"Excuses are the nails that build the house failure."

Paul Bunyan's Beard

Life Rule #589.  Step Aside, Buttercup.

Life Rule #589. Step Aside, Buttercup.

Oreos.  In all my life I've never met a soul who wouldn't devour one of those cookies, yet somehow the original rump-shaker has been replaced as milk’s trusted sidekick. Fucking Girl Scout cookies. Oh yes, I’m about to throw you all out of a moving train. Don’t fret, we’ll get to talking about that magical treat consisting of two chocolate wafers held together by a glue of creamy goodness, but first, we must fire some shots at one of Oreo’s main competitors. Girl Scout cookies. Of course they’re good, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the recent name changes. The problem for Oreo is the army of badge toting brats staring them down. Those beret-wearing piranhas are EVERYWHERE. Yes, I said it, and I’ll never take it back. It’s simply become too much. Hell, I saw a kid’s parents hawking cookies on the side of a mountain at a ski resort! I could have skied up to a box of Girl Scout cookies, exchanged my monies for goods, and gone on my merry way. Seem too good to be true? That’s because it is. Something that delicious shouldn’t be so easily obtained. We should have to work for those treats.

It’s as if every Scout out there assumes the world is made up of Kevin Malone’s lumbering around sniffing out every box of cookies available. Sure, there’s a significant population who adore a box of Samoas or Tag-a-longs, but not nearly THIS MUCH.

These false entrepreneurs have completed the vicious cycle that is storefront advertising. Each and every year, for the ENTIRE year, we’re treated to a dose these off-brand cough medicines. Salvation Army Santa leads the charge (which seemingly lasts for six months). Riding jolly Saint Nick’s coattails is none other than these greedy little promoters of diabetes, and sprinkled in between those two monopolies is a mashup of homeless people, an army of blue vested Wal-Mart greeters, Greenpeace yahoos, and a sad rotation of tables hawking the latest and greatest culinary phenomenon. I’m tired of it.

And the parents! Guilty by association. Don’t you dare play that guilt card with me. Oh, it’s for a good cause or a trip to the Nature & Science museum? Don’t give a shit. How about instead of wasting your time ruining my day you buy your kid a ticket to the zoo and take them your damn self.

The response to my outrage is more entertaining than the names of the cookies themselves. “Our girls are learning how to run a small business, how to manage money, and how to be more outgoing.” Nah. They’re learning how to be homeless. You just explained to me that your precious little daughter aspires to become homeless one day. Think I’m overstepping my bounds? Try these similarities on for size:

What do you typically hear when approached by a homeless person? “Excuse me.” Or more accurately, “Hey! Can you spare some change? I lost my job and need money for some bus fare to get back to my family.” It’s always seemingly some horseshit similar to that monologue. I say monologue because no one wants to respond, and if you do, it’s with a flat out lie of “Sorry.” And what do Girl Scouts hit you with? “Excuse me, would you like to buy some cookies? It’s for a good cause and would really help me raise enough money for a trip to Mount Rushmore next year.” Sound familiar? Both parties want your money, that’s it. And they’ll get it by sheer determination or unwavering persistence, whichever you prefer. Just stand there and beg. The longer they hold out, the higher their percentages are of walking home with more cash than unsold cookies. The only difference between a homeless person and a Girl Scout, aside from the smells, is that the homeless person isn’t accompanied by their family; remember, they’re trying to get home to that imaginary group of people.

