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The Smartt View

The Smartt View

Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11:26 pm
By: Lisa Smartt

Chocolate milk can be a toxic and destructive substance.  This is the tale of that fateful day we’ll never forget.  It’s the firsthand story of the 2010 New York City massacre – the chocolate milk massacre.
Our family of four recently drove into New York City.  Yes, you read correctly. 
We DROVE a car into New York City.  I know.  I know.  Everyone says, “Whatever you do, don’t DRIVE into New York City.”  Crazy cab drivers.  Crowded streets.  Honking horns.  It’s as though all those tall buildings magically suck the kindness quotient from the air.  But we were not thwarted.  My dear hubby was determined to complete the monumental task.  The first thing we had to do was find a parking garage near our hotel.  We had done extensive research online.  We had a well-organized and flawless plan.  Famous last words.
We learned a valuable lesson that day. Owning a parking garage in New York City is like owning a Coke machine in the middle of the Sahara Desert.  They hold the power of the universe in their hands.  Customer service?  Completely unnecessary.  Eventually, in sheer desperation, we placed the car in the hands of a questionable individual in a dark alley for $40 a day.  Don’t judge.  If you were crawling through the Sahara Desert on all fours, you’d gladly pay $10 for an ice cold Coke.  And no, you wouldn’t care if the person who sold it to you had dirty fingernails either.
Three days later we cheerfully picked up the car.  But all was not right with the world.  “Gosh, it stinks in here.”  “Maybe it’s just where the car was parked next to that huge garbage dumpster. It’ll get better.”  We rolled down all the windows and tried to remain optimistic as we drove from the city.  But the smell got worse.  I maligned big city life by insinuating that the parking guy had planted some kind of stink bomb.  But that didn’t make sense.  Stealing our credit card number?  Maybe.  But the stink bomb theory? Not very plausible.
Eventually the odor began to make us physically sick.  Phil pulled into a rest stop in Connecticut where we searched the car like a highly-trained bomb squad.  And there it was.  A small half-empty bottle of chocolate milk from the McDonald’s at Parker’s Crossroads.  Yep!  The milk had been “cooking” since breakfast on Day One. Now it was chocolate cottage cheese.  After removing the offender (the milk bottle, not the boy) we felt overly confident.  But no.  The odor remained almost as strong as before.  Thirty minutes later, in front of a downtown drug store in New Canaan, Connecticut, Phil stripped the car like a police officer on an I-40 drug raid. 
He sprayed every physical object in that car with Febreze.  Several times.  We shook car mats.  We rolled down windows.  The sophisticated residents of this lovely little New England town walked past as every redneck item we owned was stacked on the sidewalk.  We sat on the concrete to “wait it out.” In one of the most historical and beautiful areas of the country, we eventually conquered the horrid smell. The next day we stood at Lexington and Concord and drove past Bunker Hill.  But the battle our boys will most remember?  No doubt it will be the Chocolate Milk Massacre of 2010.
Published in The WCP 7.15.10

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