I am, seasonally, an advocate for the Girl Scouts of America.

Each spring, I post my ode to the thing Thomas Edison wish he had invented: Girl Scout Cookies.  I find that although my writing and my politics evolve with age, my love of Girl Scout Cookies is constant, steadfast, unwavering.  A foreword to the original entry written in 2010:

  • The secret ingredient baked into Girl Scout cookies must be methamphetamines.*  Otherwise, what other logical explanation is there for my being able to inhale two full lines of cookies mindlessly and within a single two-minute sitting – often alone and in a room with melancholic lighting.
  • I am livid that the Short Bread cookies are a fixed item on the cookie menu.   They’re the thimbles of the Monopoly pieces, the Chris Kirkpatricks of NSYNC, the Millard Fillmores of US Presidents.  So much space on those Little Red Flyers could be made for Samoas, Tagalongs, and other unintentionally racially-charged cookies.
  • Every year, I approach a Girl Scouts cookie table with a very resolute goal of leaving with no more than two boxes.  And, every year, those sharks dole out the same marketing ploy, forcing me to leave with at least three boxes of cookies.  Something about me seems to say, “send the littlest Asian” because I always end up head-to-head with a bespeckled third-grader who sifts and fumbles through boxes, clumsily handing me my Lemonades and Caramel deLites.  It is enough for me to exclaim, “FUCK ALL Y’ALL, I’LL BUY THE ENTIRE STAND.”
  • It is 2013 and nothing has changed – except there’s a Girl Scout app now!  OMG.

Written in Spring of 2010:

As I sat down on the bus this evening watching a mother and her daughter fumble through boxes, I was reminded that this week begins the best season of the year.  Yes it is, indeed, Girl Scout cookie season — the most celebrated, socially acceptable, delicious form of child labor in the world.

I partake in the mass consumption of Samoas, my favorite cookie, despite objections to the culturally insensitive cookie name for a few reasons.  First, I am not going to lie — I am a pretty big hypocrite.  I am, after all, a 23-year-old San Francisco liberal and hypocrisy is as frequent as pretending to know who Marcel Proust is in this city (no, he is not a tennis player).  Second, I have an insatiable sweet tooth, embodied by the miraculous disappearance of jars of Nutella in this apartment.  The final reason can be relayed in a story:

When I was an elementary school student growing up in Houston, Texas, I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  I wanted to see what the inside of the neighborhood club house looked like.  I would later find out that it merely had four walls and an old, questionable couch rather than butlers carrying around decadent finger foods like corn dogs.  Mostly, I just wanted to see what white people did on the weekends.  The lone five or so white girls in our neighborhood were all Girl Scouts and they seemed to have Babysitter’s Club-esque fun.  I would later find out that white people in Texas sold cookies, canoed, went to church, and voted for George Herbert Walker Bush.

I think I was about 10 when I asked my father if I could become a Girl Scout.  My father, a Vietnam War Veteran and, thus, an embittered conspiracy theorist proceeded to tell me that the Girl Scouts was a large scale government operation whereby little girls sold cookies in an effort to fund and expand the United States military.  Please imagine receiving this very serious exchange, conducted in Vietnamese, during your formative adolescent years.  Suffice to say, I did not become a Girl Scout, but I did attend Georgetown University.  Yes, those two are related.

From then on, I opted to sort of live the Girl Scout life vicariously through the consumption of their cookies.  On a serious note, I have always told myself that when I have daughters, I would give them the option of becoming Girl Scouts (unless, of course, the military expansion is directly proportional to the selling and consumption of Do-Si-Dos).  And I was further reminded of this when I proceeded to purchase three boxes of cookies.  My seller was an adorable Asian girl who looked exactly like me when I was that age.  Wow, I am a sap.

Speaking of which, can we please discontinue the Asian girl bowl haircut?  It is traumatizing.

Editor’s Note:  They’re probably not made out of methamphetamines.  It’s a joke, Girl Scouts of America attorneys.  

I am a graduate student eating a sandwich.

