That’s right, it’s Free Slurpee Day at 7-11! Do you know why? Because it’s July 11th! Or 7/11! Get it?
Alright, it’s a bad joke, I know. But it is true: today is Free Slurpee Day, an annual occurrence I usually don’t remember until the day or so after. But hey, maybe I’ll do something about it this year.
Growing up, we didn’t really do much in the way of eating out, especially for sweets. But when I was in high school and teaching martial arts, a trend started of going down to the nearest 7-11 and getting the biggest Slurpees we could. Now when you’re that young and that active, this isn’t as bad of an idea as it initially sounds. Then again, this is the same group of people that used to go to the Pizza Hut lunch buffet and try to see how high they could get the plates stacked, so maybe we weren’t exactly the best judges of our behavior. After all, there was one instructor in our group that could eat two Chipotle burritos in one sitting. Don’t ask me how; I can barely finish one.
But I digress. I was talking about Slurpees. There’s a technique involved, we discovered, to getting the most mileage out of your slushy sugar water. You can’t just fill up a cup and go. No, if you want to do it properly, it has to be tamped down. After all, it comes out of the machine fairly light and foamy. But if you take the time (read: several minutes during which the cashiers likely became more and more annoyed with us) to let it settle, tapping the cup against something solid like the counter or your hand, you could get a whole lot more for you money.
We also layered flavors, tamping between each one. Maybe you started off with Coke, then on to whatever blue monstrosity they were calling “fruit” that day. Then something else. And so on. Sure, it became a disgusting melange by the end, but it was worth it, especially if you were indecisive like me.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Slurpee consumption was a dangerous pastime, real risk of serious harm. I’m of course talking about the brain freeze.
Maybe other people didn’t have this problem. For me, it was never a matter of “if” I would get a brain freeze; it was a matter of “when” and “how many.” Think about it: you’re a kid with a massive cup of frozen sugar water in your hands. Are you going to savor that experience, or are you going to be sucking on that straw like a hummingbird on crack? I think my top count for brain freezes ended up being somewhere in the double digits. I even had a technique to make them go away quicker. It involved clenching the back of my throat in an attempt to increase blood flow. But I’d inevitably be right back to drinking the Slurpee, no matter how hard I tried to pause and give my poor head time to warm back up.
Today, courting brain freezes is pretty much a thing of the past. I do still occasionally get overenthusiastic with ice cream or whatnot, but the prospect of getting a bucket-sized serving of Slurpee doesn’t hold the same appeal it used to. Now, it just makes my pancreas cringe.