In my last column, I celebrated the start of Thin Mint cookie season: the time of year I pay homage, and four bucks, for the superb mint chocolate cookie. Since childhood I’ve been a Thin Mint nut -- which sounds yummy, too. Unlike my other food phases (like last summer’s buttered toast stage), my devotion to Thin Mints has never wavered.
Eagerness to fulfill tradition, and stuff my face, invariably leads to what I refer to as embarrass-mint. In the short time since the start of the 2011 Thin Mint cookie season, I’ve breached cookie order office protocol (see recent column). And although the situation was uncomfortable, I was glad the drama was behind me and I could enjoy the rest of the TM season. What I didn’t count on was embarrass-mint on the home front.
My husband and I were relaxing in the family room a few evenings ago when there was a knock at the door. Because I was in the middle of reading a book (okay, playing FreeCell), I politely asked my husband to answer the door: “You get it.” I listened as he enthusiastically greeted the visitor, “Oh, hi! I’ll have to get the cookie expert! Jean -- it’s for you!”
Girl Scout: “Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies?”
Me, with moronic honesty: “I already bought some at work.”
Girl Scout, crestfallen:
Girl Scout’s mother: “That’s okay.”
The four of us stood in the doorway, silenced by my ‘gave-at-the-office’ rudeness. My husband uttered, with confusion and annoyance, “Uh, sorry about that.” The girl slowly backed off our porch as my husband closed the door. Seeing my regret and guilt over what just happened, he offered these words of comfort: “Why the hell didn’t you buy a stinking box from the poor kid?” I explained that I had already spent $20 at work. “What’s another box, four bucks?” That made the situation even more bizarre, because usually he’s the cheapskate.
Me: “What have I done? Did you see the look on her face?”
Husband: “I tried shielding my eyes, but it was like a train wreck -- I had to look.”
Me: “Why didn’t you say something?”
Husband: “I couldn’t imagine what turn of events made you, of all people, not order Thin Mints. I thought you were joking.”
Me: “I ordered them at work!”
Husband: “Since when does that stop you? In two months you’ll be stalking every grocery store from here to Blacksburg looking to support your habit.”
Me: “At least you can say something to make me feel better.”
Husband: “You don’t need the calories.”
Me: “This is your fault. ‘I’ll get the cookie expert!’ She probably thought she hit pay dirt, that I’d be the one to send her numbers into the Trip to Disney category!”
Because my husband felt sorry for the girl -- and knew I’d spend weeks dissecting every nuance of this event (I’m a skilled situation surgeon) -- he suggested we drive around the neighborhood, find the Scout and buy cookies. Within a few minutes we tracked her down. My husband pulled the car over and yelled, “Hello? Hi, it’s us again. We changed our minds -- we’d like to order cookies.”
Girl Scout’s mother: “Ha-ha, did you really leave your house to find us?”
Me: “Yes, I felt awful!”
Girl Scout’s mother: “That is so funny!”
Girl Scout’s mother, thinking: “That is so weird!”
When the order form was slipped through our window, I immediately noticed that all but five lines were complete. Obviously the girl didn’t need my two boxes, but at least now she knows I’m a good, albeit unstable, neighbor. Soon word will spread and the neighbor kids will utter, “There's the house of the Thin Mint nut” ... which still sounds yummy.