To be a graduate student is to live a life teeming with paradoxes.  When I am not pontificating questions of relative insignificance, I often wonder:  How can I read so much, yet feel as if I am getting stupider?  How can I think so many thoughts, yet think that I am not thinking enough thoughts?  How am I becoming older, yet simultaneously so much poorer?

For the latter question, I compensate for my inverse age-purchasing power relationship by swiping miniature cups of half and half from departmental refrigerators and attending formal lunches hosted by my graduate institution no matter the topic of roundtable “discussion”.  To do so successfully, simply refrain from writing your full name on the sticker tag, silently eat a salad, nod strategically with dire concern, speak with your hands, make grunting sounds indicating vague agreement with someone speaking with his or her hands in dire concern, leave inconspicuously with three cookies and five packets of Sugar in the Raw in your jacket pocket.

This past week, I was delighted to attend a lunch in which I could actually, without the aid of Wikipedia, define all the words in the title of the event – a discussion on philanthropy, non-profit and public entities, and the world of foundations.  Of course, this piece of writing has absolutely nothing to do with the actual content of said roundtable discussion because that, in fact, would be practical and educational.  I didn’t go to school to become more practical and educational.

___

A Story:

The lunch takes place in a large room located in the oldest building on campus.  The room, with its chandeliers, fanciful off-white trimming, and paintings of women sewing thirteen (THIRTEEN!) stars on an American flag, is, at once, timeless and exceedingly gay.

I divert my attention specifically to the lunch spread.  Immediately, I notice that there is only one can of Diet Coke left.  Predicated by this lone can of Diet Coke, I know this room is full of old white women who wear turtlenecks tucked into their pleated pants.  I, on the other hand, am wearing a button down shirt – a shirt wrinkled by my idea that taking a really, really hot shower and letting my shirt hang on the towel rack is equivalent to an iron that civilized people use.  I suddenly become concerned with my concern in the sole can Diet Coke as it confirms that I truly am an old lesbian soul named Bernadette who likes to spend her Friday nights petting her (literal) cat while watching Antiques Roadshow.  In spite of this anxiety of my true, authentic self, I cut two other old white women wearing turtlenecks tucked into their pleated pants and grab the last can of Diet Coke.

As I move towards the salad and I contemplate, who do I want to be today?  This question is imperative because it determines the selection and arrangement of my plate.  I pile the Styrofoam with salad because I am adult – specifically spinach because romaine lettuce is for peasants (not indentured servants like myself).  I am afforded three types of dressing, but I am not fooled by the idea that these are options.  Light on the vinaigrette and never heavy on the ranch dressing – this is Georgetown University not Rick Perry’s dude ranch in west Texas.

Sandwiches are a food that I have very explicit, personal rules for, particularly when it comes to public consumption.  In meetings, I avoid anything in baguette form since I have learned from painful experience that I am incapable of completely biting through the bread, thus rendering a scene of my tugging at a piece of sandwich in my mouth as I attempt to dissect the 7th pie chart on the 87thslide of this 362-slide presentation.  I opt for a meat that is in one uniform mass – ham, turkey, roast beef – since anything with “units” (chicken salad, egg salad, tuna) consistently results in said “units” splatting loudly on my agenda, leaving concrete evidence of my inability to eat like a successful product of natural selection.

In the dessert section, there are two options.  There are the tiny square brownies topped with a chocolate emblem in the shape of something akin to the pattern on Marie Antoinette’s wallpaper – or the GIANT COOKIES covered with M&Ms.  Truly, this is a test – choosing this GIANT COOKIE with M&Ms over this ampersand brownie means…ah, fuck it.  Just give me giant cookie.

The murmurs of casual conversation overlaying the sound of scraping plates the splatting of chicken salad on agendas halts upon the entrance of the esteemed speaker.  Suddenly, everyone raises his or her hands.  Suddenly, when chosen to speak, everyone’s voices lower by two or three octaves.  Suddenly, we all begin to sound like undergraduate American Studies sophomores wearing oversized plastic glasses and analyzing Avante Garde film.  And suddenly, I turn over the agenda and begin to…

Writing

Note: Which scribbles turned into paragraphs in this piece?