Dishonorary Girl Scout

I like to pretend that I was a polite, sweet child and that my shyness growing up made me an easy kid.  But that’s a lie.

I’ve always been crazy.  I’m hyper and weird and emotional and full of a thousand ideas.  And that’s what got me kicked out of Girl Scouts.

Okay, so I technically didn’t get kicked out. I was super busy with dance class almost 20 hours a week and something had to give.  But I did get kicked out of a Girl Scout meeting and when you’re nine years old that’s pretty much the end of the world.

It was fourth grade and I was really coming into my dramatic flair and comedic timing.  I was always on the hunt for a captivated audience for which to perform my stand-up routine on the woes of cafeteria food.

My school district had been overrun by Republicans and old people voting against our school budget year after year, so a lot of our specials had been cut or downsized.  The stage where we would have had our big fourth grade play (in which I surely would have been the star) had been converted into classroom space for art class.  There would be no play.

I was devastated.  With no audience for what would surely be my big break, I started partaking in shenanigans in other more inopportune times.

Girl Scout meetings were ideal.  There were about 20 of us, and I was definitely the funniest one.  We’d be quietly sewing our sit-upons and I would burst out with a crazy story or hilarious observation.  The troop leaders usually smiled along and let me be.  But not Mrs. Bowers.

A little background: Mrs. Bowers’ daughter was in my grade and she was also named Christine.  That’s right, she was a name-stealer.  We did not get along.  Mostly because I was awesome and she was stupid.

Obviously this stupidity ran in the family, because Mrs. Bowers was the worst.  I dreaded the weeks where she would run our meetings.

This particular week, we were doing some craft in the art room on the stage where I should have been becoming famous and not gluing glitter to dry macaroni.

For some reason, Mrs. Bowers insisted we be completely silent during this activity.  There was really no reason for it and I was feeling restless, so I started up one of my routines.  I had the crowd going with lots of laughs when Mrs. Bowers gave me my first warning.

I chose to ignore her and figured she would never follow through with her threat to remove me from the meeting.  I continued cracking jokes as she glared at me.  She finally yelled at me and the room became silent.

She came over, grabbed me out of my chair, and led me down the stage stairs.  She told me to sit on the steps and not move until my mom came to pick me up.  I could not believe her audacity.  Here I was, a burgeoning star, and she thought she had the right to silence me??? Who did she think she was??? I was going to be famous and she was merely a bored suburban housewife with no sense of humor and an ugly daughter.

I started crying (no surprise considering I cry at everything, including car commercials).  I could hear the sounds of my fellow Scouts whispering about me as they crafted.

That was my last year in Girl Scouts.  I finally chose to commit fully to dance where I could be a total ham on a real stage and get trophies for it.

Trophies are so much better than badges.


Be careful what you fish for

This story preludes my previously told Fishidents saga. And yes, I realize that 67% of my posts are about animal mishaps.  Deal with it.

When I was 8, my parents got my brother and I kiddie fishing poles for Christmas.  My dad grew up in the South where fishing is some sort of religious experience, and decided he wanted us to experience this “sport” in the suburban New Jersey wilderness.

When the weather finally warmed up, we started preparing for our first fishing expedition.  I spent hours practicing baiting and casting in my driveway.  I had my own tackle box and everything!

The day finally arrived and we ventured a couple miles away to a pond near our house.  It was pretty secluded, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I did something wrong.  We cast our lines and started waiting.

Fishing is not a good activity for a hyperactive 8 year old.  I had assumed the fish would be clamoring to attach themselves to my hook, and didn’t understand why I had to wait FIVE WHOLE MINUTES for anything to happen.  I ended up leaving my pole with my dad and ran off to collect leaves and try to find a mermaid.

Suddenly my dad called me back – something was nibbling at my line!  I scrambled over and regained control of my pole.  Something was definitely tugging!

I reeled the line in slowly, like I had been taught.  Something was jumping out of the water and I started to feel my stomach turn.  The idea of catching a fish had been glamorous, but the actual act felt pretty sadistic.  I continued to pull it in until I saw what I had actually caught.

It was a frog.

I screamed, dropped the pole, and sprinted to the car.

My dad finally coaxed me back.  He had put the frog in the cooler.  I peered over the edge and could tell he was scared.  He had a gash in his leg and I started to cry.

“I… (sob)… hurt… (sob)… the froggy!”

My dad reassured me that the frog was okay and said we could just put him back in the lake.  But I wanted to atone for my sins and insisted we take him home so I could nurse him back to health.

When we got home, I rushed to retrieve all the provisions Mr. Froggy (I’m so original) would need to recover.  Of course, the essentials included a water bowl, grass and leaves, my Raffi tape, and a bottle of No-More-Ouchie spray.

I put on the Raffi tape (he always cheered me up when I was sad) and proceeded to cover the frog in No-More-Ouchie spray.  I made Mr. Froggy a nest of leaves and made sure he had access to the water.  Then I grabbed our fly swatter and set out to hunt down some dinner for him.

My parents finally persuaded me to let my dad take Mr. Froggy back to the pond the next day.  I decided 24 hours in my amphibian ICU had done him well.  Needless to say, that was my first and last fishing trip.

I like to think that Mr. Froggy is still out there in that pond with his froggy family.  Maybe he still remembers me as the girl who ruined and then saved his life. Ribbit ribbit, my little froggy friend.