebody’s grandmother. Anybody’s grandmother, really.
  • Males that are a minimum of 18 inches shorter than me, provided they have not earned a belt in any documented martial art and possess a maximum of three bladed weapons. (Sorry, Kenny.)
  • Emmanuel Lewis.
With any of these individuals helming your frozen snack enterprise, your business shall rise exponentially. At least at the stand closest to my home. Thank you for your consideration.
Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the upcoming suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com.

1 Response to “Dangerous Hiring Practices”

  1. August 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    The actual difference between Snowballs, Shaved Ice and Snow Cones? The flavors. There was a discussion about it on a radio show I listened to. I’d always assumed it was the consistency of the ice.

    Being unbelievably predictable, I have had the same flavor snowball since I was 5 (adding up to thousands by now): Bubblegum Snowball with vanilla ice cream. It’s like God telling you he loves you and giving you a puppy.. in your mouth. You know what I mean. It also turns your bowel movements a most lovely and festive shade of green.

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