Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Experiences as a Girl Scout

Hey! Nothing interesting or amusing has occurred recently, so I'm going to write about something from long ago.

When I was younger, I was in Girl Scouts. It seems like I was in it forever, but really I wasn't even in it long enough to become a Cadet. I remember being a Brownie Scout vaguely, and a Junior even better.

When I was a brownie scout, we hardly ever went camping. I do remember going camping once, though, and I don't think I enjoyed myself much. The tent was enormous, but for some reason the bunks (I think they were bunks) were squished against the sides. I think I dropped a special teddy bear that I'd gotten from a best friend off the side, and I couldn't find it until later (if I ever did get it memory of this is fuzzy). And the cool thing I got from the camp store? A travel toothbrush set. Truthfully (or is that toothfully?) it was pretty nifty: the toothbrush was in two parts and snapped together. Too bad the toothpaste came in one of those really weird ointment-tube things that seem like they're made out of metal and they get all crinkly and stuff (if you saw it, you would understand what I mean). But I definitely remember not having fun. I think I even asked if I could go home once. And it wasn't that I didn't enjoy camping: I'd gone camping with my best friend before and it was lots of fun, even if there were no toilets and we ate the same thing every day. We'd make a rope swing on the strongest-looking tree and just talk. But on this Girl Scout trip, I didn't have people to talk to, and we didn't have the free time to make rope swings. I was miserable.

As a Junior Scout, we had to wear these green vests and usually a green skirt and I had these awful long green knee-socks that were both tremendously dorky and ridiculously uncomfortable. Plus you could never wear them with anything else because nothing else is that shade of green.

We had Girl Scout meetings in this school cafeteria. Our troop leader was a sweet lady who had a few spelling problems. Every time we came to a meeting, we got to put a bead on our own personal necklace-thing. Some of the beads were shaped like animals, so naturally I attended every meeting. Sometimes I would slip a bead into my pocket and play with the tiny lion or elephant during the meeting, returning it to the bead tray when the meeting was over.

Now, I didn't really care for the meetings much, but I enjoyed my two friends that I'd made there. They thought I was hilarious and so I often acted the clown for them, sometimes getting stern looks from our leader when I was caught making funny faces at my giggling friends. We used to have this songbook of songs which I thought were the lamest ones ever. Here is a sample of how lame they were.

Me and my dinosaur
I've never had such a friend before
As big as a house, twenty times and a half
And fifty times taller than any giraffe!
Legs long as sequoia trees
Teeth big as piano keys
No two people are buddies more
Than me and my dinosaur!

Here are the lyrics I made up.

Me and my dinosaur
I've never seen such a dope before
He's dumber than nails, twenty times and a half
And when he falls down I just sit there and laugh!

And so on (also, I promise that if I actually did have a dinosaur, I would definitely not laugh when it fell down. I would give it as much love as any person can give a dinosaur). My friends thought my lyrics for the various cheesy songs were the funniest thing ever.
It didn't help that the people singing the songs on the CD were not very good singers and were such easy targets.

Of course, our troop later went to a big shindig at DC where we sang a bunch of the cheesy songs, so I tried to be good and sing the correct lyrics for that, at least.

A lot of the time, my mom would attend the meetings. So I had to be careful not to get too silly then. The parents would take turns providing food. I always felt so proud when my mom was in charge of food, because she would make brownies and give us Kool-Aid while everyone else's would bring store-bought cookies and lemonade. My mom was just cool like that.

And of course, there was the cookie-selling. Gosh, I hated that. I would sell as many as I could, because I really wanted that grand prize (a portable television?! Yes please!), but no matter what I did I just could not sell that many cookies. It also didn't help that we began selling cookies on January 1st, when normal people are either on vacation, celebrating the holiday, or on a diet after that big Christmas dinner. No one in our troop could. So I usually ended up with little pewter figurines, which were cute and nifty, but not as entertaining as a portable television or a camp chair with all kinds of pockets.

Getting patches was often a strange process. There were these books that told you what different patches there were and what you had to do to earn them, and sometimes they were really silly: I remember one patch required that you set up a stuffed animal zoo and take a parent around and tell them about the animals. Uh...okay. Check that one off, I guess. But it was cool to see the front of my garish green vest fill up with the colorful little circles. A lot of the time, however, I just wasn't motivated to earn patches on my own, and I simply got whatever patches the troop got.

As a Junior Scout, I really wanted to go camping. But I don't think we ever did. I moved to a different troop eventually. It was closer by and had a friend of mine in it, but most of the girls were older than me, and most of the meetings consisted of sitting in living room furniture (the meetings were held at the aforementioned friend's house, since the leader was her mom) while the girls typed on their cell phones (which were foreign and unknown things for me at the time). When my younger friend and I wanted to go camping, everyone else wanted to learn to knit. When my friend and I wanted to make Christmas cards for strangers, the Cadets wanted to...I don't know; knit some more. It was very frustrating. Once I invited my friend over and we made Christmas cards together anyway.

Once, we did go to Cedar Ridge. I was excited, but it turned out to be dreadful. I ran into this metal line thing, and I bruised up my thigh really badly. My friend's mom, the leader, just told me to suck it up and that I shouldn't have been running. So I kept walking, sniffling and with a throbbing, bruising thigh. My mom always thought that was pretty cruel; I mean, I was only like eleven years old, and I didn't have anyone to look out for me because I only really had one friend in that troop.

Eventually I quit. I wasn't getting anything positive out of it, and I had begun dreading even going to meetings.

So in short, I had some good times and some bad times in Girl Scouts, but I did learn some things. I learned that you should definitely not use the toothpaste from the camp store. I learned that making parody song lyrics was really freaking amusing. I learned that I absolutely cannot knit. And I learned that you should always shoot for the portable television: even if you miss, you will still land among the pewter figurines.

Also, I actually mentioned giraffes in this post, so I can put them in the labels again. HA.

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