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Slurpee Turns 40 & Addicts Are Going Strong

This article is NOT an endorsement of Slurpees or any other sugary candy or drink. I’m writing about this popular American drink simply to illustrate how people posit a huge importance on their favorite desserts.

Ah, many folks do tend to wax rhapsodic and and mystified when thinking their favorite sugar fix.

How well I remember when I used to put certain desserts on a pedestal, too, so to speak. Thank goodness those days are over, because I’m so much happier, and healthier now.

But check out this beautifully written Slate piece article about "The Slurpee At 40: Has it grown up?" by David Amsden, which does a magnificent job explaining how Slurpees have almost become an American icon. (It seems the writer’s hooked, too.) Here are a few choice sections:

"Is my beloved Slurpee looking to reinvent itself, Gatsby-like, as a pseudo-sophisticated drinkable dessert? How long until my editor asks me to grab a Slurpee so we can discuss my next piece?"

Here, Amsden delves into the Slurpee’s origins:

"The Slurpee, like so many great innovations and perfectly nice human beings, was an accident. In the late ’50s, a Kansas Dairy Queen owner named Omar Knedlik found his soda machine was on the fritz. He tossed some bottles of pop in the freezer and discovered people went into conniptions for the slushy texture that resulted when the soda partially froze. Wheels turned. He invented a machine to slushify water, CO2, and flavored syrup. In 1965, 7-Eleven bought the machines from Knedlik, hired an ad copywriter to coin an irresistible name, and the Slurpee was born."

Writer Amsden then goes a bit overboard (but entertainly so) in an effort to pinpoint why Americans get so hooked on the slushy, sugary stuff.

"But enough with the logistics. Explaining the appeal of the Slurpee is a bit like explaining the appeal of pure oxygen or terrific sex: Those who don’t get it are simply not to be trusted. Slurpees are divine because of their unapologetic garishness, a giddy reminder that no amount of sugar is ever too much. That the expression "brainfreeze"—meaning the needling headache brought on by drinking something too cold too quickly—was trademarked in 1994 says it all: The point is masochistic, to find pleasure in pain, to embrace evil over good."

Ah come on, "divine"? Isn’t this an entertaining article? You can’t be trusted if you "don’t get it"? This is funny.

The following sections also provide some interesting insights:

"Michael Jackson reportedly plunked down $75.62 to install a Slurpee machine at Neverland Ranch. Eleven million Slurpees are sold each month and hit the eager palate at a cryogenic 28 degrees. In total some 6 billion brains have been frozen since the dawn of the Slurpee.

"(Sometimes this is taken too literally: Near my Maryland home, a teen was recently convicted of murdering another teen for trying to buy a girl a Slurpee.) My point here is to say that it’s not (too) hyperbolic to equate drinking a Slurpee with surrendering to the greed and gluttony that is being a chronically shortsighted, diabolically unthinking American. In this, the Slurpee serves as a precursor to everything else 7-Eleven is about: namely, smoking cigarettes and drinking too much beer. (The franchise is the nation’s No. 1 retailer of Budweiser.)"

Don’t stop at this article, though. Now, you simply have to read some of these pained, but self-mocking descriptions from people of how they’re incorrigibly hooked on Slurpees.

This site — which I discovered while working on my upcoming book, SUGAR SHOCK — is dedicated to Slurpee drinkers, who feel outright addicted. It lists many, many outrageous symptoms of addiction, some of which are playful, but most of which, evidently are true.

Need help getting over your sugar addiction? Join my free, online KickSugar group now.

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3 thoughts on “Slurpee Turns 40 & Addicts Are Going Strong

  1. What a great little blog. I have Type II Diabetes and am just coming to terms with all the do’s and don’t. Thanys for all the useful infomation.
    Cheers, Ashleigh

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