Cream and punishment | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger ·

Law360 Canada (May 10, 2024, 2:32 PM EDT) --
Marcel Strigberger
Marcel Strigberger
Ice cream bars? Not what you think. I don’t mean those delicious Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars on a stick. I mean legislation in Milan, Italy, about to bar people from eating ice cream on the streets after midnight. The reason given is to ensure “peace and tranquility” for its residents during the nights as apparently there are many noisy groups crowding the streets eating ice cream.

Actually, I never made that connection, here in Toronto, between eating ice cream after midnight and making noise. I will say I have gotten the urge on occasion, under a full moon after taking a few licks of my double scoop, to shout out at the top of my lungs, “French vanilla! Yes!”  That’s understandable.

This expected ban raises some thoughts. Firstly, I imagine it will put some undue stress on ice cream aficionados as the midnight hour approaches. Imagine Cinderella dancing with the prince at the ball, and around 23:45 hours, she runs off in mid-dance telling his royal highness she just has to grab some gelato. Bewildered, he chases after her but all he finds eventually on the palace steps is a large waffle cone. He now must find Cinderella. He gets a DNA expert to visit the homes of all the maidens in the Lombardy region looking for the match. Poor bugger. Is this the kind of environment the local government wish to create?

Another question is how will Milan enforce the ban? Will they have special constables? Something like the Crema Carobinieri? We are talking a specially trained division that can readily spot ice cream offenders. To assist them, they use specially trained sniffing dogs, called something like canine caramello. They can detect a Neapolitan all the way to Napoli. 

More than likely, the constables would station themselves behind the bushes near a Ben and Jerry’s. When they see an offender, they jump out and shout, “You’re under arrest. Hands high where we can see them. And drop that Cherry Garcia.”

Or maybe, to ensure convictions, they’ll employ technology similar to the breathalyzers used to assess motor vehicle drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol. The cops order the suspect to blow into a roadside device and in seconds, it registers something like, “Rocky-Road-Baskin Robbins: 120 milligrams ice per millilitre cream.”

What is the world coming to!

And for every offence, there must be a penalty. What are the possibilities? A fine maybe? Jail? Who knows. If a similar law were passed in California, incarceration would not surprise me. I am thinking about that state’s three-strike legislation. Commit your third serious offence and you get 25 years to life. Will Milan push the envelope that far? I don’t know. I certainly would not want my client to face an angry judge on this type of offence. 

ANGRY JUDGE: You are in big trouble, sir. You keep violating the Dairy Queen Convention. Look at your sheet. May 7th, vanilla, June 22nd strawberry and now, pistachio. You’re done, mister. Strike three. I sentence you to life imprisonment. No chance of parole for 25 years.

Thinking about it, a stiff jail term in these parts may not be surprising. I recall some offenders going to jail for chipping off a brick from Rome’s Coliseum. Gladiator justice.

Then again it may be difficult at times for authorities in Milan to secure convictions. Given the nature of the product, there is a good chance the evidence seized will simply and quickly melt.


Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book, Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging, is available on Amazon (e-book) and in paper version. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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