Dad’s delicious recipe for catastrophe:

3 girls ages 7, 5 and 1

1 filthy minivan with balding tires

95-degree weather

All occupants of vehicle must be tired and hungry

Add in 3 impatient drivers behind you at a drive-through window

Bring to boil, stir and enjoy!

A bank drive-through? Yes, a bank. We actually had enough money at one time to warrant driving to the bank and making a deposit. It was a fairly unfamiliar ritual to me, but I would never admit that … it’s just not manly.

My older daughters have memories that would shame a nerdy elephant where sugar is at stake. For our little angels, the sole purpose of those pneumatic bank tubes and germ-infested trap-door capsules is candy delivery. Dum Dum delivery, to be precise.

Kids: “Dad, we want suckers! I want pink!” Kids: “Please Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Get us a sucker … OK?” Me: “Quiet please. … I’m trying to talk to the teller here!” Wife: “Honey, make sure and get them the Dum Dum suckers. They would like one grape, one orange, one pineapple … and get one rum flavor for me, OK Sweetie?”

No pressure …

There I sat, my hands on the steering wheel in a sweaty death grip, the teller looking at me as though I was being weighed, measured and found wanting. I didn’t recognize this teller. He was obviously new. When did this bank start allowing male tellers … wasn’t that illegal?

The last time I was here (had it been so long ago?) I remembered a nice, attractive young blonde’s flirtatious smile.

Nice blonde teller: “Thanks for your business today … it looks like you have little ones with you. How many suckers would you like?” Me: “Oh! Ummm, thanks. Uh, can we have three? One blue, one pink and one green?” Nice blonde teller: “Sure, Sweetie! Here you go … have a great day and come again soon!” Me: “Aww shucks. Thanks!”

Yes, I had fond memories of previous visits to this bank … memories that quickly fled before the dull gaze of the pimpled dude staring at me impatiently.

Stupid kid teller: “Will there be anything else?” He was eyeing the growing lineup of cars behind me. Me: “Um … yeah, I have some kids with me today ….” Stupid kid teller: Blank stare. Wife: “Go ahead … tell him we want the Dum Dum suckers. You remember the flavors?”

What was happening? Wouldn’t it be obvious to the dumbest of creatures that we needed candy? I give the bank MY money for safekeeping … and now I’m forced to grovel for Dum Dums?

Me: “Yeah, I’d like four Dumbbell Popsicles please ….”

Wait, that didn’t sound right. “Dumbbell Popsicles?” My wife’s startled gasp and subsequent muffled laughter drove me further into my blundering madness.

Stupid kid teller: “Dumbbell Popsicles?”

I didn’t like his tone.

Me: “No, I meant … uh, we’d like four Dum Dum icicles!” Stupid kid teller: “Dum Dum icicles? We don’t have any of those either.” His confusion was palpable.

My wife’s "silent" laughter was beginning to shake the entire minivan. The kids had perplexed looks on their faces.

What kind of confectionary marketing genius decided it was a good idea to name hard sugar on a stick a Dum Dum sucker?

Ordering candy from that factory would be a lesson in abject humiliation: “I’d like a box of Dum Dum suckers and two boxes of Moronic Mint Melts."

I was cracking. The pressure inside me had reached a critical mass and I couldn’t contain it any longer. I could SEE the Dum Dums in a wicker basket just inside the teller’s bulletproof window! There they were, and this teller dude was openly mocking my attempts to save face in front of my family.

Stupid kid teller: “I’m sorry, we need to help the next person in line, can you please pull forward?”

I had experienced road-rage before, but never while idling at the bank drive-through.

My flustered fury erupted.

I glared down the clueless teller and motioned toward the Dum Dums in the basket. I roared one word I knew even he could comprehend:


Beads of sweat glistened on Mr. Teller’s forehead as he quickly grabbed for a handful of Dum Dums, his hands trembling with fear, and dumped them into the transport tube.

Stupid kid teller: “Here ya go, Sir!” His voice quivered like a bowl of warm, agitated Jell-O. “Thanks for your business …” His finger was on the panic button.

As we drove off, my daughters gleefully fought over the 20 Dum Dums we had just scored. My wife was wiping away tears of laughter, her water-proof mascara had smeared, and she was distracted.

I quickly grabbed the only rum Dum Dum in the pile of suckers, and chomped it with great satisfaction. Rum is actually a really good flavor … for a Dum Dum!

Gary Bracken is a self-employed online marketing secret agent. He enjoys MANY titles including: Head Cheese, CEO, Janitor, Garbage Guy, Incident Manager and Don Juan on Friday date nights with the wife. He can be reached at [email protected].