Captain Edward J. Smith sunk the Titanic, killing 1,500 people, but do we call him Iceberg Edward?
Perez Hilton draws splooge on thousands of paparazzi pics, but do we call him Digital Jizz Perez?
Steve Jobs created the iPhone and now we have the attention span of goldfish, but do we call him Short-Term Memory Loss Steve? Wait, what was I talking about?
So why is Mary Mallon stuck with the nickname Typhoid Mary? Sure, she infected 51 people with a potentially fatal bacterial disease, but why should that define her? Only three of those people died, so she was barely homicidal. She was more “serial killer adjacent.”
Typhoid Mary was a cook from Cookstown. (Proof that, despite what your creative writing professor told you, life really is on the nose.) She worked for wealthy families in New York City in the early 1900s, and was an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. Which means she appeared healthy while everyone around her developed 104° fevers.
But sometimes when you find your passion in life, you have to accidentally kill a few people along the way. Doctors informed Mary she was a carrier, but she continued cooking. Mary’s apron should have read: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of my disease-carrying kitchen!”
Perhaps Mary was a lazy hand-washer. But the high temps during cooking should’ve killed all the bacteria. So how’d she pass on the ‘phoid? Through her signature dessert: chopped-up fruit frozen into ice cream.
Which gives new meaning to that popular nursery rhyme “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream and the sweet release of death.”
Let’s be real: is weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, and muscle weakness too high a price to pay for culinary perfection? No. You had me at “weight loss.”
Iceberg Edward, Digital Jizz Perez, and Short-Term Memory Loss Steve all did what they loved, and then some innocent bystanders suffered the consequences. Same thing with Typhoid Mary. She loved to cook, but did she let a debilitating illness yuck her yum?
Mary Mallon only caused three dessert-related deaths. So I say it’s time to right this historical wrong. Let’s get Mary an honorary ice cream flavor already.
Hey Ben & Jerry, how about adding Typhoid Berry to your roster? While you’re at it, how about some Titanic Cookie Crunch for Captain Edwards, a Jizz Jubilee for Perez Hilton, and some Strawberry Short (Term Memory Loss) for Steve Jobs! They’ve all made an impact on our culture, and you’ve celebrated less.