Case of Melting Sorbet

Sep 15, 2001

RAY: On the hottest day of the summer, my mother was driving her decrepit '88 Toyota Corolla from New York City to Philadelphia with her significant other. They were going to a wedding, and the bride had asked them to courier a shipment of gourmet, frozen sorbet centerpieces from a little known sorbet emporium in Queens. Believe it or not, sorbet centerpieces are considered quite the thing at wedding receptions. At least in Philadelphia. At the emporium, they loaded a crate packed with sorbet centerpieces into the back seat of the car. The merchant warned them that they had three hours before the sorbet would begin to melt. Philadelphia is two hours away. Flushed with the urgency of their charge, they set out.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: All went well until they ran into bumper to bumper traffic.

TOM: Oh man!

RAY: Heading over the 59th Street bridge. You knew it had to happen.

TOM: Sure.

RAY: Significant other began showing symptoms of cardiac distress, and mom changed course to New York hospital.

TOM: Oh man!

RAY: The next thing she knew, a policeman was reviving her! She had lost consciousness and crashed into a guardrail, but was miraculously uninjured. She recovered sufficiently to drive significant other to the hospital. A full cardiac workup showed no medical problem. The sorbet must go through! So, they set out again, having lost an hour. Now, they're in trouble.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Significant other had a few more rough moments as they passed through the Lincoln Tunnel, but he seemed to have recovered on the Jersey Turnpike. The story has a happy ending. They made it to the wedding with moments to spare and without further incident. The sorbet was a smashing success.

TOM: Wait a minute, what could the question possibly be? Go ahead. Go ahead, keep going!

RAY: Keep going? I'm done!

TOM: You're done?

RAY: I'm done.

TOM: Well, isn't there a question?

RAY: I don't know. A full cardiac workup showed no medical problem. The question is: what happened? They loaded the sorbet, they get into hot days. Hot, hot day! They have to hurry. They have to rush to Philadelphia.

TOM: Yeah?

RAY: The guy says, you got three hours. They know Philadelphia's two hours away.

TOM: Yeah?

RAY: They're crossing the 59th Street bridge, the old man starts to show symptoms of a heart attack.

TOM: Yeah?

RAY: She changes course for New York hospital.

TOM: Yeah?

RAY: The next thing she knows, a cop is reviving her.

TOM: Her?

RAY: Her! She takes him to the hospital because she's concerned. Damn the sorbets!

TOM: Yeah, for a moment at least.

RAY: For a moment. When they found out he's all right...

TOM: Back in the car!

RAY: Back in the car. The sorbets must go on.

TOM: OK, so you've just divulged that it really, her significant other, was actually a person. We didn't know that before.

RAY: I did, didn't I? Well, the question is: what happened?

RAY: The question is: what happened? And you have all the facts. You don't need to, you think you may have all the facts. You don't have all the facts. You're missing one important piece of information.

TOM: Yeah, but I do know that the hot summer day had a lot to do with it.

RAY: Indeed it did, because the Sorbet King had packed these little sorbets, these centerpieces, in dry ice.

TOM: Ah! Ah!

RAY: And dry ice, as you may not know...

TOM: I do know. I'm a chemical engineer by trade!

RAY: I was speaking to our audience.

TOM: Oh.

RAY: To the other person that's listening... Is solidified carbon dioxide.

TOM: How do they do that?

RAY: They squeeze it a lot. And as it sublimates from a solid into a gas, it displaced, in this case, the oxygen that was in the car.

TOM: In the car, because they had the windows up and the air conditioner on, probably.

RAY: Because it was what? A hot day.

TOM: It was a hot summer day.

RAY: Indeed. And of course, significant other began to show symptoms of cardiac arrest because...

TOM: He couldn't breathe!

RAY: And of course...

TOM: You do have shortness of breath if you're breathing in CO2.

RAY: And Mumsy crashed into the guardrail for the same reason.

TOM: Sure. Passed out.

RAY: Of course, as soon as the policeman came and opened the door...

TOM: Ha!

RAY: ...oxygen rushed in, and by the time they got the significant other to the hospital, he was all right, too, because he had -- what? -- started breathing again.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Who's our winner, Tommy?

TOM: Wow! That's a great one!

RAY: By the way, David Horowitz sent that in. Good work, David!

TOM: David. I hope he's still alive!

RAY: I'm sure he is.

TOM: The winner this week is Sarah E. Ice. Ice. I-C-E.

RAY: How appropriate!

TOM: My God! How appropriate! CO2! Dry ice!

RAY: That's probably why she got it.

TOM: Sarah E. Ice from Stratford, Connecticut.

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