I’m thinkin’ I’m bound to get a brain freeze later today. I’m thinkin’ I’m bound to do it intentionally. Here on the 11th day of the seventh month, 7-11 is serving up free slurpees all day.
Don’t say I never passed along any crucial information on this blog.
Today is 7-11’s 82 birthday, and as a promotion they are giving away their most ubiquitous confection.
In my mind, Slurpees are always connected to childhood and summer. Growing up in Dallas, I always saw more Slurpees than “ICEES,” and I was always confused about the connection between the two. Turns out, Southland Corporation, the original parent company of 7-11 licensed the Slurpee from the ICEE people.
But the truth of the Slurpee is that 7-11 comes from Southland Corporation, which original came from the “Southland Ice Company.” 7-11 is now the largest chain retailer in the world, besting even McDonalds. And it all started right here in Dallas, Texas.
As you might imagine, Slurpee has its own website now. And at the website, there is a fun video that tells the history of Slurpee.
It’s worth seeing.
Here are just some of the crucial facts to know about Slurpees, as taken from the Official Slurpee Website:
* Slurpee drinks are all served at 28 degrees.
* Early prototypes for the Slurpee machine made use of an automobile air conditioning unit.
* Slurpee was “invented” when some sodas were put in a freezer to cool them down — and they became all slushy.
* Bob Stanford, a 7-Eleven agency director, coined the term “Slurpee” in 1967.
* Winnipeg, Canada is generally thought to be the Slurpee capital of the world, due to their amazing Slurpee fanaticism.
* When Slurpee first hit the market, it wasn’t self-serve. The machine was behind the counter and the clerk served the product to you.
* At Slurpee, we call it a BrainFreeze. The scientific name for it is Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia. Really.
* Slurpee drinks are carbonated.
* Slurpee Day is July 11th.
* Sugar is the anti-freezing agent in most Slurpee drinks.
* American Slurpee is injected with air. Canadian Slurpee is not.
* Half of all Slurpee drinks are purchased between the hours of 4 and 11 p.m.
* Every day more than 11.6 million Slurpee drinks are consumed around the world.
* Pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth is a known cure for brainfreeze.
* In 2004, 7-Eleven created an edible Slurpee straw.
* In 1998, Slurpee Lip Balm hit the market.
* More than 40% of all Slurpee drinks are sold during the months of June, July and August.
* Every year enough Slurpee drinks are sold to fill up 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
* Only one private individual owns a bona fide Slurpee machine. The rest are in 7-Eleven.
* The average Slurpee drinker’s age is 29.
Wikipedia has a list of Slurpee flavors, which also seems important to pass along to you here. I also took note of the fact that Slurpees are also apparently considered both “Kosher and “Hallal.”
Slurpees were first marketed in ’67, which explains why I have such clear memories of them as a kid. There is nothing, nothing NOTHING better in all the world on a hot summer day than a cold Slurpee. I remember getting them with Mom and Dad, and remember what a treat that was.
But most often, I remember getting them with John Ramey and Kevin Moore. On hot summer days that seems to last for years, we’d ride our bikes two blocks over to Preston Hollow Park. We play baseball on the sandlot there, careful to avoid the dried cracks in the sod, opened up by weeks and weeks of no rain. Sometimes, in my memory, those cracks were big enough to get your foot stuck in.
When we’d had enough, we’d ride our bikes over to the 7-11 on Hillcrest, near Northwest Highway. (In those days, it was not on the corner, where it is now. It was about halfway, back up the block…)
Our main mission was to get baseball cards. We’d consider buying some other snacks, watch some hippie buy some cigarettes, and nonchalantly gaze over at the mystery of Playboy magazines. But we always walked out with nothing but baseball cards and Slurpees.
Just behind the 7-11 are some doctor’s offices. We’d sit on the steps there, and open our treasures, sometimes even trading cards right there on the spot. We’d slurp those drinks in the shade of the parking lot and know that there was almost nothing better in life right at that moment.
A source of great parental pride is that I’ve been able to pass on a love of Slurpees to Maria. Taught her to use the machine to fix her own. Taught her the mysteries of mixing your flavors to create a Slurpee Suicide. I’m quite proud of that, and mighty please when, these days, she’s the one to suggest we stop in to get one.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the amazing invention of the Slurpee machine led directly to the invention of the Frozen Margarita, something else straight out of my fair city.
The original frozen margarita machine is now at the Smithsonian. Wonder if they have the original Slurpee machine?
But I know this: everybody needs a Slurpee. And, today, you can get you one for free. So, go crazy. Why not? You *know* you like it. And as you’re slurping it down, enjoy the brain freeze, the break from another 100 degree day, and remember one more thing to like about Texas.