Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weekly Odds and Ends

Yesterday my parents called from the road. If you are a new reader sent over from Violent Acres who is about to find that my writing is very different from hers, let me catch you up. In October my parents unexpectedly announced that they were moving away to California and that they were taking an RV around the country at their apparent whim. I didn't believe them. I should have. Periodically they call with updates about where they are and it's always something I didn't expect. They moved and left me with their house which has now decided to fall apart on me. I also inherited a dog and my sister's cat to add into the mix.

My parents, for those of you who are tracking, have left Sundance and have gone to Vegas and from there they have decided to go to Phoenix because that's where the Superbowl is I guess. Being that I have that football learning disability problem I don't follow the sport very well. I am also a little wary of Arizona after this horrible story. It's like I have post traumatic omelette disorder. I can't even think about it without feeling a little gut-bubbly.

Bomboclaat, the dog I inherited, is now on Prozac and thyroid medication. This is particularly disturbing because I looked at him and realized that he is exactly, in every way, like me if I were a small dog - neurotic, obsessive, anxiety ridden and hyperthyroid. It's as if I have this constant, hideously foul smelling, canine mirror of myself following me around and shrieking 24 hours a day in deaf dog language and reminding me how vile I must be in human form where I can actually speak and write and interact with others. We can only hope that my anal glands don't soon need to be expressed.

In other news I broke down and bought Girl Scout cookies. I didn't want to. They are veritable discs of corn syrup and I can't eat that, and I certainly can't eat it now after I broadcast to the whole Internet that it needed to be eradicated from the planet and shot off in a rocket into a super massive black hole. I bought it because I felt badly for the Girl Scout herself.

Back when I was growing up there was never any remote possibility of me ever becoming a Girl Scout because that would have meant consistency, committment and the purchase of a green dress and some sort of hat that I would have scratched someone's eyes out had they made me put it on. When I was little I was always trying very hard to be extra-cool (hell I probably still am) and the ironic thing about it was that in my trying so hard to be cool I was extraordinarily not cool. This is still probably true as well. The cruelty of cool is that it has to be effortless.

Girl Scouts were not cool in any of my 29 schools. Maybe where you went to school they were, but not where I was. The Girl Scouts, bless their hearts, were the girls who had eczema and smelled like milk and who had mothers who pushed them too hard into extra-curricular activities. These were the mothers who were convinced that good colleges would look at things their kids did all the way back to second grade and reject them based on their ranking in the kindergarten "I Can Tie My Own Shoes Now!" chart. These were also the mothers who made these same poor little chunky, skin disease plagued girls suffer through ballet classes where they had to wear the most unflattering outfit on earth - a pink tutu. The cruelty of that is unbearable for me to even think about now.

This is the kind of mother who showed up at my doorstep. I could tell because she was wearing a Valentine's sweater although Valentine's Day is still a few weeks away. The sweater had plastic chocolates dangling from it, as well as pink and red hearts and some lace. The little girl looked like every other poor little Girl Scout from my sad, childhood memories. Apparently Girl Scouts still aren't cool and though I had hoped and prayed I guess things haven't changed much since I was little. Her name was Peabody. Her first name.

I'm generally opposed to the last name as first name thing for kids. I'll make a few exceptions, but overall it's just a sign of a parent who wants his or her child to seem higher class. Some names sound like rich people's names so pretty soon middle class people catch on and name their kid these names so that the kids have a better chance at getting ahead and fitting in with a "better" crowd. Pretty soon the poor people catch on too and totally ruin the name, causing it to become synonymous with low class and the rich people have to start all over again finding more and more unusual ways to name their kids. I have a theory that pretty soon they'll turn to old people's names and suddenly Doris, Hilda and Marv will be the new Madison, Olivia and Dylan. I'm telling you. Watch. I bet some movie star names their child Mildred and then we'll have a bunch of Ethels, Harolds and Normans toddling around too.

Peabody seems like an awfully big name for an awkward little girl to be carrying around.

"Peabody," said the mother with a push to the girl's back, "Tell the lady what you're selling."

"Umm, girl scout cookies," Peabody said.

I noticed that poor Pea had a big chunk missing out of the side of her head. It was one of those moments where you don't want to stare, but then you can't help yourself and then when you don't stare it's obvious that you're purposely not staring so then you do stare. It was awful. The mom saw me looking at it.

"She had an unfortunate incident over the weekend on the Teacup ride. I told her not to go on that and I tell her all the time that she needs to put her hair in a braid to get it out of the way,"


I was mortified for the child. My friend Emma, of Party Store fame (see pretzel salad post below) was also over.

