Tuesday, February 21, 2012

*Contending With The Cookie Monster

["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published Feb. 23, 2012]  © 2012

The new year has always been a struggle, grappling with all the avoirdupois I packed on during the holidays.  But now, in a cruel twist of fate, Girl Scout cookies are showing up in January. 


It used to be that hordes of badgey-vested cuties would come around in January and take orders for cookies to be delivered in March. You didn’t mind ordering a box from each of them because the Girl Scouts are a good cause, and besides, you were sure you would have lost all that holiday heft by then and a box of Girl Scout cookies would be a nice reward. Just one. The rest, you promised yourself, you’d send to the kids.  Not, of course, that you ever did.

When the first Girl Scout showed up at my house on January 24, I started to give her my usual order – a box of Thin Mints (like there are actually any other kind) - when I noticed the red wagon behind her loaded with cookies.  At first I thought these were just the samples.  But no, the child’s mother explained, now you get to take possession on the spot.

I don’t think the Girl Scouts have thought this through.  Yeah, I know you can opt to send the cookies to our service personnel abroad so it’s not as though you’re required to oink out on them yourself.   But it has just thrown off my whole system:   Order now, repent later.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I have not always suffered from embonpoint.  (The French have so many great words for fat.)  Prior to my divorce, I was always a size four, which in today’s deflationary weight currency is a size two or even a zero.  (Frankly, I think size zero should be what you are after you’ve been dead a while.)   Unfortunately, I put on forty pounds eating the Post-Divorce Depression Diet (sample dinner: three Mrs. Fields cookies, half bottle Chablis).  I still think of myself as temporarily overweight, that this extra adipose is a mere blimp, er, blip in an otherwise svelte life.  So you can imagine how shocked I was recently to realize that the divorce was twenty-nine years ago. 

If I were to be completely honest, I would have to admit that in my case, chocolate has been a serious life-long addiction.  I have no doubt that at my funeral, the many massively unflattering chocolate-related stories about me will be recounted by my husband and children.  I keep meaning to write up my own versions and attach them to my will so that people will understand that there were extenuating circumstances.  That leaping upon my startled ten-year-old and shoving my fist half way down his esophagus to retrieve my Mrs. Field’s cookie was a reasonable act.

You just don’t take someone else’s cookie.  Especially after you have already had your own designated cookie and the other party, an overstressed single mother, has been saving hers all evening on a little plate to have as a reward after all her chores are done.  And how the other party was finally ready to enjoy her cookie only to discover an empty plate and the last vestiges of  her well-deserved treat (and marginal sanity) disappearing into the mouth of someone sitting on the sofa watching TV. But I’m sure my son will never mention all that.  He will just tell how, as my fist was entering his intestinal tract, I was screaming “GIVE ME THE &*%$## COOKIE!!!!!!”  I really must get my own versions out there while there’s still time, although frankly, I’m not sure even I can save that story.

Sadly, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies have a similar effect on me as Mrs. Field’s.  I open a sleeve and it disappears into thin (mint) air right before my eyes.   Last year during Girl Scout cookie season, I awoke one morning to find a note on the counter from Olof:  “Inga – Rats have gotten into the Girl Scout cookies again.  Better call Pest Control or there aren’t going to be any left for you!” 

Well, probably the only saving grace about Girl Scout cookies coming out in January is that I can now have the illusion that I will lose all the holiday heaviness AND my cookie chunké before Easter when all those wonderful Cadbury eggs and chocolate bunnies fairly shout out my name.  I just wish they would lower the decibels.

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