In news that will devastate literally dozens of people, some of whom may be fully grown adults, Tip Top have announced they will be discontinuing Goody Goody Gum Drops ice cream. In a posssible case of burying bad news, the company have also discontinued the far superior Cookies and Cream flavour. But nobody’s talking about that.
I came across the Goody Goody Gum Drops news while scrolling through The Guardian website. The Guardian is a respected UK newspaper but there it was: “Goody Goody Gumdrops to be removed from shelves”. It was reported in much the same tone as the Guardian reports many stories from New Zealand: like that time we voted for a bat in the bird of the year competition, or when that really wooly sheep turned up, or when Steven Joyce got hit in the face with a dildo.
I wasn’t surprised by the news itself– Goody Goody Gum Drops is objectively terrible and should never have been marketed as food in the first place. I was, however, taken aback by the source of the story (a reputable foreign press outlet), and the fact that The Guardian described GGGD as ‘bubblegum flavoured’. Is that what they were going for? I always thought of GGGD as green flavoured. Or deceptively-not-mint flavoured. Or sugar-and-whatever-esters-are-lying-around flavoured. But no, bubblegum apparently.
Everyone knows, the only good thing about GGGDs were the gum drops. Not that they were the best gumdrops in all the land, and they were always too cold to be able to differnentiate between the flavours, or even chew, but at least they were better than the ice cream.
My father loved GGGDs and there was always a two litre container of the stuff in the family freezer. Once Dad had broken the smooth surface of a virgin tub, it was open season on the gumdrops. I became highly skilled at mining the brightly-coloured gems from the weird, lurid dirt of the ice cream, and then carefully covering my tracks with the help of a teaspoon run under the hot tap for a few seconds. Smooth over the bore holes and no one was any the wiser.
My father would complain vehemently about the plummeting gum drop to ice cream ratio. He was not by nature a writer of angry letters. But angry letters he did write, firing off furious missives to Tip Top on a near weekly basis. The letters became more and more unhinged as time went on, and the gum drops became fewer and fewer. To Tip Top’s enduring credit, they would always reply in the politest possible terms and would even include the odd voucher for a compensatory tub of ice cream now and again.
It was only after my father’s death, on the day before his funeral while we were swapping funny stories about my dad, that I confessed my crimes to my mother. When I told her, she looked at me in astonishment, which I took to be horror at the moral depravity her son was capable of. But no.
As it turned out, she had been doing the same thing for years, using exactly the same warm-teaspoon technology to cover her tracks. My father never suspected a thing, nor did we suspect each other. In retrospect, the fact that we restricted this familial genius for the criminal to pillaging my father’s gum drops seems a bit wasteful.
So, farewell Goody Goody Gum Drops. You looked weird, you tasted terrible, you caused me to steal from my own father, and now you’re gone. Shame about Cookies and Cream, though.