Back in the summer of 2008, my two startup cofounders and I were just beginning our entrepreneurial journey. Nick and I had spent the better part of a torpid summer day cleaning our soon to be office/apartment/headquarters and decided to head out to DQ for some ice cream.

We were standing in line deciding what to order.

“I think I want a medium cookie dough blizzard.” I said.

Nick paused for a second. “Medium is a funny word. Meeee-dium. Meeee-dium.” He rolled the word around on his tongue. “It would be funnier,” he continued “if you pronounced it as meh-diem. Mehdiem, mehdiem, mehdiem.”

I joined in, “Yeah, meh-diem, ha, that’s great. I’d like to order a meh-diem cook dough blizzard please!”

As we continued to mispronounce the word over and over,the guy in front of us picked up his ice cream and we suddenly found ourselves at the front of the line.

“Quick,” Nick said, “try not to say mehdiem!”

I turned to the cashier, and stammered “I’d like a meh—”

“I’d like a meh—”

“I would like a mmmmmmeeeeehhhhhh—”

I was attracting stares from those behind me. My mouth contorted into improbable shapes as I tried to will it into starting the word correctly.

“I want a meeeeeeeeehhhhhhh—”

Nick was turning deep red and gawfawing loudly behind me. Other people in line were shifting uncomfortably at the spectacle.

“I’d like a mehd—”

I tried again.

“Could I get a meeeeehhhhhhhhhhh—”

I was starting to sweat. The small dining area had gone quiet. I stood up straight and composed myself.

“I want a meeeeeDIUM blizzard please!” I said proudly, smacking my hand down on the counter with pride.

The teenage girl behind the counter looked at me as though I’d grown another head. There was a pregnant pause as I heard Nick gasping for air to my left.

“What flavor?”

I froze, I had spent so much of my concentration getting the word “medium” out of my mouth I’d forgotten the critical piece of information.

Nick was veritably suffocating with amusement as I began stammering out that I wanted something with cookies and dough. The girl looked disgusted, turned around and began making my order.

When she turned around to take Nick’s I had turned several shades of red with embarrassment. She turned to Nick.

“What do you want?”

“I’d like a … SMALL Oreo Blizzard please.”

Needless to say, the startup was a smashing success.

Image credit: kenudigit