A colleague of mine, let's call him "Shayne" (since that's what it says on his birth certificate), has solved the Ice Cream Man dilemma. *See my semi-rational rant against the Ice Cream Man--it's back a few posts*
It hinges on the whole Pavlov idea. I complained that the Ice Cream Man has the children conditioned, like Pavlov's dogs, to salivate at the sound of his music (speaking of, what's with the lame music? It makes "midi" files sound like Zepplin). He suggests that I take the conditioning a step further.
As is, the kids associate the music with Ice Cream. So why not change it up a bit? Use classical conditioning/behaviorism, and let the Ice Cream Man become the Spanking Man. I know, it's sheer brilliance.
Here's what I'm to do. When the evening's interrupted by the Ice Cream Man's music, I'll jump up (no matter where I am) and shout: "It's the Spanking Man! Who wants spankings?" Next, as the kids run to the door, expecting to be let out for their frozen dairy deserts, I snatch each of them up and spank the hell out of them, yelling the whole time, "Yeah! It's the Spanking Man! Woo-hoo! Spankings!"
After only one or two treatments, children should be conditioned away from the Ice Cream Man (think baby Albert--or was it Alfred?--in Watson's experiment, the one that made him scared of bunnies). While this might sound cruel, it's only because you're not looking at it from an objective position. Is it really better that their father goes to jail for murder ('cause that's what I'm a-hankering for, if he comes down my street tomorrow)? So what if they endure a couple of unnecessary spankings and involuntarily piss their pants and tremble every time they here "Pop! Goes the Weasel"?
Thanks a lot Shayne. And although my children won't understand (and may one day track you down and kill you), they thank you too.