January 24, 2013

Do you like this?

Wintertime brings with it depressingly cold (and rainy) weather, gray skies and dead trees. Nestled indoors around a space heater there are holiday gift bills to pay off, income tax filing to prepare for and careful budgeting for the year’s most dreaded occasion for any dude—Valentine’s Day. In fact, there are few joys to lift the spirits outside of what one can muster from the social remnants of their work-a-day lives. And did I mention it’s cold?

Thankfully, there’s one annual tradition happening this time of year sure to brighten any day (and tighten any waistband)—Girl Scout Cookie season. Tasty little treats delivered by fresh little faces all for a mere $3.50 a box. And we’re suckers for it—buying an estimated 200 million boxes each and every year, minus the 10 or so I hide away in my freezer.

Girl Scout Cookies have come a long way since their humble introduction in 1917. Back then, the Scouts actually baked the cookies themselves and sold them door-to-door. They put in a lot of work for a small return all in the name of raising funds to go camping in the woods.

Nowadays, the cookies are shipped from some huge pre-packaged baked goods manufacturer directly to Mama and Honey Boo Boo for sale off the tailgate of an F-150 in the Walmart parking lot to raise money for pricey admissions to water parks. Times have changed, but thankfully the cookies haven’t that much.

Leading the pack of eight delicious delights are, of course, Thin Mints and Samoas, both laced with the cookie equivalent of crack accounting for their unquenchable appeal. Then there’s the peanut butter twins—Tagalongs and Dos-si-dos—and the tasteless shortbread cookie for those who have every allergy known to mankind —the Trefoil. Gathered around the water cooler as we office cubicle-dwellers ordered as a group, I always felt sorry for the secretary who only chose Trefoils. “Aww, allergic to good taste?,” I thought. No wonder she’s still single.

Then there’s always that guy who orders a case of Thin Mints. “I freeze them to eat all year long,” he says. But you know he’s lying because he looks like the kind of guy who can scarf down an entire box in one sitting. Like some kind of Cool Hand Luke stand off, he’d bet anybody he could do it too if there were any kind of monetary bet involved. “My boy says he can eat a box of Thin Mints—he can eat a box of Thin Mints.”       

I shouldn’t be pointing any fingers. I’ll buy a couple of boxes of Samoas from anybody and everybody taking orders. In fact, I actually do hoard them in the freezer for year-round enjoyment. Nothing impresses the ladies more than pulling out a box of Samoas in July. You suddenly become the “world’s most interesting man” from the Dos Equis commercials, leading snowshoe exhibitions and shooing lions off your kitchen counters, but this time the tagline is, “Stay hungry, my friends.”

Fact is, I owe so many people for previous Girl Scout Cookie purchases that I’ll be buying Samoas well into retirement. Let me explain. When my daughter was in the Girl Scouts my friends’ children were too young to join at the time. They all bought their cookies from my kid, so she was the one winning sales awards like new bicycles and Playstations. Some of these friends bought obscene amounts of cookies from my little girl just to place her over the top—with conviction.

When I asked a friend why he always bought so many from my daughter each year he replied, “Well, you have one daughter, I have two—and they’ll both be in the scouts in a couple of years, so …” For a while there I was buying enough cookies to win my own sales award. But it’s all for a good cause. I’d much rather see a little girl learn the ins and outs of the real world from a scout leader than whatever personality traits she’d glean from “Real Housewives.”

Chuck Crowder is a local writer and man about town. His opinions are his own.

January 24, 2013

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