Tom Purcell: A dieting cookie addict’s plea
We must stop them.
I am on a diet, you see — not just a low-carb diet, but a low-fat diet, low-calorie diet. I am getting by on only 1,300 or 1,400 calories a day.
That means I can’t eat sweets or drink adult beverages or consume pretty much anything that tastes good and makes me happy. I am giving up almost all my vices in one fell swoop — making me one of the least pleasant people you’d want to be around.
The only upside is that this diet is very effective — and it is working. It is monitored by well-educated administrators and coaches. I meet them every Saturday morning for a weigh-in and to discuss any untoward dieting challenges that I faced the prior week.There is no greater challenge to a dieter than Thin Mints, Samoas, Peanut Butter Patties and, my hands-down favorite, shortbread Trefoils.Oh, sweet heaven on Earth, I’d give my right arm for the Trefoils recipe — if I didn’t need my right arm to dunk the cookies in a mug of ice-cold milk.Look, I understand that the Girl Scouts organization was founded in 1912 to help girls develop physically, mentally and spiritually.I know the annual cookie sale has become a tasty part of American culture since it originated in 1917, when one troop held a small bake sale, selling sugar cookies.I understand that managing cookie sales helps Girl Scouts learn useful sales, accounting and other business skills — and that it raises some $700 million dollars yearly, funding many worthwhile Girl Scout activities.But it’s still time to stop this outmoded cookie sale — for my sake and the sake of millions of other cookie victims.Who among us has the power to say no to any young girl raising money for charity who offers to sell us a legal product that’s so addictive?Nobody — as demonstrated by one particularly tenacious Girl Scout in 1985. Elizabeth Brinton of Falls Church, Va., sold 11,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that sales season. She later topped her record by selling 18,000 in another season. She sold more than 100,000 during her Girl Scout career.And I was her only customer!OK, I wasn’t her customer, but you get the point. I’m addicted. I sense that word is getting around in local Girl Scout circles that I am an easy sale — so much so, I am afraid to go to any stores or public places where the clever order-takers will prey on me.It is both troubling and puzzling to me that, in this era of government-managed health care — a new era of regulations, mandates and penalties — it is still legal for any organization to raise funds by pushing so many sugary, salty, fatty treats onto our already obese population.I am on a diet that will improve my health and hopefully reduce my future health concerns and benefit everybody else in my insurance pool. Shouldn’t our micromanaging government give me a tax credit for every cookie I don’t eat?Likewise, shouldn’t the peddlers of unhealthy treats — treats, as I said, that one can’t help but eat by the row — be subject to government fines or taxes that punish them for victimizing the cookie-addicted?In these unusual times, I fear somebody will take these requests seriously — before I can break my diet, one row of Thin Mints at a time.Tom Purcell is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.