"I'll buy some Samoas!!"

"Ma'am they aren't called Samoas. They're called CARAMEL DEE-LITES. Samoa is an island in the Pacific, not a cookie, ok?" said the mother.

Poor Emma can not get a break. First FIESTA and now CARAMEL DEE-LITES. She is clearly a consumer racist here.

"Well fine I'll have some CARAMEL DEE-LITES then!" said Emma.

All of a sudden I couldn't get "Groove is in the Heart" out of my head. I still can't dammit.

I felt so badly for Peabody that I ordered some Thin Mints. I will eat them like an asshole and secretly I hope that Peabody sells more cookies than any other Girl Scout and gets some sort of a prize for how many girl scout cookies she sells. I hope she sets a world record. And I hope her hair grows back nicely and very soon.

Other than that I have ordered parts for the electronic toilets and the broken TV and I haven't seen any blood dripping out of the wall in the upstairs bedroom, although the voice is still telling me to GET OUT NOW.


misha said...

I love Samoas. How dare they rename them??
But I am so w/ you on the corn syrup. Almost everything has it.

Anonymous said...

Apparently there are two different bakeries that produce Girl Scout Cookies, ABC and Little Brownie. ABC calls them Caramel DeLites and Little Brownie calls them Samoas.
(I am such a dork for looking that up, but considering I have gone to such lengths as eating Samoas out of the garbage - still all packaged and sealed - I really had to know.)
Also, I just realized that I have gone my entire 40 weeks of pregnancy without any Samoas. I'm due Monday, I'd better get on that.

TK said...

Wow, "anal glands" about killed me laughing, oh the visuals that brought up! :D

And I have been meaning to thank you so very much for the "Eating like a fucking asshole" post, it has really helped be even more conscious. I'll still eat a few cookies with my coffee and call it breakfast because that's sacred ground, but now I can tell myself, "Crap, you just ate like a fucking asshole!" on other stupid stuff. It doesn't come out mean, I know better than to hand over rocket propelled grenades to my inner critic, but it's a good strong tool, and I am using it as such.

Bless you and good luck with the stinky neurotic dog.

Jamie said...

As a Brownie leader, I've been wondering what the Caramel Delites were- they're Samoas here.

Fianna said...

I can't wait to see someone named Bessie or Herbert.

Gina said...

Now I have "Groove is in the Heart" stuck in my head, too.

And I'm craving girl scout cookies.

Amblus said...

My niece is now a Brownie and I was compelled by the power of FAMBLY to order two boxes of Thin Mints and some other stuff I can't even remember. I want her to kick ass because I was the lamest Brownie/Girl Scout ever. I loved the uniform, though.

Green said...

Out here the old lady names are already popular. Here are some of my friend's kids names: Sadie, Ezra, Hazel, Opal, Mary, Margaret, Violet, Iris, Alice. There are a lot of Lucy's.

I like funky names that are recognized as names but simply not used much, like Oliver and Felix.

Being a brownie was okay where I grew up on LI. Being a girl scout was totally lame. When I moved to FL a girl I worked with told me that there, if you told someone you were in "the Scouts" it meant you were a little upstanding citizen, and a good kid, one to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

The benefit of working; I can buy a bazillion boxes of cookes to support the only girl in three years to come to my door and not have to eat them. Just leave them on my desk and they disappear.

Reb said...

In Canada we were called Girl Guides (I'm not sure if they still are) and we wore dark blue uniforms. Oh, I hated having to go to that and Brownies, but mom thought it would help me become less shy! Oh well.

It sounds like you have better cookies at any rate.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've read it, but the book Freakonomics actually talks about that theory with the names. It's a real phenomenon that rich people names trickle down. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Tell mom to come visit me! Hell just tell me when they will be driving by and I just want to go wave at them! I live 10 minutes from the stadium the Superbowl will be held at and we are all groaning. Its gonna be a crappy weekend, much like NASCAR weekend.

P.S. DAMN YOU for putting "Groove is in the heart" into my head. That was pure evil....

Anonymous said...

I just ordered some Samoas, and they were called Samoas too. I feel some white guilt coming on.

I wasn't even a Brownie, I was a Blue Bird/Camp Fire Girl. No one has ever heard of this. We did have the cuter outfits though and on the days when you had to wear your uniform to school the Blue Bird and the Brownies would totally give each other crap all day. Seriously, it was like "Rumble at the Elementary School."

