The annual Girl Scout cookie campaign begins for me this week. I know different regions have different start dates, but this is not my concern as I have already pre-ordered my partial supply of cookies. To be specific, I have on order six boxes of thin mints and four boxes of peanut butter Patties from two different girl scout camps. One order is with our own Julie Wimmer’s daughter, Nina.
Some may wonder, why so many boxes? The truth: These cookies have to last me one year until the next Girl Scout campaign. So, I estimate how many cookies I will need for the next 12 months. This process takes a lot of calculation, and I must admit that math is not my strong suit. However, it is because of this cookie campaign that I am grateful I took calculus in college (I think it was calculus- it was some math course).
Anyway, each year, I have to take into account the number of cookie boxes I purchase in my advance orders plus the number of cookie boxes I will buy on impulse from the Brownies who accost me at the mall or bank. The impulse cookies usually add up to another four boxes. So, if you take the number of cookies in one sleeve and multiply that number by the number of sleeves in a box multiplied by the number of boxes I buy, I usually get a number that will give me a decent chance at a year’s cookie supply.
Let me just say that I put the cookie boxes in the freezer so it’s not like I eat them every day. Some days, I might defrost one or two and then a month later, I might defrost 20 or 30 depending upon whether I have a craving for a sweet or whether I am in need of an emotional crutch. In my defense, it’s difficult to foresee the number of cookies that will be needed as emotional support during the year. However, I must be doing something right with the calculations because I have never experienced a cookie drought.
Since I am now on the buying end of these cookies, I view the sales campaign period with the same kind of excitement as I do the holiday season. However, when I had to sell the cookies, my feelings for them were completely different. Yes, I was a girl scout. In fact, I went all the way from Brownie to Cadets, and each year, the cookie sheets came home, and I knocked on doors and rang bells hoping to make a sale.
Well, that is not exactly true. I didn’t sell cookies when I flew up to the cadet scouts. My cadet leader was not a cookie person. She was, in fact, an ex-heroin addict, who had to complete community service, and someone, somewhere thought it would be a good idea to give her 10 impressionable 12-year-olds to mold. Looking back, I can’t imagine how the girl scouts approved her for the troop leader job. She didn’t even have a kid. Usually, the troop leader was a troop member’s mother who was good at sewing, cooking and first aid.
As it turns out, Jocelyn was not the worst leader in the world. She taught us cool things such as how to smile at the police so they don’t arrest you and how to grow your finger nails really long so you can scratch out someone’s eye if you had to. Being a naïve 12-year-old, I thought her lessons were fascinating, and I never thought to mention to my parents what the meetings were about. But some cadet had a big mouth, and four months into our cadet meetings, the Girl Scout powers-that-be dissolved our troop and dispersed our members to different troops throughout the area. I never knew what happened to our colorful leader, but to this day I hope she made it through her parole.
Back to the cookies. I’m sorry I got lost for a second. Anyway, while that experience soured me on selling the cookies, it made me a bigger fan of buying the cookies. I guess it worked out well in the end. Now, when I sit down and eat one of my emotional crutches, I think about Jocelyn and her fingernails and I wonder what life path she has taken. Maybe, she has turned her life around and sits on the board of trustees for the Girl Scouts of America or maybe she is selling her own homemade cookies in a state correctional facility somewhere in New Jersey. Either way, I hope she gets to eat some Thin Mints because no matter where you are, Thin Mints do make your day a little bit happier.