Marriage Dissolution Announcement

This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  I do not take this matter lightly.  This decision affects everyone in my household and – depending on how carefully it’s crafted – might affect my family for a generation or more.

After 19 years of intense monogamy, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the dissolution of my relationship with 7-Eleven.

I’ll never forget how we met.  Picture this: 1995.  Cell phones weren’t around yet and the internet was nothing to speak of (I fondly remember those nights waiting thirty minutes for a fake nude of Xena, Warrior Princess to download); I was part of the last generation to eagerly anticipate the arrival of my driver’s license.  When I got it, it was time for a drive.  On Wednesdays my friends and I would go to the comic book store to check out the latest from Todd McFarlane; on Fridays we’d go to Burger King after the game.  Sometimes we’d go to Flint to play a little game of “Don’t Get Stabbed!” and sometimes we’d go to Swartz Creek to see a friend who thought Beavis and Butthead was gospel.  On the way there, we stopped at 7-Eleven.

Maybe I'm looking at her through rose-colored glasses but: she's perfect.

Maybe I’m looking at her through rose-colored glasses but: she’s perfect.

In concept, a Frozen Coke from K-Mart and a Slurpee from 7-Eleven are the same thing – they’re both fountain soda that’s filled with ice and constantly stirred until a handsome young buck such as myself decides to take a chance and ask for a date – but the Slurpee was something different entirely.  It had a divine consistency – it didn’t melt right away nor was it filled with air bubbles – we had an instant connection.  It also had a terrific countenance – the syrup never filled up the bottom of the cup while leaving the top just a glorified snow cone – we could easily sit for an hour or more without overstaying our welcome.  Even the dressing was good: the cup wasn’t too heavy (this Slurpee didn’t think it was highfalutin) and the straw wasn’t too big (I could take my time; we didn’t have to do everything at once).  A Slurpee was flawless.

Trying not to ruin it, I wanted this relationship to be casual.  I would go on periodic “Slurpee Runs” throughout high school.  It was a good half-hour drive to the nearest 7-Eleven, but every week or two I would get a itch that nothing else could scratch and would find myself back in the arms of my Slurpee.  Things started to get serious when I went to college.

Any drink that is a color not found in nature is automatically worth trying.

Any drink that is a color not found in nature is automatically worth trying.

By accident I lived a jogging trail away from a 7-Eleven.  It was around this time that I met The Wife (who was eventually open to my relationship with Slurpee and sometimes even participated).  It was also around this time that 7-Eleven offered the large Slurpee for the same price as a medium.  I was hooked.

I started to get a Slurpee practically every day.  A large Slurpee.  With an even better cup and an even better spoonstraw.  With even better flavors (Surge! was my favorite, followed closely by half orange / half Coke).  I felt like we were complete.  The Slurpee was perfected.

Then little things started happening.  Little signs of aging appeared.

The cup design started changing a little (highfalutin).  There was suddenly a huge variety of spoonstraw colors (trying to capture a younger demographic).  The price went to two dollars (all the competitor pricing is half that).  Surge! was discontinued.  The orange flavor was hard to come by… As any man will tell you, it’s difficult to move backward when a relationship once satisfied you so completely.  But I kept if going.  I’m nothing if not faithful.

I moved way out here in 2004.  The nearest 7-Eleven is, and this is no exaggeration, 33 miles away.  I kept this relationship going despite the distance and despite reciprocation I once felt from my Slurpee.  Then, in 2006, I was betrayed.

Above the green line is the correct method: Side-Pulls.  Below the green line is an abomination: Pull-Downs.

Above the green line is the correct method: Side-Pulls. Below the green line is an abomination: Pull-Downs.

7-Eleven went almost exclusively to Pull-Downs on their Slurpee machines in late 2006.  This method is what’s used at the Frozen Coke machine in K-Mart.  Slurpees no longer came in my favorite cup using my favorite straw, nor were they offered in my favorite flavor; now the consistency was ruined along with the countenance.  I felt like it was over.

Eventually, after about six months or so, 7-Eleven went back to Side-Pulls.  Swearing off Pull-Downs for good, they promised they wouldn’t change.  But it was too late.  The damage was done.  I noticed the imperfections now.  A Slurpee was no longer the angel I thought it to be.

Since then I’ve done my best to keep the spark alive.  I’ll get a New Intense Flavor Mountain Dew Slurpee (which tastes a lot like a Surge! and not much like a Dew) if I’m in the neighborhood.  Sometimes I’ll even go on Slurpee Runs with the kids just to pass the time.  But that’s all it’s really been since 2006: just passing time.

Notice the build-up of "juice" at the bottom.  To me, this is like looking at a dead kitten.

Notice the build-up of “juice” at the bottom. To me, this is like looking at a dead kitten.

In June, all of the 7-Eleven stores got new Slurpee machines.  Although they are still Side-Pulls, they have the consistency of Pull-Downs.  They’re full of air, they melt too quickly, syrup congeals at the bottom while leaving nothing but ice on the top…  These new Slurpees remind me of Frozen Cokes, and Frozen Cokes are just great memories.  I can’t keep a relationship alive based on how things used to be; I can’t keep it going based on a memory.

So that’s it.  We’ve grown apart.  Sometimes these things just happen.  I can get a slushy at any gas station in America for half the price of these new Slurpees and it will contain the same awful consistency and demeanor.

I can only hope that these traits will make someone else as happy as I used to be.


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