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the Samoans what they think of it? Maybe they're proud to be associated with one of the MOST DELICIOUS COOKIES EVER. Pepperidge Farm names their (equally delicious) cookies after place names too; I don't know of any Sausalito-ans complaining.

Wide Lawns said...

Michelle that is an exceedingly good point.

Manda said...

I must have had the white trash girl scout troop. My leader embezzled all the cookie money and disappeared. No rewards for selling for my troop, we had the highest sales in Toledo that year. Poor girl to have such a name. I'm busy thinking up all the names the boys at my pre-school would call her.

Unknown said...

I was a Camp Fire Girl and we were not allowed to have any Girl Scout products in the house when I was a kid. I didn't have any of the cookies, not even the thin mints, until college. Maybe later.

Now I want some of the Peanut Crunch toffee-like substance they used to make us sell.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was an interesting post. Over here, being a girl scout wasn't necessarily cool or lame. Even some popular girls were part of girls scouts, as well as the awkward ones.

On another note, I am surprised that the girls with eczema who took ballet were so self-concious. As a person who suffers (it's just dry skin) from eczema, I actually was never extremely self-concious at all. Girl scouts and other activities helped build my confidence. Granted, I didn't have a crazy mother breathing down my back.

Anonymous said...

This is my first comment on this blog. First, you rock. Second, did you know that Edy's makes GIRL SCOUT COOKIE ICE CREAM?!! Once you have the salivation under control, go find some. I have seen Samoa, Thin Mint and Tagalong flavors. If there was ever an excuse to eat like an asshole, this is it.

Anonymous said...

Cool and Hip Girl Scout Lady here( and I was a G.S.). I never let my troops be lame. But I don't have a daughter named Peabody and I don't where Holiday Sweaters either. I thought only Senior Citizens wore them.
2 yrs. ago we took 12 girls to Chicago(by train from Memphis)for 5 days. We did things like shopped on the "Magnificent Mile", etc. Next year(their Sr. yr. in H.S.) we are going to Hawaii for a week. The Last Big G.S. hoorah. It's only Lame if you have a Lame Leader. One year (5th gr.) our troop went to a salon got hair and makeup done, dressed up and went to a fancy resturant, and spent the night a nice hotel. Of course we went camping and earned badges and took field trips too( we always had a blast). We are definitely not the "Country Club" type. My daughters are a Jr. & Sr. in H.S. and have been in since Kindergarten. Like other girls, they would have quit a long time ago, which is why we bribe them with trips to Chicago and Hawaii.

BTW, yes 2 cookie bakers(for Peabody's mom's information)
Samoas = Caramel Delights
Tagalongs = P.B. Patties and so on.

"Peabody" I was wondering if she was named after the place where she was conceived. Some people do strange shit like that. Memphis has this old Grand Hotel famous for marching ducks named THE PEABODY.

the Bag Lady said...

Girl Guides in Canada sell 2 kinds of cookies. One has cookies with creme in the middle - one side is chocolate cookies, the other white. The second kind of cookie is chocolate-covered with a chocolate cookie with mint-flavoured creme. None of them are very good. I have G.G. cookies in my pantry that I bought from someone's daughter about 5 years ago - still sealed in the package. Wonder if aging them makes them better? Like fine wine...
Oh, and you asked in a previous post why no-one was commenting? Half of your posts (on my computer, anyway) don't seem to have a comment section...is that deliberate?

JoeinVegas said...

Gosh, you are so judgmental.

Hinsley Ford said...

Hi there. Wow. What can I say but thank you, and offer you a barellful of tears in apprecation for the mention and the traffic? It may seem silly, but watching the traffic was such a joyous process, and even if it was just for 24 hours, it was an amazing gift. I just started my blog last July, and traffic is OK, but I have never seen 400 page loads before in one day. How did you attract such traffic to you, and in your opinion, why is mine so dead? I know I'm not a terrible writer, and I care about readers a lot. Sigh. One can only be oneself, no matter what.
I have been getting some stories accepted, and have a publisher asking me for a query package for review, so that's a bit exciting. How is everything going with you? I wish I had your email instead of just putting up this long comment. BTW, I loved your eating like a fucking asshole post - would you mind if I point people toward the post? I know I only get about 75 hits a day, but I think that post is SO important and any traffic I can send your way, though a mere pittance, would be my honor. I will put you on my short list of links, and it'd be a gigantic gift if you'd consider putting me on your list. Thank you for giving me a marvelous week. I don't think you will be able to understand what it meant to me. I hadn't written in years before I started my blog, so it's truly been a process of putting my heart on a URL. Thank you, again. (See, tears welling up as I close this off..) - Hinsley Ford

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