I just spent an hour on the phone with Mandy talking about food. We talked so long, in fact, the battery on her phone died. For the record, she lives one street over and there is one building that separates mine from hers. Yet we found it necessary to blab on the phone about the following:
- Peanut Butter
- Indian tea
- Coffee–Hazelnut, D&D variety, or Vanilla Hazelnut
- Donuts–glazed, 1/2, or homemade apple cinnamon
- General Foods International Coffees–French Vanilla flavor
- Hershey Kisses
We did not just glaze over each of these food items, either, as one might apply a thin coat of sweet sugar glaze over the aforementioned donuts. No, we spoke at length about each food and how each has distinct ties to home because several of these items (with the exception of the whiskey) has come to us in care packages from home over recent months. When it occurred to me halfway through our conversation that we’d been dwelling on food for the length of a soap opera, I called Mandy’s attention to it just as she was about to launch into an off-the-cuff sonnet inspired by Girl Scout Cookies, of the Samoan variety (you know, the kind with the coconut and caramel and the ever-so-thin criss-crossing of milk chocolate across its succulent and honey sweet cookie top?) I myself have always been a Tagalong and Thin Mint girl, but in recent years have developed quite the sweet tooth for the Scouts’ more Polynesian-inspired ingredients.
I won’t bore you now with the painful experience I had trying to actually BE a Girl Scout. I’ll bet you didn’t know that, did you? It’s not like I’d committed murder and was thus turned away because my actions would shame the institution. No, it was much more serious than that, I’m afraid. I wasn’t allowed to get my wings because certain Girl Scout Moms, who shall forever remain nameless because they have no souls, didn’t allow me to “fly up” to be a Girl Scout because I (read: my parents) hadn’t decided whether or not I was going to take piano lessons on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. This, I’m afraid, was my sin. And the punishment? No wings, no bridge, no green uniform, as decided upon by the Mothers of Den #666. (Foul, evil, bitches, may they roast forever in Girl Scout hell, leaving the cookies behind as the only evidence they ever existed in the world at all.)
And I won’t mention that these very same demonic Girl Scout Moms brought me TO the ceremony itself–that was, in fact, an entire weekend long camping trip in Vermont– and made me stand in line on the final day with all the other eager little 8 year old girls whose names ended in -ie like Laurie and Katie and Melanie and were sofuckingcute! And I won’t go into how, when the ceremony began and ALL the parents were there that Sunday afternoon, ALL the -ie girls got to cross and get their ridiculous wings to pin on their stupid polyester brown sashes that when it was MY turn to get my pin/badge/meaningless piece of crap rainbow bullshit, the soulless Girl Scout mothers announced to all that the ceremony was OVER, leaving me to stand forever on the Brownie side, unable to cross the bridge.
It was rather like a Greek myth, incorporating the River Styx. There I stood, the fallen hero, the would-be Girl Scout, the forever Brownie, watching all the pony-tailed souls cross the river and go into Hell. Where once was one -ie girl, there now was Sisyphus, forever required to push cookie sales without narry a kickback. And where once there was a Girl Scout Mother, there across the stupid bridge in front of all the parents and the recently lost souls of brand new Girl Scouts, there now was only Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades. Damn them all, ALL of them and their little dogs, too!
It was criminal, I tell you. One day, I’ll set it all down in words and then I’ll tell my own children that exclusive, privileged, “character-building,” cookie-selling girls’ organizations can go straight to hell. And I’ll be living proof that if those fuckers had let me into their little club house twenty years ago I’d probably be a much nicer person.
To complete this story, I should tell you that both my mom and I cried so hard on the way home from the ceremony that she had to pull over on the side of the road so she could get it out of her system. When I ask her now what happened, she can’t quite remember, having been so overcome with confusion and anger at seeing her previously excited little daughter left standing apart from all the rest of the girls, a frown growing more and more apparent on her face until tears eventually poured forth from her eyes and wouldn’t stop for days.
Why was it alright for those mothers to think it was okay to bring a little girl to a weekend-long ceremony that they knew full well they weren’t going to allow her to take part in? In the end, some time later, while I was sitting in my darkened third grade classroom watching a film about something I’ve now forgotten, one of the mothers crept into the room and handed me a plastic sandwich bag with the badges I would have gotten had I been allowed to fully take part in the ceremony. I thanked her and she left, but I’ll tell you those badges remained in the sandwich bag for a long time and now I’ve lost or thrown away everything having to do with the Girl Scouts. Somehow, even though I’d worked hard to sell cookies and earn badges, the ones in the plastic sandwich bag just didn’t seem as sweet anymore.