Just try to say no

I met my dealer in the grocery store parking lot.

Looking around nervously, I approached slowly, with the anxious, needy demeanor only a fellow addict would recognize.

They asked me what I needed.

“Five,” I replied, only because I couldn’t afford more.

Cash was demanded up front, of course, and I peeled off a twenty. I don’t think anyone saw. Package in hand, I raced to my car and got my fix, right there in the parking lot.

Temporarily satisfied, I drove off. Key word — temporarily. I would be back. You always go back.

Yes, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season.

People ask you what your favorite Girl Scout cookie is, but when you love them all, it’s a tough question. It’s like asking to choose your favorite Backstreet Boy.

Thin Mints, “Smiles” (Savannah Smiles), Toffee-tastic, I love them all. Even the ones with faces on them. And yes, there are cookies with faces on them, although to me, they look more like a pair of legs. I don’t know what this snack version of the Rorschach test says about my personality, but it can’t be good.

During my daughter’s first year of Girl Scouts, she brought home all the boxes in her quota, setting them on the kitchen table. I gasped.

“Can you help me sell them, Daddy?”

“Sell them?” I thought, eyes glazed. “Why would you sell them?”

But sell them we did. After exhausting family, co-workers, neighbors and other acquaintances too polite to say no, we fulfilled our official Girl Scouts of America cookie sales quota.

That’s when my wife thought we could probably sell more, so she picked up another 100 boxes. In a past life, she used to whip slaves.

I’ve been in commission-only sales jobs before, but this time I lacked motivation. If you fail to sell houses, you starve. If you fail to sell Girl Scout cookies, it’s just the opposite. Your reward for not closing deals is you get to eat 14 boxes of Samoas.

Plus, by this time, the market had dropped. Everyone had already bought their shares for the year, so we got stuck with the leftovers. I was trying to lose weight at the time, so imagine the torture. We had 80 or so boxes of mouth-watering cookies. IN OUR HOUSE. It’s like being a recovering sex addict and having the Kardashians drop by for a pillow fight.

It’s not like I hadn’t already eaten my share of Smiles and Samoas. I was my daughter’s biggest customer. At one point I demanded a line of credit. When she refused, I hinted that perhaps we should consider donating her My Little Pony animals to Goodwill. She gave me a box of Do-Si-Dos on the house.

You can tell God has a sense of humor because he starts Lent at the same time as Girl Scout cookie season. To me, Lenten self-discipline is eating only one sleeve of Smiles a night. Sure, Jesus resisted temptation in the Judean desert for 40 days, but only because there weren’t any green vest-clad 6-year-olds behind a card table full of Tagalongs.

They’re only sold once a year. That’s part of the evil genius of the Girl Scouts, isn’t it? Give your nervous system a little taste, then pull back, initiating a physical, biochemical withdrawal, making you more desperate for it next year. You look at these girls and they seem sweet and kind, when really they’re just greedy pushers feeding your addiction.

Part of the problem is that it’s socially acceptable. If I burst through our front door each day with eight packages of Oreos, there would be calls to the mental health center. But carrying eight boxes of Savannah Smiles just means I’m a selfless giver to the community.

However, Sunday marked the end of cookie sales for the year. Which is to say, my fellow addicts and I will have to endure 10 full months of suffering until next February, when the Smiles will return. Savannah and otherwise.

b

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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