The other day I was making a rather lengthy trek across Oakland with my wife when we stopped to get a little refreshment. Once inside, I began to make my selection, and I was suddenly confronted with this question: When did 7-11 lose their hold on the Icee Bear? According to Al Gore's Internet, it was way back in 1967 that 7-11 began selling their own version of the partially frozen soft drinks. I really want to believe this, but I have very vivid memories of seeing the red-sweatered polar bear sipping from the iconic striped cup at my local 7-11 store. Could it be that I was only five when this change occurred?
Or is it possible that the change from Icee to Slurpee happened over a period of years, giving me a chance to become attached, unnecessarily, to the mascot and logo of one, only to be replaced by the somewhat less consumer-friendly of the other. Maybe I am simply projecting my experiences with Icee from another venue on those I would have expected to have at 7-11. Which all leads to one inescapable question: How could it possibly matter?
Another nice thing about Al Gore's Internet is the opportunity to check your minute obsessions against those of others. There are plenty of folks out there who will gladly go on pontificating about their preference: Icee versus Slurpee. I might naively lumped them together as one in my mind if not for the words and images of those with much more free time on their hands. Perhaps the most important distinction for me is the fact that Slurpees are made with "real Coca-Cola". You can get a cola-flavored Icee, but it could be any cola.
7-11 has that kind of clout. That's why they licensed the frozen treat in the first place, way back whenever it was. Every July 11 you can get a free 7.11 ounce Slurpee for free to celebrate all that is 7-11. Then you can try driving all around town trying to find an Icee machine. See if you get that for free. Maybe I don't miss that polar bear so much after all.