Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cookie Time

This is from an old journal. Whenever Girl Scout Cookies are out and about, I revisit this story of my youth.

Girl Scout Cookie Time

I spent the majority of my childhood in the Girl Scouts. Yep, me, your favorite gay feminist southerner.

We were part of the Circle P Council. I went to Girl Scout camp, sold cookies, helped with craft bazaars, sang weird songs about silly frogs or watermelons, earned (but never received) badges, and spent a lot of time with a huge group of girls who wore the same outfit at least once a week topped by kicky little felt kelly green berets.

Mom was a troop leader and big sis was a Brownie, then a Junior, and then a full-fledged Girl Scout up until some time in Junior High when the girls mostly turned into petty fascist cliquedivas and my kind and generous sis was the odd girl out.

My memories:

1. The Girl with Obscenely Long Hair who won the Girl Scout cookie sales award each year. I think she got a stuffed raccoon or some polyester-filled skee-ball prize of a toy. Her mother evidently worked somewhere where her colleagues powered their lights, bodies, and Chevrolets on Thin Mints because she sold 4.2 billion boxes each year. I heard her Subaru has a license plate that says DoSiDo.

2. Some girl named Angela with too-feathered white white hair pinched me more than once. It hurt.

3. I got poisoned by a wildflower I was sucking on as part of my acting gig at Girl Scout Camp when me and two of the other siblings (girls from the "older sister" troop) were rehearsing a dance to "Ease on Down the Road" from that smash hit movie, The Wiz. At first I thought it was the heat of the costume or something from jumping off the huge stone fireplace in the lodge (I was the Cowardly Lion). Then I realized, that there was one taffy stretch of a perfumed sting from my lip to my gut. I wish I had puked on either the girl with obscenely long hair or Angela, but I did not.

4. Our neighbors were perplexed when they saw me at their door to sell them soap for the girl scouts. More because I was a boy than because I was selling soap. I lied and told them my sister was home sick. I couldn't explain she just didn't want to sell that day and I did. I remember the soaps being photographed like they were superclean bars of chocolate. They had thready white parts like Coast or a slab of bacon.

5. The best cookies, hands down were called "Hoedowns." Peanut butter on a cookie, covered in chocolate. Here they are called "Tagalongs," but of course I always accidentally see or speak the word as "Tagalogs." Maybe someday they will come out with a Filipina cookie and they can call it that?

So one of the kids at work sold me 10 boxes.

Yep, that's right, 10 boxes for $30. (they have since gone up). I have a rule that I buy from the first scout that asks me. I did break it one year and bought some from a group tabling outside of Politics and Prose. They were singing a song they made up on-the-spot about the various cookies . . ."We have Trefoils, DoSiDos, Thin Mints, too . . ."

Do I have that kind of money? Ten boxes? No. But she's cool and damn, the Girl Scouts have been so good while the Boy Scouts were out there parading their homophobia like a badge of honor that I just had to give up some dough when I had the chance.

I for one was in a dysfunctional Boy Scout troop as a kid. I hated it. I was stuck with boys from school who did not like me and I did not like. I had to call people by animal names designating the badge rank they had achieved and I had to pretend I liked things like rope courses, visits to football stadiums and whittling.

Yes, me and my fabulous self whittling. "Look Dad -- A misshapen toothpick with a pompadour!" I swear that was the kind of thing I could pull off.

It should be no surprise that making a racing car out of wood for the "pine box derby" did not rock my world. Jesus Friggin Tickle Me Elmo the pressure was astounding. My dad was so damn patient as I did my best to make something about as aerodynamic as an early model Pinto that I insisted on painting a shimmery gold -- me in my baby blue Roller Disco shirt with the iron on rainbow glitter-covered red-wheeled skate.

It actually ended up being ok, and I am sure I scored some points with my super-engineer dad, but I was really happy when my foul mouth got me kicked out of some lady's car and the scouts and when the boys in junior high put me on the damn prayer list at their fascist right-wing church for being a dirty little toilet-mouth when I knew one of them had been doing it with a girl down the street since age 12 each afternoon before his paper route and that the other both snuck his dad's copies of Playboy and hid his Marlboro Reds in a cut out of the wall inside his closet.

Yeah, that's right -- I'm the bad kid.

I secretly hope that Angela girl from the Girl Scouts married one of their sorry asses and now pinches them whenever they are being jerks. I buy Girl Scout cookies in defiance of their hypocrisy and in celebration of an organization that, despite a few pinches, did a lot of good for me and a bunch of southern belles in training running about Texas under silly French hats.

4 comments:

ScottE. said...

So the cookies are $3 right? Someone in my office is selling them at $3.5 a box and I won't buy them...it just seemed wrong...!

Loved your story. I tried the B.Scouts for about two months...it was horrid! I blame the parents and the scout leader.

DC Food Blog said...

There $3.50 now and I think this might be the second year? I think in a Bush economy this is what we get stuck with.

Complacent Chase said...

I can't believe Girl Scout cookies are so expensive now! What, are they using organic ingredients now? Damn!
Anyhoo, I was a Brownie and Girl Scout for a while. It was totally forced upon me. I hated every second of it.

I hated camp especially. Now, I am not overly girly, but outhouses for bathrooms and sleeping in those "log cabins" with racoons, squirrels and skunks coming in and out anytime they want...that was too much.

I was never good at selling Girl Scout cookies, either. I always felt uncomfortable going up to strangers and asking them for stuff. I mean, weren't we told NOT to talk to strangers??

It was just too much for me. Besides, green was never my color.

john patrick said...

I was a cub scout for a year or two. What a scam. And a hard place for being the only filipino kid.

Tagalog cookies: I imagine they'd be made of peanut butter, oxtails, and shrimp paste.