I saw the Girl Scouts this weekend—-tons of them, everywhere. I saw them scribbling notes on each other’s T-shirts and trading “S.W.A.P.S.,” which the Washington Post informed me are “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.”
According to the Post, there are an estimated 2.7 million Girl Scouts in America, though the overwhelming majority of them are elementary schoolers. The few that stick with it are often ashamed, the Post says. Macy Gutermuth was a high school sophomore when she “decided to come out of the cookie pantry,” Monica Hesse reports.
Well, I’m going to come out of the cookie pantry, too. My name is Jessica Gould and I was a Girl Scout. Well, a Brownie, really. I donned the hideous brown vest and bizarre tie. I said the Brownie pledge and was greedy for all the patches I could get.
But right before I graduated to Girl Scout status, I dropped out. My defection had to do with severe disillusionment, which set in at Bergen Bluestone, a stone-retailing business in my native New Jersey. We went there to earn our geology badge.
Here’s the thing. From what I remember, Bergen Bluestone, a kind of warehouse, had lots of rocks. There were Dumpsters overflowing with them. But the trip wasn’t an in-depth analysis of all things igneous. It was Kitchen Remodeling 101. We ran our hands over smooth countertops and compared marble to granite. I thought scouting was about community service and the outdoors, not suburban consumerism. And, I’m sure, for many kids it is. But that day at Bergen Bluestone sealed it for me. I threw off my sash and never turned back.