Another problem with these aggressive sales tactics are the inevitable overlapping experiences we all fall victim to. Yes, my wife and I will buy an inexplicable amount of cookies for two people, if it’s from a family member. We love our nieces. I don’t love your daughter. Hell, I don’t love any strangers large or small, young or old. So when I approach a store entrance on a day which has already seen me purchase enough Girl Scout cookies to fund an entire elementary school’s trip to Sea World, you can be fairly certain I won’t be funding your kid’s adventure to our nation’s capital, regardless of the historical significance. Girl Scouts have turned to the “shotgun spray” method of selling. Point and shoot, we’ll hit something. And you did hit something….my last nerve. Follow a bit of structure. Rake through your relatives, then hit family friends, then maybe, JUST maybe, move on to the general public. And that last move should be made in desperation. I only want to see kids out there who are well under their quota. I’ll respect those girls. They’ve been tossed against the ropes, taking vicious body blows; they need to fight their way out of this mess. I’ll give that kid a bit of my hard-earned cash because I know she’s been scrapping her way to victory. Come to think of it, while we’re discussing these girls’ successes and/or failures, the charts those little “go-getters” use to tally their take-home pay should be public knowledge. I want to see what kind of gross profit you’re working with. Staple that status scroll right next to the pyramid of boxes you’re trying to get rid of. If little Sally has sold enough cookies to have kept the Titanic afloat, then she’s done. Exit stage left or just head right to Wall Street. You’ve proven you’ll slit throats to get what you want.

Now, after I’ve successfully whipped our parents into a frenzy, I’ll take my foot off the gas a bit and reluctantly confess that some good does come from Girl Scouts occupying more public spaces than an iPhone advertisement. Done properly they can actually learn a thing or two about what it takes to get out there in the world and do something that makes them extremely uncomfortable. Selling requires that obnoxious persistence we touched on earlier. If cookies aren’t sold, trips aren’t taken. Hearts are broken. A good parent (or parents) will offer a guiding hand, yet have the will to let their kid’s leash out a bit. Success and failure; two of life’s greatest lessons, will be experienced. Do you have the stomach to take those experience and help your kid LEARN from them? Don’t gloat with a victory and don’t cry when you fall flat on your face. Get back out there. Actually, do not get back out there. Please go home, we’ve had enough. Haha. God I’m a jerk, but it’s fun. We’re having fun!

Meanwhile, inside the store being guarded by that three-headed hell hound sits a perfectly capable cookie prepared to satisfy your every craving (you had to trust I’d bring you all back to talking about the cookie of the hour). The Oreo. It asks only that you take it home and enjoy it all, down to the last crumb. It’s a chocolaty version of The Giving Tree. We take and take and all the while the Oreo asks for nothing in return; it just wants to see us happy.

Which brings me to my rule (aside from sheer happiness).  Tonight we must discuss how Oreos are properly consumed, and it has nothing to do with how, but rather how much. Since the dawn of the Oreo, a rage-fueled battle has been underway. Do you dunk your cookie in a glass of milk and just make that puppy disappear? Do you twist the Oreo apart like a cannibal, lick its insides clean, and then soak the wafers? If you do, you’re a delinquent. Maybe you’re an outcast such as myself and you like to put the cookie in your mouth dry and only then follow it up with a mouthful of that cold 2%. Regardless of your tactics, I don’t have the time or the energy to say which is best. We can all agree on wanting to achieve the same conclusion; a digested cookie. So we’ll let those who wish to argue hash out their differences around a table covered with Dungeons and Dragons cards. I’m here tonight to raise awareness around not the how, but the how MUCH.

A commitment to an Oreo feast requires a minimum of one sleeve.  You don't eat just one cookie because you're not a church mouse.  And you sure as shit don't eat half the sleeve because you're not a quitter.  Once that clear plastic sleeping bag of cookies is cracked, you my friend, are in for the long haul.  When I stalk my prey I expect only full sleeves to be present. When I nuzzle into a package of Oreos and I see half of a line I am visibly upset. I’m upset with myself, or my wife, or Santa Claus himself. But let’s be honest, I’m not giving that fat old elf any of my Oreos. He can put his own sleeve of cookies on his Christmas list. Better hope Mrs. Claus has enough of that North Pole magic to bake an exact replica of that Nabisco treat. DOUBT IT.

So polish 'em down and feel damn good about it.  You're not a pig.  You're not losing your self-control.  You're gaining respect and a you're a conqueror of worlds.  Just leave enough moo juice left to wash down that victory.  

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